Do you ever feel like you are drowning in the distractions of life? I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately. So many things to do – some I absolutely love and some I just feel obliged to do. Some align with my goals and others don’t but I can’t seem to let them go….or so I thought. My oldest daughter, without intending to, dropped a bombshell on me – one that exploded my heart and made me stop and re-evaluate our daily lives and what we truly needed to be focusing on.
About a month ago, my oldest daughter asked, “Mom, where are we going today?” That’s an innocent enough question. It was her response to my answer that sank my heart. When I answered, “Honestly, I can’t find my calendar (I’m a paper & pen type of girl) and I can’t remember, so we are going nowhere. Today we are staying home.” She squealed with excitement and said, “Can we do this every Friday?”
The biggest truths seem to come from small mouths with searing nuggets of truth. My daughters gleeful reaction to being able to rest at home, enjoy each other’s company over that of even her favorite friends, brought me to the truth that we were too busy. I personally don’t mind being busy, actually I sorta thrive on it. Before kids, I used to have my daily calendar filled in from 5:45am – 12am. I’d hit the ground running, do everything in the most efficient manner possible and start over again the next day. Even with kids, I can easily pack them up and be gone for 8 hours at a time running errands, volunteering, doing hands on learning, etc. What I am learning is that this is exhausting for my children (well, duh!) and if I am honest with myself, me too. I can’t keep up this pace and honestly at this stage in my life, I don’t want to. I want to pick flowers with my kids and marvel at their beauty, not just take a quick glance before we run off to the next activity. I have a lot of goals, but after doing some real soul searching, my biggest goals for this moment in my life don’t allow for everything and they definitely don’t allow for distractions.
Did you catch the phrase “for this moment in my life?” A few years ago, while reading “5 Little Questions that Reveal God’s Life for You” by Dannah Gresh, I had the biggest “ah-ha” moment. I realized that all the goals and dreams stored inside my heart will come to fruition, but not necessarily right now. Maybe that doesn’t seem so profound to you, but when I read that message, I had one child who wasn’t even in the toddler stage. My days were not as thrilling as they had previously been (or so I thought). I felt trapped. I loved being a stay at home mom with my child but I felt like I was putting my goals and dreams on hold to be that mom. What that book helped me realize is that each of my dreams has a timeline in my life – some are for now and some are far into the future.
So, pulling this message in together with my daughter’s startling revelation that I was overrunning them with a crazy, hectic schedule, I’ve had to take a hard look at our calendar and re-evaluate what exactly our goals are.
How I Am Taking Back Control of Our Daily Life and You Can Too!
- Determine what your current goals are. Write them down and keep them where you can see them. I am excited to use the Passion Planner to help me keep my goals in mind constantly as well as being able to see the accomplishments towards those goals.
- List all the things that currently fill up your calendar. I, literally, wrote down each of the things that take up time during the week on individual note cards, just so I could wrap my mind around all the things we do and try to work them logically into our schedule. The moment I did that I completely understood why we were exhausted. I had a pile of close to 50 note cards overwhelming my table.
- Make two piles or categories: “Aligns with Goals” & “Distractions”
- School/Homeschool Activities
- Extracurricular Activities
- House work
- Maintaining Marriage
- Building Relationship with Kids
- Spiritual Growth
- Eliminate the distractions. This is easier said than done, but believe me, you will breathe easier once you do it.
- Now, go through the “Aligns with Goal” pile and make sure those are things that need to be done at this moment in your life.
- Ask the kids to rank what they like best. Oftentimes, that is surprising and immediately takes things off the list.
- If you physically cannot fit it into your schedule, then it can’t stay. Sometimes, it’s just that easy – to say. We don’t have to play Tetris with our schedule, but you can play the game for free, if you really have that need.
- Pray about it. This can help you realize that things you thought were important aren’t or realize you had completely overlooked something else altogether.
- Delegate what you can and what your budget will allow. This was so difficult for me, because I have the mindset of “I can do it all” and “Why would I spend money on that, if I can do it myself?” Well, this past year humbled me like nothing ever has before. Thankfully, after paying off our debt we have a little extra money so we could hire some of these things out. So for now, someone else grooms our dog, mows our lawn, and even helps clean our house. But even if we didn’t have a budget for this, I would find a way to barter and trade talents with my friends. I’d exchange something I could do well for something they could do well. That would definitely make life easier on both of us.
- Never give an answer right away. My husband and I made a rule a few years ago, never to agree to add something to our schedule until we had talked to the other about it. And now, we pray about it too, before we give an answer. This has kept us from overcommitting ourselves many a times.
- Adding means Subtracting. If we determine something needs to be added to our schedule, then in order to maintain a semblance of rest time, something has to come off. Rest is so important for the body and overall sanity, so ask the question, “What am I willing to remove from the calendar?”
- It’s OK to Say “No.” & to Give Your Reasons Why. Of course, it’s okay not to give your reasons too but if this is something you would love to do but the timing is just not right, explain it and then you are possibly leaving the door open for when the opportunity comes around again.
- Schedule down time. Rest is rejuvenating so make sure and allow your body and your kids time to rest and prepare for the upcoming weeks activities.
Call me prideful but I really did not want to let anything go from my calendar. It was almost as if I was saying “I’m not a Super Mom.” But guess what! I am NOT a Super Mom AND I never will be, so I’ve let that cape fly to the wind and now I’m starting to regain my sanity as well as a calmness in our daily lives.
I challenge you to look at your calendar as well. Realize the time you have with your kids is sacred and fleeting.
Feel the freedom of enjoying life with your family instead of living in the hecticness of running here, there and everywhere. Are you willing to take that challenge?