How many hats have you worn this week? Project manager, mother, wife, friend, chaffeur, tour guide, events organiser, baker, daughter, sister, cleaner, chef, teddy bear (our little one likes a cuddle at night)… I’m pretty sure there are more I could add after a pretty busy and eventful week. I’m also sure there are more hats I could have worn but there are only so many hours in the day and only so much I can do. But in the busyness of life – how should we balance it all and make sure nothing important is forgotten?
I love a to-list in work at my desk to tick off each action as I go but at home I’m not great with lists as they usually get lost or I simply don’t have time to refer to them when I need them most. At home it’s all in my head – sometimes my hubby will ask if I’m ok as we sit down in the evenings to relax after we’ve finished the bedtime routine because he can see me deep in thought as my brain works overtime trying to tick off everything we need to do to prepare for the next day of school and work. We have a chalkboard, with nothing written on it, a meal planner which still has an old plan from weeks ago – writing on these things is just an additional task to add to the bottom of the to-do list so for now its in my head. (If anyone has any great time saving tips for organising at home or preparing things for a more organised family life please feel free to share them in the comments.)
Last year I kept forgetting to send Evie’s library book in her bag on a Friday so she could get a new one – I set myself a reminder in my phone but I still forgot quite a lot! Thankfully it never worried my cheery girl too much; I think she got used to it after a while! But I always remembered to read stories at bed time, to take her to church, to give cuddles and to celebrate her birthday. Reflecting now, even at a young age I think she knew sweating the small things wasn’t worth it as long as the bigger picture was ok – she is looked after and feels loved. It isn’t always possible to do absolutely everything so we have to focus on the important things in life and hope that we remember the little things while not being too hard on ourselves when we don’t.
When I consider my schedule for the week ahead I ask myself what should I be doing to make the best use of my time. Church on a Sunday is a given – it’s an important part of our life and Sundays simply aren’t Sundays without a trip to church. We have a great church family and it’s always lovely to catch up with them and get some encouragement to fuel us for the week ahead. I also try to get out to our midweek meetings as much as possible but I don’t manage it every week – something I hope that as the girls grow up will become easier but for now I am thankful for when I can make it.
Then I have work five days a week – well we’ve got to provide and pay the bills somehow! I thank the Lord every day for the job – it may not always be fun and games but it enables me to help our family live comfortably, buy gifts for others and to contribute towards my church. We are currently facing a period of uncertainty but I trust that the Lord will provide for us whatever happens within my organisation and the global market.
Working full time means time with my family is all the more precious as it’s limited. During the week the focus is dinner and bedtime routines so at the weekends we try to pack in as much quality time as possible.
The photo I’ve shared shows you a typical Saturday morning in our house – chores being done while we make sure our sunshine and joy are having fun!
Our extended family (my parents and my brother’s family) meet once a week for dinner. We see each other all through the week doing school runs, pick ups and whatever else might be happening but in the busyness of life it is nice for us all to have that set time to sit down together every Monday night.
Those are my 3 must-haves on a daily/weekly basis for me – then I plan everything else in the time I have left…
- Meeting friends for coffee – I always call it coffee even though I drink tea! For me it’s important to stay connected with friends and get a good chinwag about life outside of the usual social media interfaces that have taken the place of proper interaction in this age.
- Shopping – I usually do my food shopping online these days to save time that could be better spent with hubby and the girls but when I do get the chance to go out and do it in person it can be a good way to clear your head and refuel as a mummy while planning everything for the week ahead.
- Date time with hubby – this is important but we don’t get to do it much with the season of life we’re in and limited babysitting options. Someday, when the girls are grown and it’s just the two of us in the house again every night will be date night. So for now once every couple of months will do us just fine as we get time to sit together once we conquer the bedtime duties every night.
- Cleaning & Chores – I love my house being clean and tidy but with two rascals (especially the youngest) it is impossible for the place to be spotless all the time so we do as much as we can at the weekends while ensuring we still get to have fun and as much quality time as possible!
So going back to my first question – how can we balance it all? It’s all about knowing your priorities and how to prioritise life to make sure the most important things are taken care of. We need to seek guidance from the Lord through his word, through prayer, sharing experiences with his people and watching out for all of the ways he moves in our lives and points us in the right direction. When I look at my diary or get an invite for something I consider the best use of my time asking myself… Will it involve me spreading love? Is it important for me to do that? Is it honouring Jesus Christ?
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31