With my husband away for the next couple of months and until we join him in July, I am in what I like to call a change of season. Like any change of season, I couldn’t go into it blind trying to do and accomplish all the same things as I did before. I had to recognize this new phase of life and make some adjustments to my daily schedule in order to make it work. When my husband is home I don’t have to be nearly so rigid with my schedule as I have another pair of hands in the house to help me get things done. Now that it’s just me and the kids it was time to realign some priorities and scale back a bit in the name of sanity.
So I called a family meeting. I asked the kids what was most important to them. What was reasonable to hold on to and to make time for. I evaluated each task based on the time and energy involved and whether or not it would build up rather than tear down my walls of resilience.
Two most important tasks identified were family devotions and exercise. Now more than ever I needed to make time for these things and by make time I mean scheduled time. If I wasn’t intentional about slotting these activities in, they just wouldn’t happen. It would be too easy to let other priorities and habits that were a part of my old season work their way back in to my schedule. I need to recognize that these other things, while still meaningful and purposeful, are not a priority in this season for me, like computer time and working on my business, and be okay with it. I can’t possibly do it all and I’m not even going to put any effort into trying. I would only burn myself out really quickly, I know that, so it’s important to me to make changes before I get to that point not as a result of it.
Evaluate priorities and then schedule and make time for them to ensure they happen.
Having a schedule aligned with my priorities gives me purpose rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself. It keeps me focused on my time, my kids and reminds me to be present in the moment. Without that I’m sure one day would just blur into the next as I tried to maintain the schedule we once had when there were two of us to execute it.
It’s a change of season, one that I could fight and resist and not do anyone any good or I can come along beside it and embrace it for what it is.
It’s a choice we make once we recognize that it is a season. It could be a new baby in the house, a new job, young children at home, homeschooling, an empty nest, illness, pregnancy, death, divorce, any number of things that require our time and attention in different ways.
Identify priorities and be intentional about them.
My kids and I sat down and wrote out all the things we wanted to incorporate into the day on little slips of paper and the amount of time each would take. Then beside a larger sheet of paper with time increments written down the left hand side we arranged and rearranged those little slips of paper according to the time slots available, like a puzzle trying to see how we could make the pieces fit. This was such a fantastic visual activity for the kids because they could clearly see what time was available to us and could recognize that we had one of three choices, include the activity, reduce the time an activity took or get rid of it altogether. It worked, we now have a schedule that has been working beautifully. I love that I have an hour and a half of exercise time in my day (not all at one time mind you), an hour for family devotions and we were even able to squeeze in some mom and daughter time watching an episode of the Facts of Life together every night :)
My blogging time has been greatly reduced but I still have a couple of hours in the schedule each day so you may or may not even notice the difference, depending on how wisely I use this time. Much of the project work and extras will be put on hold for now though.
My anxiety is reduced and my kids are happy and hopefully that combination will make the time pass quickly until we can all be a family again. It’s a season and, God willing, we’ll get through it, one day at a time.
Matthew 6:33-34 (ESV)
33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
What season of life are you in right now and have you adjusted your schedule accordingly?