I am a list person. I used to have my little yellow notepad on my counter top with which I wrote everything that needed to be done for the day on. If by chance one of the little ones accidentally took my list——I was lost! My mind was so busy with the day to day jobs that I could not remember all of the little things that I had to get done.
Sometimes I would get to the end of my busy day and feel like I had gotten nothing accomplished. Even though I had fed the children, kept their diapers changed, kept the house in order, and prepared three meals I still felt like I had nothing done. The days that I ran through my list, I felt like I had neglected my children and did not pay much attention to so that I could get “the list” done. How was I going to balance it all?
“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6
I had always read about moms taking a few moments in the morning with the Lord and I thought it sounded all nice but these women didn’t have 6 little ones to take care of!!! How was I going to find time with the Lord when I couldn’t even guarantee myself a shower each morning?
Then I started examining my day. I realized how much time I spent just sitting and doing nothing. Many hours I spent nursing a baby, many minutes laying in bed with little ones as they were falling asleep and I would watch a movie. Many times checking my phone messages or surfing the internet so I could “escape my world.” I realized there was time, I just needed to prioritize my day better.
We all have the same 24 hours a day to work with. No one gets more or less. It is our job to ration out what we do with that time. How can we feel accomplished? In these 5 easy steps:
- Prioritize sleep. Sleep is important. Many of us might not get enough sleep in our days due to little ones and that is okay, prepare to take a cat nap each day if you need it. I would set my alarm and sleep when the children laid down for a nap for 30 minutes to an hour everyday. I had to, or I would not be able to make it through. I rarely take a nap now that my children are older, but my nighttime sleep is uninterrupted so there is no need for a nap.
- Schedule some time for yourself before everyone wakes up. If you are nursing a baby and that is what you wake up to, feed them and when you lay them back down, sit for a few moments and read your Bible, spend some time in prayer, or listen to a message. Ask the Lord what things you NEED to get done for the day. Forget what things “you” want to accomplish, find out what is important. I have had the Lord show me that it was good enough to just feed my babies and keep up with work that was required to take care of little ones. I wasn’t able to wash windows, clean the refrigerator out, or keep up with laundry very well. But I did what was important for the season in my life. Eventually I got to the windows, the refrigerator got wiped out, sometimes we ran out of clothing—but it worked. There is no sense stressing over things that you can’t get done.
- If you make a list, make one with the things you want to accomplish for the week. If you are in a particularly busy season of life, go back over your list and see if there is something that you can erase off. Then, divide it up so that you can do one extra thing off your list each day. Use the time that you would normally watch tv, surf the internet, or some other unproductive time to get that job done.
- Plan your meals to be simple. Don’t overthink dinner. Make it easy and basic. Your children really don’t care if you prepared lasagna or basic spaghetti. It is okay to just feed them some apple slices, carrot sticks, and hummus and crackers for lunch. Breakfast can just be a bowl of oatmeal. Minimize the stress of meals by keeping it simple.
- Take the time to enjoy your children. Give yourself a half hour each day to just sit and read some books to them. If book reading time is chaotic because there are toddlers or babies who like to rip the books while you read…..do something like block time. Something that you can get involved with your children and devote 100% to them. Put the phone away, don’t worry about checking updates, do that later. Focus just on them.
We can find many wasteful hours in our day if we just willing to examine what it is we do. We need to plan out—to a degree—what it is we need to accomplish for the day and then stick to it—-as best as we can. Know you are going to have mishaps. A toddler is going to have bathroom accidents, drinks are going to get spilled, babies will be overly fussy, ourselves might feel poorly that day–that is okay. Know that tomorrow is another chance to get what you need to get done. If today’s intentions went well, then yes!!! But if something made it out of whack, then go to bed and wake up tomorrow and try again:)
Have a blessed day today as you go about figuring out what your priorities are for the day!!!