Precious Minutes

Lately I have been busy….like crazy busy.  As a mother of 2 babies (ages 3 months and 2 years), wife (of -among other things – a high school wrestling coach), homemaker, assistant to Brave Girls Club and everything else I do, I am always running from one thing to the next – appointments, wrestling meets, breakfast, lunch and dinner, diapers, laundry, work.  At any given time I have a handful of things I could give my attention to.  In the last few weeks I’ve felt exhausted by it…unable to get ahead or even feel like I have a handle on all of the important things going on.  I’ve got to prioritize and that’s a hard job – figuring out which is MOST important from a list of important things.

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It wasn’t always like this…I mean thinking back…when I was a kid there wasn’t much to prioritize and if there was I didn’t know it because it was all done for me.  As far as I was concerned at that age, all 24 hours in the day belonged to me.  They were mine to do whatever I wanted with…no worries about anyone else.  My mom woke me up for breakfast and got me to school, fed me lunch and dinner and tucked me into bed at night.  The rest of the day was wide open with possibilities for coloring, building sand castles, jumping rope, playing house and really anything else me, my sister and our imaginations could come up with.

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Fast forward a few years and I decided to take on some responsibility and get a job while I was in high school.  In other words for the first time in my life I made the decision to take a few of the hours that belonged to me and give them to something else.  And it felt good, and grown up and like the right thing to do and the right step to take.  I still had LOTS of hours left over for myself and as the years went on and I left high school for college, time for myself increased.  I moved out and soon all 24 hours in the day were mine – to choose where to allot them.

Somewhere in college I met a boy…I mean I met lots of boys…but I met one boy who stood out from all the others.  It didn’t take long (and certainly didn’t take a concious decision) to start giving all of my extra hours to him.  Pretty soon we shared more of my hours than I took for myself and a few months down the road, when he asked me, I made the choice to keep him in my life – to always have time for him and for us.

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Fast forward to today and we have made the choice to have 2 babies…babies who require time in order to be cared for and to feel loved.  And as you know from the beginning of my post there are a million other things I have my time going toward.  I have no doubt you are the same way.

The time has come for me to really prioritize…maybe it’s time for me to cut things out all together…maybe you feel the same way.  Because we only get 24 hours in a day…a hard lesson we’ve all learned is that sometimes we just don’t have time for everything we’ve said “yes” to.  And that’s okay!  As long as we are saying “yes” to the right things…the BEST things…and “no” to the things that aren’t going to matter as much in the long run.

In my journey to figure out where to put my time, I am learning that I can only do one or two things at the same time REALLY well.  The time that belongs to my children should REALLY belong to them.  They deserve it, and I deserve it AND they are the choice I made.  That means that the time that belongs to them is theirs…they don’t have to share it with work…except housework, but that’s important for them and it’s not all the time.

The point is…they get some of the time just for them.

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My husband gets some of my time.

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My home gets some of my time…for my peace…for my family’s peace.

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Meals get some of my time because it’s important for me to feed my family healthy, thoughtful food.

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I get some of my time…to recharge…to exercise…to be alone with my thoughts…to sleep.

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My job gets some of my time.

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BUT here’s the big one…once all of our 24 hours are gone, they’re gone.  As much as we wish for some time bank where we can make unlimited withdrawals, there isn’t one.  I say “we” because I’m sure you’ve wished for the same.  Until we realize that our time is limited, it’s easy to spend a few “extra” hours on this or that.  But there are no bonus hours, there are no free or extra hours.  There are 24 hours.  That’s all we get, and we have to decide where they belong and who/what to give them to.

If I want to give more time to my job, I have to take it from somewhere it’s already been allotted, which doesn’t seem like a big deal (and once in a while it probably isn’t a big deal) until I think about those hours as the ones I’ve already promised to my babies or to my husband or to our peaceful home.  Am I willing to take my time from them and give it to my JOB?  I’ve done that…unintentionally like I’m sure you have…and let me tell you, it doesn’t make anyone happy.

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So Jackson time belongs to Jackson – not to the computer or the vacuum or the toilet brush and Lydia time belongs to her and to her snuggles.  And work time is for work and if I am going to decide to give time to work, then I’ve got to do that without taking from anything or anyone else.   And once the time is gone…it’s gone.  Maybe before all the hours are gone, we should really think about where we are putting them….and where we are taking them from.

It is such a delicate balance, but we can do it.  We might have to cut things out – so let’s do it!!   Things that are robbing our time…people who are robbing our time.  Things and people that are good, but aren’t the BEST things for us to give our time to.  I can do it, you can do it.  Let’s prioritize…let’s give 100% of our time, attention and energy intentionally.  Let’s give our time to the people and things that mean the very most to us and leave the rest for someone else (or no one else…that would be okay too).

Written February 2011

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