Time…60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 730 hours in a month, 8,760 hours in a year. The numbers on time are mind boggling, however, many of us don’t feel we have enough of it. Students have their own challenges with time, balancing several classes a day, homework in each, combined with school or non-school related activities. Working individuals face day or night shifts, hourly positions, or the typical 8-5 jobs. Throw in being a husband or wife and quite possibly a father or mother…no wonder we don’t feel we have enough time!
I have faced the reality of maxed out time. For a majority of my life, I have operated on my own time. Until two years ago, I had the flexibility of choosing my what, where, and when, with very few people to answer to. I took relaxing vacations to places in and out of the country. I visited friends and family during unplanned weekends. I joined fitness programs and exercised multiple days a week. I read new books, tried new restaurants, stayed out late, slept in. I kept my apartment clean, regularly did the laundry and dishes, and still had time to enjoy a favorite TV show or two.
All that has changed. I am now a wife of a basketball coach, who works relentless hours for all but maybe two months of the year. I am the mother of a 10 month old baby boy, who rarely sits still, loves to explore his new world, and relishes in my attention, which I love to give him of course. I am also building a counseling practice, to the joys of feeling called to this profession, but to the frustrations of needing time to market myself and attract a steady flow of clients. Throw in dishes, laundry, emptying the diaper pail, cleaning up toys, keeping the house somewhat organized, unpacking boxes from buying our first house a year ago, grocery shopping, and catching a late night shower. I rarely feel I have enough time in the day to get everything done, let alone extra time for myself. However, I have learned a few things during this season of limited time.
Be thankful and make the most of the time I do have…
It is easy to grumble (and plug my nose) while emptying the diaper pail, but one day soon, I won’t have those cute, little diapers to empty anymore. If my son is tugging on my leg to play, then I’m absolutely dropping everything to play. While going through the never-ending boxes from our move a year ago, I am going to cherish the memories from the items I find. I have been given these little gifts of time, and instead of seeing them as taking away from what else I could be doing, I am going to savor every minute.
Win my day…
I was recently told the first couple hours of a person’s morning set the tone for the rest of the day. If the first hours begin late in the day, then you most likely will be playing catch up. If they are rushed, disorganized, and possibly all out miserable hours, you will likely have a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, day.” If you get up a little early, however, start the day with a smile, perhaps read a book or devotional with a cup of coffee (or chai, which is my preference), you will win the day. Although this is a challenge for myself when my son decides to bang on his crib to be rescued at 6:00am, I am going to make every effort to win my day.
What I value the most is a reflection of my time…
I catch myself frequently saying, “When will my husband and I ever have time for a date night,” or “I would love to be able to read a book, but I have no time.” Yet, the average person spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook (nytimes.com). Nearly 20 hours a week is spent watching television (Bureau of Labor Statistics). I say my husband and son are two of the most important people in my life, yet my time reflects otherwise. Rather than check how many followers liked a picture I posted on social media, I could be taking care of the house chores to enjoy a nice relaxing dinner with my husband when he gets home from work. Instead of catching up on who is saying “Yes to the Dress,” I could be walking my son to the park. And along with modifying the activities that take my daily time, I need to schedule future dates with my husband and myself. It’s exciting to look at the calendar and see “Afternoon at the Denver Theatre” one month from today. And it’s motivating to see “Pedicure” scheduled at the end of the week. What matters most in my life should be easily reflected in my time.
Wives and moms…I get it! Husbands and dads…I may not fully walk in your shoes, but I watch my own husband work the daily grind. We all can say, “I wish I had more time to…” But what are we choosing to do with the next second or minute or hour?