Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Ohhhh time…always needed but never enough. Time is one of those things that is hard to grasp, hard to balance, and sometimes hard to keep track of, yet our days and lives are intrinsically marked by time. As a mother of young children, time seems to just flat out vanish…disappear…swallowed up in the thick of meals, baths, laundry, cleaning the floor…and the beds…and the kitchen…and the bathroom…and the butts…and the floor again, etc etc etc. Combine the childcare aspects with such details as buying groceries, still being a wife, a friend, and a human being with basic needs like taking a shower once in awhile, and presto…not enough time. It’s a delicate balance, friends. And a rather difficult one to accomplish when the days are so full. The good news is, your time is manageable. It won’t always work perfectly, but it is manageable.
When tackling time management, one of the absolute most important things to remember is to keep first things first. What I mean by this is to first prioritize, then plan ahead, then use that oh so helpful little word, “No.” Let’s take a quick look at each of these.
Prioritize. This is simply a matter of deciding what is most important, i.e. what has to happen and what can be set aside. For example, you, your husband and your children have to eat decent meals (preferably three of them) during the day. That spot on the floor that’s been driving you nuts, however, doesn’t have to be cleaned up right this second. What is it in your day and week that absolutely must happen? You have to have groceries in the house. (Can you tell that food is a big one in my home?) You don’t have to keep the bathroom sparkling, just decent. (Can you tell that cleaning isn’t?) You have to spend quality time with your husband. You don’t have to know everything that’s going on in the Facebook world. It can be super helpful to make a list, whether on paper or in your head, of what you need to get done and then what you’d like to get done if time allows. Prioritize them according to importance, and plan accordingly. That leads us to the next item…
Plan Ahead. Once you’ve prioritized what you need to get done and what you’d like to get done, make a plan. For instance, I know that mornings are when I can realistically get anything out of the house accomplished. I also know that mornings are the only time I’ll get a workout in. Both are important, so I plan them according to days of the week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, after everyone is through breakfast and cleaned up, I put the younger two in the double jogging stroller, my oldest gets on his bike, and we run/bike to the neighborhood playground. They get some playtime, I get some exercise, we all get some fresh air, win win win. Tuesdays and Thursdays are our days to run errands and/or meet up with people.
Finally, remember the importance of “No.” It’s not worth overbooking yourself and stressing out. There will always be people or activities or bathroom cleaning wanting more of your time. Once you’ve prioritized and planned as much as needed, decide what else, if anything, you want to include in your time, and say no to the rest.
Some days are crazy, and of course not everything can get done at once. Take it in stride, and practice prioritizing, planning ahead, saying no when necessary. Tomorrow is another day!