I started the day the same way I always do with a nice, brisk 3.5 mile walk. Just me, my iPod, and my God. As I walk I pray over my family and day. I end each prayer with “Lord, help me make good choices with my time. Make this your day, Lord.”
You see, since I quit teaching last year to focus on my writing, I have become very cognizant of how I spend my time. Call it responsible or call it stay at home mom guilt. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Either way I am really trying to make a conscious effort of being a good steward of my time.
This actually fits quite nicely with my Type A personality. Eric calls it crazy. I call it very organized. I have my iCal organized to perfection with seven different color-coded calendars. It helps me know where I need to be and what I need to accomplish during my day.
This particular day was packed to the gills. I had a lot to do while the kids were at school, and my parents were coming over for dinner that night. I was ready to strap on my roller skates and hit that to-do list from drop off to pick up like a BOSS. I got my three kids loaded up to head to school. We were on a roll… no fighting for the second day in a row on the 5-minute ride to school…Holla!
Just as the alarm rang for the kids to hop out of the car, my oldest son asked, “Mama, can you come eat lunch with me today?” I was surprised. Ethan never asked me to come eat with him anymore. In fact, the last time I ate with him at school, he practically ignored me the whole time as he chatted with his friends. My feelings weren’t hurt. Those kids work hard all day and are excited to just get to visit with their friends as they shove lunch in their mouths. That was their time. Feeling as if I was almost intruding on their friend time, I hadn’t made it a big priority to go eat lunch with them at school this year.
I glanced from his big, beautiful brown eyes to my full iCal with a little bit of panic. “Oh no! Oh no! I don’t have this on the schedule. I haven’t even showered yet today!” I thought frantically. Oh, but those eyes! And I remembered what I prayed…Lord, help me make good choices with my time. How could I choose anything over spending some time with my baby when he asks? “I’ll make it work, Buddy,” I said as I kissed his cheek. He beamed at me and jumped out of the car.
Skates strapped on, I raced to accomplish as much as I could before lunchtime. I squeezed in a shower and put on clean workout clothes…because the hair and make-up bar is automatically set lower if you are sporting workout clothes 😉 I sat at the lunch table in a rowdy cafeteria with my three kids and three of their friends. I celebrated with Ella about the test she was sure she aced. I encourage Ethan and his friend about the test they were going to take after lunch. Matthew and his friend caught me up on the gossip of first grade. And it was wonderful. The best part was getting to give them each a hug before they left. Maybe they needed that extra bit of affection in the midst of the day. I know I did. I left the cafeteria knowing I made the right decision. I was able to finish everything I wanted to accomplish that day and even got to make some cookies that weren’t even on the agenda!
How often do we schedule ourselves so much that we miss out on the little things that really are the big things? The school lunches with our kids. The walk with a friend. Just being available to sit and talk to someone who needs a friend. Or just not feeling like a zombie by the time you lay your kids down, so you can actually stay awake to spend time with your husband??
I think my goal of being a good steward of my time is a positive goal. Being able to stay home is a gift that I never want to take for granted. However, I need to remember to keep my ears open and listen to God as He directs my day. It’s what I prayed for after all, isn’t it? Praying for His day then filling it with all My plans makes me miss God’s APPOINTment.
I am a work in progress. I am far from being “fly by the seat of my pants,” but I am at least leaving room in my schedule to attempt to be spontaneous 😉