I no longer have the freedom to live life unplanned.
I don’t mean in terms of scheduling out the week or month with work, play dates, errands etc. I mean my actual day.
I need to make sure that I allot enough time to get the things done that complete this family.
Complete means different things to different people.
To our family it is time together.
Not time sitting in a room together but time together having a meal, taking a walk or reading a book. Some days I get overwhelmed with things that need to get done like laundry so time together on those days is doing that stuff ; somehow making it fun…or less painful.
We made HUGE sacrifices four years ago when we decided it would be great if I could stay home with the kids.
No more eating out, happy hours, shopping and buying whatever we wanted, vacations; nope, all gone. There are moments when I wish life wasn’t such a financial hurdle but then I’m reminded of why we chose this path when I think about being there for each first step, first word, holding my baby all day when she is sick without worry of calling out.
There is always time to make money…always.
Since quitting the career field, I have had great luck in getting freelance jobs to add a little extra relief to Steve.
With two kids I could balance it all with what I felt was relative ease. However with four I’m having much more difficulty than I ever thought possible.
The reason for this is because I have one insanely, madly, out-of-control jealous little L. She is very kind and helpful but she is beside herself with jealousy.
We’ve had to really focus on creating equal time and extra love.
I have no doubt that our hearts can dish out as much love as needed but it can get exhausting!
Since this discovery, which blossomed rather late but is getting progressively worse, I’ve really started wondering how to better plan my days to give her more time.
Yes, a good old fashion timer.
I actual use two styles. The one that has the sand in it that you flip upside down and usually is a minutes time and the old school white ones that twist to the time you want and present a loud ding when it hits zero.
It dawned on my one evening when I was reading to the big girls and they were asking for more and more stories and I was getting so impatient.
I finally had enough and put them to bed.
When I noticed the clock it had only been five minutes. FIVE MINUTES.
I can honestly spare more than five minutes of my twenty-four hours on story time.
So I brought out the timers.
It is amazing how some things seem like an eternity with kids. One of the eternity issues I had was brushing teeth. It seemed like it took them hours so I brought out the sand timer and they had two flips to brush and be done.
It worked great. They knew what was expected of them and I no longer lost my cool and rushed them.
Why I stopped using the timer I’ll never know.
It might seem cruel that I set a timer to let me know that I’ve spent enough time with my kids but in a single day when I have four to care for, a house to keep (and that is not looking good) but seriously laundry and dishes must be done and freelance work that takes up an average of 20 hours a week; a timer saves my life.
In fact the kids all get more of my time this way and it’s quality time because I’m not rushed or worried about what needs to happen next.
Those evening story times are now twenty minutes and they don’t ask for another book because they are satisfied.
Bike rides, walks and feeding the birds are now much more leisurely because I’m not thinking “ok I have to get back to get x y z done.”
I set the timer and only do chores around the house for that amount of time then it’s back to the kids.
They each set the timer when they are sharing something so they know they are getting equal time.
At the end of the day I was going to bed exhausted, still do, but I was also feeling horrible because I didn’t spent any quality time with my girls.
So this is why I say I no longer can live life unplanned. I must plan time into each day to make sure everyone is getting what the need and want from me. Being a parent is hard and I don’t want our sacrifices of me quitting work to be for nothing.
The point was to enjoy this time not rush it by. Ironically my timer is slowing us down.