How Busy is Your Life?
Have you started preparing for Valentine ’s Day yet? I heard one mom ask another. I stood quietly for a minute, realizing that Valentine’s day was indeed just thirteen days away and I hadn’t once given it a thought. How busy indeed is your life? We seem to go from day to day with stacks of to do items and barely time in between to breathe. We sometimes seem to lose track of time. How often do we hear the exclamation “I can’t believe it’s already February 1st, where did the time go?”
Time is the one commodity that we can never get back once we lose it but it’s also one of those things in life that we treat so carelessly and take so much for granted. A lot of parents actually seem surprised when it’s time for their teens to go off to college. They wonder what happened to all the time they thought they had together. How can families become less busy and find ways to best use the precious time we are given each day?
1. Take a little time to savor life itself.
It really is important to take time to appreciate the fact that you are alive every day, and to thank God for our life itself. Then look at your kids, those precious beings you were blessed with. Take a minute to look at your spouse in the morning, before you both rush of to work. No matter how busy we are, we can at least stop, smile at each other and wish each other a good day. Remember to have a little quiet time in the mornings even if it’s just ten to fifteen minutes to prepare for the day. Some people pray. Others do their affirmations and still others plan out the kind of day they want to have. Taking that little time to be thankful and to savor your life just starts the day off in the right direction. Life is precious. Savor it. Enjoy it.
2. Learn to say No.
How hard it is for some of us parents to say “No” to our teens. We ran ourselves ragged trying to keep up with all that our kids want, beginning when they are little. Little Johnny wants to be in swimming and gymnastics and soccer and Jane wants to do dance and play guitar and join the choir. Both parents are frazzled just trying to keep up with their kid’s schedules. Never mind that they have their own jobs and deadlines to keep up with. By evening time, everyone is exhausted. Dinner time is spent fighting instead of relaxing. Perhaps parents can help their kids and teens pick one or two activities per semester that the whole family can keep up with. The family can then enjoy attending games together and actually grow closer, rather than being too busy to even enjoy each other’s company. It’s also a good thing not to sacrifice family life to serve on various committees and groups. Be honest with yourself and considerate of your family and even the people you seek to help and say no, when appropriate to do so.
3. Focus on what’s important.
I really admire one of the ladies I work with. Despite her busy schedule, she always finds time to make her kids feel special. As she always says, it doesn’t have to be anything big. It’s making a Valentine basket with little things that the kids love. It’s being present at school events. Teen daughters enjoy having manicures and pedicures with their moms. You’ll be amazed at how your teens will value the time you spend just hanging out with them and listening to them. Sometimes it’s as simple as commenting on the one good play they made during a particularly difficult game. They know that you did watch the game and you took the time to make them feel better. You were paying attention. You were not too busy. You don’t have to buy the most expensive or latest gadgets for your teens to make them happy. The little acts of love and kindness you show to them every day matter. It’s sometimes just about making memories.
4. Learn to relax.
There is so much that we have to work for these days. Of course we have mortgages to pay and car notes, and college tuition and the list goes on and on. Parents find themselves doing multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and sometimes this can’t be helped. We are anxious all the time worrying about money, our teens etc. and all that we have to do each day. Do we really have to be so anxious all the time? Learn to relax, to sit for five minutes and cool your brain off. Breathe, regroup. We must learn relaxation techniques to help us destress. Learn to laugh more and to frown less. Make time to sit and enjoy your spouse’s company and to simply enjoy your teens. Taking the time to visit positive and like-minded friends can also be helpful. Sometimes coming home and simply getting out of your work clothes and taking a walk around the garden helps you relax. Don’t bring your work home or worry so much about tomorrow. Take life as it comes, one day at a time. Remember “sufficient onto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34.
Parenting in today’s very busy world can be challenging. We must decide to take control of our lives and use our time wisely. Take time to savor the life you are given each day. The fifteen minutes spent meditating, praying or simply preparing for the day ahead is time well spent. Decide what your priorities are as a family and learn to say no when appropriate to do so. And definitely, take a little time to be still, relax and let go. Life is precious. Don’t spend so much time being busy that you miss out on living life itself.