written by Sybil George, a mother of 3 who also works as an occupational therapist.
The first thing I think of is what are my priorities? In this age where women are working both inside and often outside of the home it is so hard to balance all of the demands that are placed on our time.
Early on my priorities were God, my spouse and my children. Yet I often found that when push came to shove, my children became first in priority in terms of time and focus. They are often the most needy of the bunch in terms of actual time spent with them and it was easy to overload myself in activities and time with them so much so that I often neglected my time with God and my time with my husband.
A typical day (generally…it changes daily!!) for me at this stage with kids ages 17, 14 and 7 looks like this:
6 am wake up
Make breakfast. Wake up kids.
Have devotional time. Get youngest ready for school.
7- 7:30 am leave to work (spouse or I drop youngest to grandparents home so he can get to school)
3 pm. Be home. Get a snack ready for kids. Teenage girls need time to share about their days. Listening to what is said and not said. Understanding their world. Asking questions about their friendships and daily events. This is the time that I intentionally spend with my teens. Often if I do not come home till later than this I will have missed important things that happened in their day because they often only will share right after school. Some days the talk is less relevant and yet on other days important issues come up that need to be discussed. Communication is so important at this age because children rebel against the lack of relationship with their parents not against the rules. It is important to try to build that relationship. I often have to bite my tongue not to lecture but to really listen to what they have to say.
4 pm get youngest one home and start homework with him. Takes 1 1/2 hours with breaks
5:30-6pm have dinner ready to eat as a family. Family sharing time.
6:30-7pm. Help finish homework.
Depending on the night, we also fit in swim lessons, soccer, piano, small group, and on Fridays we have family night most weeks.
7:30 start getting youngest ready for bed. Shower, lotion massage , bible time, etc
8 pm lights out for youngest. Teens still doing homework or studying.
Spouse and I then can talk about our day and about family happenings/appointments for the week. Do dishes or clean up parts of home. Reading time. Bible time. Shower. Get ready for bed.
10:30- 11 pm turn in for the night.
Choices and time savers for our family:
- No TV on school weeknights for the kids.
- Limit my personal social media usage as this can often take up a lot of my time if I allow it.
- I have one day off during the weekdays; This is my day to spend the morning with God and refresh. It also allows me to get chores around the house done, groceries, cooking etc;.
- Meal prepping some of my meals in advance has also been a great timesaver on busy weeknights. Things like marinating chicken in the freezer or cooking parts of meals in advance, or even chopping up vegetables over the weekend helps with meal times going quicker on weeknights. Having a specific meal plan of foods I will make that week is also helpful in saving money and time.
- We pack kids lunches on Sunday nights and the teen girls help with taking turns and packing the lunches for the week.
- My spouse is really good about trying to get us a date night or time alone outside the house at least once every one to two weeks….usually on the weekend or Friday’s meeting for lunch.
- Putting God first in my mornings changes my whole day. Those days that I don’t do it I find myself scrambling and frustrated because I did not take the time to prioritize what was most important.
Remembering that God gave us all the same time and that I am not God who can be everywhere at every moment. ( it sounds silly but I think we often try to do everything and thereby forget our humanity!!) I try my best not to overextend myself so that I can give my best self to my spouse, kids and work. My focus now is on being fully present with whoever God has placed in front of me at that moment.