One of the core messages I set out to get across in Holy Sh**, This Is HARD: Thriving as a Full Time Parent is that as full time, or even part time stay-at-home mothers, we seriously need to begin placing a higher level of value on our time. We need to look at what we do as important, whether it is the time spent tidying up and vacuuming, cooking, sitting down and preparing a meal plan for the week and grocery list, reading to our children, taking walks with them and getting them outside… Why is it that when we are engaged in such activities and the phone rings, we so often answer “Nothing..” when asked what we are doing?
Sometimes we receive the message from those surrounding us (including our spouses at times) that because we are home our days are open and flexible, and we can drop everything and rearrange our plans at the drop of a hat. Yes, we have a certain amount of flexibility, which is one of the benefits of being home with our children, and in many cases homeschooling as opposed to being slaves to the schedules of work and school. That said, how is a house supposed to feel like a home, or a family supposed to feel loved and cared for at it’s core if there is no value placed on the time and energies involved in making this happen?
We, as individuals, also have needs, hobbies, side pursuits that when organized we can make time for. But we need to value ourselves enough to make a point of protecting that time.
I am a free spirit at heart. My cousin once referred to me as a “gypsy soul”, and while amused I have to agree if I am going to be honest. Even with my abhorrence for rigidity and outwardly imposed schedules in my own life, I see the importance of creating rhythms and routines, and not being afraid to say “I’m sorry, but on Tuesdays we spend time with the homeschool group and run errands” or “I’m sorry, but I will be painting this afternoon to prepare for an exhibit this June”. I try to accommodate where I can so long as it is doable without causing actual disruption in our lives. Sometimes we plan to take a couple of days to tackle a bit of spring cleaning while we can. Why would this not be considered as important as something we are getting paid for? I have noticed that when I am efficient in my homemaking and aware of what we have in our home and what we need, we make far less unnecessary purchases. How is this not important?
A helpful tool: Cozi. Whenever I pop onto my laptop, a mini Cozi schedule is in the upper right hand corner of my screen. Each family member has a colour, and I can see at a glance what’s happening that day and for a few days to come. I even schedule my early morning yoga, meditation and reading time. I find if I take the time to enter it into Cozi, I am subconsciously stating to myself that it is important and must be done. Reading to the kids in the evening before bed is on there as well. If you acknowledge something as important outwardly, you will believe it is important, and you will make it happen. It’s a mind shift.
Value your time. Value the things that you do every day. Protect your time, and don’t let it be stolen from you. The truth that took me so long to learn is that what you do now is just as–if not more–important than what you did when you were “at work” or in school. You are the centre of your family, your home. So much rides on your shoulders alone. Take it seriously. Your time is valuable. Protect it.