Earlier today I was reading my blogs and I read something to the effect of “being a mom means being busy.” I totally understand why someone would say that, but I disagree. Many moms are very busy. Whether you are a career mom or a “full time” mother, you are likely to have many tasks to accomplish in each day. However, I feel that it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to be busy. Really it’s all about knowing what your priorities are and staying true to them.
That is easier said than done. First of all, sometimes it is hard to know what your priorities should be. Obviously, there are certain things when you are a mother that absolutely cannot be ignored. Children need to be fed. Eventually the dishes will need to be done. Safety around a hot stove can’t be ignored. But if we go through life not realizing why we do those things, and feeling like they each serve their own purpose, we will quickly become unhappy. Believe me, I’ve been there. We need overarching goals/priorities/mission statements– whatever you want to call them– to guide our daily mundane activities and give us purpose.
Once we identify what is truly important to us as mothers, we need to make decisions based upon these priorities. We all have the same number of minutes in each day; our legacy will be decided with what we do with that time. For me, teaching my children to love reading is a priority (one that I didn’t necessarily realize I had until recently). I think we can all agree that the ability to read will give our children many opportunities and arm them with the key to furthering their knowledge, no matter what path they take. So each day I try to carve out time to read both scriptures and fiction with my children. My mother loved to read and she made time for it. From my earliest memories I can remember her reading. That is part of her legacy, and it continues with her grandchildren.
Another priority for me is that my children learn good sleep habits. I abhor the fact that I have such a difficult time waking up in the mornings and I wish I was a morning person. I believe those who can easily get out of bed in the morning have a slight advantage over the rest of the world. That doesn’t mean that people (like me) who are night owls can’t accomplish anything or are not successful. I just think of what MORE I could have done with my life if I wasn’t so inclined to spend my time sleeping while the rest of the world was awake! Plus, I hate feeling like I am already behind right when I get out of bed in the morning.
As a result of this priority, I have always made sure to get my kids to bed at a decent hour. I remember times with my first that I would get invitations but declined them because it was my baby’s bedtime or nap time. Of course there were times when we sacrificed bedtime for time with family or other things, but for the most part I was very conscious about sleeping times in our house and considered heavily whether to use that time for something else.
Secondly, now I am consciously making an effort to become more of a morning person so that I can be as much in control of my day as possible. I want to be able to greet my children happy instead of grumpily rolling out of bed. I want to be there with them on the weekends enjoying their joy over the cartoon on TV instead of using that time to grab more sleep. In short, I want to be a good sleep example to them too.
These priorities along with others guide my day and how I teach and respond to my children. The point is that when I CONSCIOUSLY make choices about what my priorities are, I can consciously choose how to spend my time so that I am not just “busy.” I carve out quiet time each day for myself so that I don’t burn out too. Because that is another priority. I know that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of my children well.
Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly days when I am busy, when there are too many things pressing for my time. But I try to not make that a habit. And I try to not let “Because I am busy” be my excuse for not doing things that I really want to do.
The bottom line is just because we are moms doesn’t mean we have to be busy. We can consciously make choices that allow us to spend our time doing what we want to do and not just what we must do.