Have you ever heard someone say, I’ll do it when I have more time? Or that they need to make time for something?
Unless this person is in the business of making clocks, or owns a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, there is no time to be made or created and no way of getting back lost time. That’s right you will only ever have 24 hours in the day, you can’t stuff in a couple of extra to get more done. Not going to happen. There’s also no way, yet, of going back in time. We don’t get a do-over. This is it.
So why do so many people say they’ll do things when they have more time? Laziness? Reluctance? Not wanting to say an outright no? Belief that one day they really will have more time?
Last year someone offered me a wonderful opportunity, but it sounded like a lot of work and effort and I honestly could not see how it would fit around what I believed was a jam packed schedule. In short, I said I didn’t have the time and maybe when I had more time I would be able to fit it in.
I did have the time. I had 24 hours at my disposal every single day. I wasn’t managing my time very well at all. Yes I had a newborn and a toddler. Yes we had playgroup once a fortnight during school terms. Yes my husband worked away. No I didn’t drive.
But that was it. I thought I was really very busy. No time for anything extra what so ever.
Now I study full time from home, have an 18 month old and a 3 year old, go to 2 playgroups on alternating fortnights, go to the gym minimum 3 times a week, run my own fledgling business (which as anyone who has been in business would know takes a lot of time and effort in the building days), my husband still works away with the Army, I’m in the process of reenlisting myself as a reservist, and I now drive.
I am now the busiest I have ever been in my entire life!
And yet I feel like I have the time to do all of this, and more. We still fit in playdates and random trips to the muesum or the aquarium, we fit in trips to the bank, post office and supermarket, dropping off and picking up new books from the library. We have more time with friends, less time at home in front of the television, more real life experiences for them. And more happening for me. I feel free, truly. Not bound to the house and not restricted to what we have here for entertainment. I get a sense of fulfillment and ackomplishment at the end of a busy day. And any day not spent cleaning is a win in my books.
I know it’s not the politically correct thing to say as a mother, especially as one who subscribes to the attachment parenting philosophy, but I wasn’t content as a literal stay at home parent. I love my children with every fibre of my being however being home every minute of every day and only leaving the house when my husband was able to take us somewhere felt so restricted, shackled almost.
I’ve also become very aware that the only time we have is now. This is it. Life is not a dress rehersal. And whether you believe in an after life or not, in these mortal bodies in this place the only time we have is now.
The past is done. Forgive if you have to, learn the lesson and move on. You cannot change it, alter it, go back and re-do it. It is what it is, accept it and move on.
The future is yet to happen. Plan it, dream about it, visualise what you want from it. Take a moment to live in your dreams. If you could have anything for yourself and your family, money being no barrier, what would it be? I do this often. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes on purpose I sit down and dream and visualise what will be in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years. That is fun! With no limits and no barriers our future looks pretty darn good.
Sometimes it’s not intentional, or not for fun, sometimes picturing what might be gets me through a particularly difficult minute, hour, day. You know the one. Where the kids are melting down, making mess, tantruming, fighting with each other, you sit down on the floor, close the door and think, if I stay in here 5 minutes longer maybe they won’t figure out where I am and I can have a moments peace. And it’s always at that very moment that they find you. Take a deep breath.
Sometimes saying this too shall pass helps. Sometimes it is better to imagine what it will look like when this passes.
In 1 year, these children will be 1 year older. What will they be able to do? How tall will they be? How long will their hair be? Will that baby be able to start vocalising what they need instead of just yelling at you? Will that baby be feeding shorter and less frequently giving you more space and bodily autonomy? Will that 18 month old be sleeping through the night? (That last one is for me)
Are these problems really that big of a deal?
Is waking once overnight really such a huge problem or is it a problem because other people outside the home think it should be? (Again, that one is for me)
Once this time is over it is over. Never again will my daughter be 3 years and 5 days old, nor will me son be 18 months and 1 day old again. This is it. That cute thing he did just then reading me a book in gibberish, he won’t do that in 5, 10, 15 years time. Yet in 5, 10, 15 years time I will have plenty of time to work full time or bum around on Facebook.
The things I’m missing now I can never get back, but the things I’m missing them for I can probably do later.
It is all about time management.
Unfortunately mums, you do have to manage your time well. This doesn’t mean scheduled naps or feeds. I have never subscribed to that. But my 18 month old has naps at other peoples houses, in the car, in the pram. It doesn’t always have to be at home in bed.
It’s all about making choices with what to do with your time. You can always chose not to watch television. I work and study at night. The television is on in the background but mostly for background noise.
Look you can have it all if you want it. Or none of it if you don’t. You can live a life of regrets or a life with none. You can spend your days doing things you enjoy with people you love. Or you can coast by. And you can do that while working or not. You can be a stay at home mum and spend no quality time with your children, or a working mum who spends hours of quality time with their family.
Life is not about achieving a balance!
I know it goes against everything we’re told, we need to find the work/home balance. Finding a balance means managing your life, micromanaging even. You spend so much time trying to achieve balance that you don’t spend time enjoying what you’re doing. So if you work more then you’re at home and you enjoy what you do and the time spent with your family is quality time – GREAT! You’ve done it! If you hate your job and spend your time at home stressing about work and not enjoying your family, change it. If you are unhappy at home, go out. If you’re spending more time online then you are with your children TURN OFF THE COMPUTER AND PUT DOWN THE PHONE!
And if you think you can’t then you won’t, if you think you can you will find a way.
Don’t stick to where you’re comfortable. No change happens in your comfort zone.
Do something different, new and exciting – today!