What is the magic answer to finding balance being a wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, employee, committee member, volunteer, homework helper, taxi driver, meal maker, bill payer, appointment setter, grocery getter, cleaning lady, laundry queen, dish washer, etc, etc?! I'm still searching for the answer, but this is what I'm learning along the way...
I've been a working-outside-the-home mom and now a stay-at-home-working mom. No matter what your situation, I think we'd all agree there is never enough time to get done what we want to get done. There is always that issue of time management lurking around, making us feel guilty! I thought once I became a stay-at-home mom I'd have so much extra time...yeah right! I feel like more of a hamster spinning on a wheel than I ever have. It's not a coincidence that God created this world with day and night. He intended to only give us so many hours in a day to get things done and then he expects us to rest. In this world we live in, we are consumed by technology, activities, social groups, etc. While none of these are bad, they spread us so thin. There are things that must be done, but also the things we enjoy doing that give us identity that sometimes can feel lost when we become a mom. We need time for us and to nourish and be nourished by friends as well. We can't let the much needed time with our husbands and our friends, who help refill our 'mom tank', make us feel guilty when we take time away from our children. This helps me to be a better mom and a better wife. A good, strong marriage is a priority for me as it directly benefits our children as well. And, the love and laughter from my treasured friendships help me get through motherhood much more easily :)
So much is expected of us by so many people. Many times at the end of the day, I feel like I've given a little to a lot of people and a lot of things. I ask myself, "Did what I do really make a difference today or was I just lucky to make it through the day? Was I great mom today or was I just there, rushing my kids around from here to there? Did I really listen to them even when their story seemed to take an hour to tell? Or did I zone out and try and get 50 other things done while my child followed me around the house, craving my attention? Did I greet my husband with gratitude when he walked in the door or did I start grumbling immediately about what I'm feeling frustrated about? More importantly, did I take even 10 minutes to pray and ask God to help? Sadly, some days the answers are no and this brings the feeling of defeat. On those days, not only have I not been the mom and wife I want to be, but to top it all off, the numerous chores I attempted to get done are still there starring me in the face! And, I haven't taken a moment for myself to find a little peace amidst it all.
Unfortunately, I know there will be days like this. I don't have the human strength to do it all day in and day out. But I know in my weakness, God is strong. I believe I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I truly believe this. Some days I wonder how in the world I got through it, but as I look back I realize the strength I had came directly from him. We must remember, God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called! Thank goodness for that. God will always provide if we ask him. He may not provide in the ways we want, but he will provide in the way he's knows is best for us. When I find myself in these overwhelming and defeated situations, I'm reminded to draw near to God and ask for his hand in all of this. Sometimes my human nature takes over and I feel like I can do this on my own. Then he gently reminds me I can't do it alone.
This devotion is from "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young, a daily devotional written as if Jesus is speaking directly to you. I have this as an app on my phone as well as the hard copy and I highly recommend it! This devotion below is from July 26:
Relax and let Me lead you through this day. I have everything under control: My control. You tend to peer anxiously into the day that is before you, trying to figure out what to do, and when. Meanwhile, the phone rings, and you have to reshuffle your plans. All that planning ties you up in knots and distracts you from Me. Attentiveness to Me is not only for your quiet time, but for all your time. As you look to Me, I will show what to do now and next.
Vast quantities of time and energy are wasted in obsessive planning. When you let Me direct your steps, you are set free to enjoy Me and to find what I have prepared for you this day.
In this life, we will struggle at times as moms and women who try to do it all and be it all for everyone. While this is humanly impossible, we must rely on God to show us what he wants us to do and where he wants us to spend our time. It's easy to get wrapped up in the little day-to-day tasks, but our children will not remember those little things. They will remember that we took time to listen when they knew we already had a full plate. They will feel so loved because we truly made them our priority.
I don't have any excellent time management solutions to share, but I'm learning that whatever I do will never be enough. There will always be more to be done. Instead, I know that what I am is enough because God has equipped me and he continues to provide me with what I need to make it through each and every day. And he's equipped you too, so know that you are enough to carry out his will for you!
God Bless :)