Did you know that there’s only 24 hours in the day?! There’s only 7 days in the week! Hello Capt. Obvious right? Wrong. Because this is a revelation for me; up until very recently I never realized just how little time we really have. I thought I understood and I thought I was managing the small amount of time that I have very well. Oh my, how wrong I was. Very, Very, Very, Wrong.
There’s nothing quite like the pregnancy time scale to show one just how short 40 weeks (or 9 months depending on how you want to look at it) really is. Suddenly your time is measured in these once seemingly large units that are now flying by at the blink of an eye. In a flash you go from finding out you’re going to be a mommy to 19 weeks later you have no idea where all the time has gone and you’re about to find out the gender of your little bundle of joy. The end seems so very far away when you first find out. It feels like it takes forever for your belly to expand, for the nausea to go away, to feel those little kicks, etc. etc. Really it takes no time at all.
Now I’m not saying that women don’t realize how much time they really don’t have until they are faced with the prospect of being a mommy. That just happens to be what it took for me to open up my eyes and see that my life was flying by me faster than I ever imagined. Not even getting married and taking on the responsibility of running a household could show me just how bad I was at time management. If it had, there would not have been so many times where dishes piled up in the sink, laundry sat in the basement until my husband and I only had one pair of socks left, and the fridge held nothing but cheese and butter inside. (Thankfully I married a very patient man who was graceful enough not to say anything to me about my terrible attempts at homemaking.)
At first I blamed everything on work. I was just so overwhelmed by working 40+ hours a week that I couldn’t see how I was supposed to get everything done. It seemed so impossible to me and I became very defensive about the state of our home whenever someone would come over to visit. Well, then I quit my job and suddenly I was a stay at home wife with all the time in the world and, lo and behold, I still wasn’t getting anything done. Why was this so much harder than I thought it would be? It really couldn’t be this difficult could it?
The truth is that its not about the level of difficulty but about how you approach your day that matters. For 5 months God was building me up to this realization. He worked on me little by little using other women, friends, family members, and my own baby growing inside of me to show me that without the strength and perspective He provided me I was doomed to constantly spend time getting nothing done.
So what am I doing differently now? Well for starters I have learned that in order to wear the hat of wife and mother as well as all the other roles I take on in my daily life I need to be very deliberate about how and when I do things. I need to be picky about saying yes to certain engagements so that I am not spending more time being social butterfly or helping other people more than being a good wife and steward of my home.
My whole day still isn’t planned out step by step (and probably never will be) but each morning I wake up with a running list of things I want to accomplish during the day. My priorities are clearly defined, from making my husband breakfast and coffee in the morning to starting a load of laundry and running the dishwasher every night before I go to bed. Small things like these I can do daily to ensure that my household runs smoothly and effectively. For the rest of the larger chores such as shopping or cleaning specific rooms I have created a list in which I assign everything a day. If every Wednesday I know that I have to make our shopping list for the next week and clean the bathroom and then Thursday I go shopping, vacuum, and dust the living room things look so much more manageable. When I have a small list of things to do every day and I do them consistently week after week then I have more time to do fun things without sacrificing a clean home and sane husband.
The best part of this is that it is a constant learning process, subject to changes and fluctuations in our daily lives yes, but there is always room for new ideas and improvement. If God has shown me anything lately its that I need to be flexible without bending for everything that comes across my path. I know that flexibility is going to be a huge requirement when I have a week old baby who just simply does not want to sleep alone, but I am also starting to realize that if I can work on a routine so much that its second nature, motherhood will be a little bit easier and less overwhelming. Because lets face it, the time I have now is going to be cut exponentially smaller in a way that I can’t even appreciate yet and if I don’t know how to manage what time I do have at this moment I will have absolutely no clue what to do when our bundle of joy makes his or her appearance in January.
No matter what though, God’s grace and strength are sufficient. When I get overwhelmed I have the most amazing partner to turn to and He will help me to figure out what to do. After all, my husband, my baby, our house, school, and my friends are all gifts from He who is able to do abundantly more than I can ever ask or imagine. Only with the strength that God can provide will I learn how to be all that God has called me to be and I am looking forward to all the things He still has yet to teach me and the work He is going to do inside of me.