As far as time management I learned from Flylady. The power in establishing a morning and evening routine carries me through busy days with young children underfoot. Although the routine and scheduling are important to maintain daily sanity, the biggest lesson I carried from her was the efficacy of baby steps. We all have areas that need improvement, and, in this life, we always will. If we can step back and avoid the overwhelming weight of all that needs improvement, and start somewhere, anywhere, we will begin to see change. We conquer one area, and move on, retaining what we have learned. Keep the big picture in mind. Look back in a year and see all that you have accomplished (how many loads of laundry have you sorted, pre-treated, washed, folded, put away? Maybe five more still call your name, but that doesn’t begin to compare to the hundreds you have done.) Take things a day at a time and keep goals achievable.
Multi-tasking, another must-have quality in motherhood, becomes second nature as we type one handed to ‘get something done’ while nursing (as if nourishing our hungry baby was nothing), file paperwork while on hold on the phone, prepare lunch while giving spelling tests, etc., etc. I try to often call one of my kids along side me as I work. Another set of hands often actually lengthens the task, but this time passes too quickly not to take advantage of each moment with them, the ultimate in multi-tasking. No great tips for multi-tasking, but it gets easier with time and use.
No matter how solid a routine, and how proficient our multi-tasking ability, without flexibility our days will still be fraught with frustration. Babies don’t always stay on ‘schedule,’ sickness crops up, something breaks, the power goes out, storms blow through, life happens. Before we know it, our children will marry and move out. I try to remind myself daily to joyfully drop everything to hold that child. Ten years from now I may have more ‘spare time,’ but he won’t be asking then. Praise God in the sunshine and praise Him in the rain.
As I seek to keep my home, my goals there need to honor my husband, follow his lead, please him, and create a sanctuary he runs to get home to. If he gets frustrated by dirty counters, they should be my priority. If he wants the living room clear of toys when he arrives home, I should excite the children in preparing this for Daddy. His priorities, need to cultivate my priorities. Some areas we may not know what we should do, but if he expresses it, there is no longer a question. I pray for joy to help my husband and always greater love to energize me throughout the day.
It all comes back to God. He gave us these children, this place in our life, our husband. He holds the key to limitless grace, love, patience, and joy to thrive where He placed us. Even when we don’t have an hour for quiet time to start the day, we can be in His word, seeking His wisdom, praying continually, turning our children’s hearts to Him, following Him step by step. Without God at the core of our lives, the filter we see and process through, the knowledge we teach through, and the guide we walk through, no amount of planning, schedules, or flexibility will put our lives peacefully in order.
We will face many imperfect days. While I wanted to offer some encouragement and practical tips, I also have learned the importance of keeping an eternal perspective. What really matters? My husband and children’s souls are eternal. Everything else that I have to schedule in everyday is only temporary. This life is a vapor in the eternal span of time. We must be good stewards of all God has entrusted us with, weighing the eternal value of our actions and choices throughout each day. These busy, young-children filled days will pass so quickly. Their success will be judged differently than we often judge them now. What will last are those things of eternal value. I love the saying, "Don't sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporal."