Time and the Busy Parent

Do you ever find yourself saying to yourself (or to others for that matter) “there’s not enough time in my day.”  I’ve been thinking about that a lot and how my attitudes about time affect the relationships I have with my loved ones.

There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” –Brian Tracy

One of my New Years self-reflection questions was, “Am I being truly generous to others (to my family, my friends, my community) in terms of my attention, time and energy? How can I improve?”  I’ve been thinking about that a lot.  The other night, Hubby wasn’t home from work yet and LD was still at gymnastics practice so the girls and I were eating dinner on our own.  I pulled out 3 or 4 books to read to the girls and they were excited.  You know, “Read this one first!” “Yeah, and then read that one!” I wanted to put on my glasses, but couldn’t find them right away.  It had been a day or so since I’d last worn them and I got worried that I had lost them.  Rather than staying in the moment with the girls, I fretted more and more, popping up and down — reading a bit and then looking for the glasses in another spot.  I eventually found the glasses, but I sure wasn’t fully engaged with the girls like I should have been. I felt really bad especially because I had just written up that post and was thinking a lot about being generous with my time and attention.  I talked about this incident quite a bit with Hubby and we concurred that there’s often something that pulls us away from spending precious, tender time with the kids.  I really have to work hard on immersing myself completely in the moment, ignoring not only the calls of the phone, but also the pull of my “gotta-do-that” list in my head.

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’ ” — Lao Tzu

I wonder sometimes if I use time as an excuse too much. When ED came up to me with her new “Easy Bake Cupcake Kit” a few days ago, I said “Oh honey, not right now.”  But thinking back on that, was it really because I didn’t have time or because I didn’t feel like it?  To redeem myself, we did make those cupcakes a day or so later, but I really need to be mindful that I am grabbing those moments when the kids need or want me.

 “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”  – James Taylor

Isn’t that so true?  Instead of wishing for the future, waiting for things to come, we need to hug and listen and be there for our family (and friends) enjoying life as it happens. :)

They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” –Andy Warhol

I love this quote as it give you the responsibility for your actions, your love and your future. Hubby and I have been married for 14 years.  Our relationship is different than it was when we climbed 14-footer mountains and picked leaches off us as we hiked through rainforests… Time has brought us new wonders and challenges… those long nights of nursing babies, chasing balls, watching the kids’ eyes light up in wonder as they discover something new.

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” –Max Frisch

Hubby and I have tacked the challenges together, marveled at how rapidly the kids have grown. In the meantime, Hubby and I have grown and truly become partners and pillars of strength — not only for each other, but for our kids. Hubby and I haven’t really been changed by time, but rather have created new portraits of who we are. We are no longer sprightly young adventurers, but part of a unit. We have to work together to tend to our needs and the needs of everyone in our family. There we are in ED’s picture.  I am tucked in third from the left and Dad is over second from the right!

Before I go, there’s one more really great quote that’s had my mind whirling…

“The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.”  –Ben Willis, Chashback

Isn’t that a great quote to end on? When my plate feels too full, I have to remember that this is my life. I am/We are making the decisions that keep us busy.  We have the ability to say “yes” (to spending quality time with loved ones) and “no” (to the activities that don’t matter.)

Happy New Year, Everyone!

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