Mothers of small children are so aware of how quickly time passes. Each day is filled with giving your heart and attention to a wee person that is growing rapidly while you cram in chores, hobbies (if possible), cooking, meal prepping, and so many other things. When nap time comes, you have a much needed reprieve to do something you couldn’t do while they were awake. Soon it’s time to hit the ground running again and before you know it you’re doing the bedtime routine. It’s no wonder these years when our children are small pass so quickly.
In the midst of this day to day grind you still have longings as an individual and you do your best. You might be a working parent or you might try to make an income from home doing odds and ends. You might have personal goals, hobbies, self care, or just need a few moments to rest (and you might feel like unraveling when the nap derails on certain days). We’ve all been there.
I’ve spent some time reflecting on the days that are pure joy and and the ones that drain my energy and peace. I’m realizing that the choices I make with my time make a big difference.
Some mornings are devoured with cartoons and doing whatever. When the morning is intentional with my daughter, I look back on my day with pride. Reading books, learning activities, OUTSIDE time are all so good for both of us. Sometimes I just put on the cartoons and do my thing while she plays and watches Mickey Mouse. Giving her some independent play time is healthy and important but I think when we spend too much time like that she becomes more anxious for my attention throughout the day. When she’s older and less eager for my attention, will I look back on these days and think about how much I got done with the house, my business, and my hobbies; or will I miss the sweet snugly little girl who thought my attention was enough? In a few years I don’t think I’ll remember how many projects I accomplished or money I made from home. I think I’ll remember snuggles, loud kisses, giggles, new discoveries and innocent eyes that well with unconditional love.
2. Nap times
I love nap time. I also need to prepare my heart because they won’t last forever. I often use her nap times to man my business or do creative activities. When she gives up her naps, I will need to give some of this up too. There’s a lot of good things to do with this time, including rest, but when the rest of the day is so full and hearts and eyes can grow heavy, this should intentionally be a time to do what leaves me feeling refreshed the rest of the day.
3. Making Dinner
I used to make EVERYTHING from scratch. Now I hardly ever try a new recipe and I love shortcuts and the crock pot. It’s too hard to make an elaborate meal by 5pm so that my toddler can eat. It’s hard to make a very involved meal when she starts aching for my attention that is divided by my necessary task. I’m okay with that. I don’t mind living more simply in this department of our life for a while. What I now need to be intentional about, day by day, is dinner preparation. When I try to do all the recipe steps after nap, then playing outside, then coming in with 30 minutes to an hour left to work and my daughter keeps seeking my attention throughout the process, my 30 minute meal turns into an hour+ with anxiety. That’s a poor use of my time. I’m going to learn to prep earlier in the day as often as possible, and I’m going to learn to incorporate toddler learning activities that I can keep her involved in while I’m cooking. (I’ll be writing a post about that soon)
4. Bath and Bedtime Routine
We’ve always loved this time. It is however getting longer and longer. I know she needs a lot of sleep at night and I want to work toward moving her bedtime a little earlier again; but when she inches a few extra minutes in with yet another story again and again, it’s time well spent. The fact that she loves being read books is a treasure I don’t want to take lightly.
My days are clearly full, but I have to stop and ask myself what they are filled with. When they are filled with anxiety and pressure, I need to make adjustments. When they are full of productivity, warmth, grace, and joy I’ll know I’m spending my time wisely.
How do you make your days count? What brings you joy and peace?