Years ago, I came up with three priorities to help me decide where I would invest the time I had each day. Today, I use it as a guideline of sorts—a determiner that helps me choose how I will prioritize the time God gives me each day.
With 10 people in our busy household each day, the fact is: I either have a plan or I don’t. If I don’t, chances are good that the day will run me over and leave me on the side of the road for dead.
And we can’t have that.
I am also a fan of something I call “training wheel” schedules. That means that I start out our year with a schedule with the understanding that the job of the schedule is to help me get through the day, not to dictate my day for me. [THIS WAS A HARD-LEARNED LESSON.]
Here are my three priorities each day:
Now, I know that some of you can’t fathom “scheduling” something like time in the Bible, but for me, well, let’s just say it is the gas in my little Mom Car. I need it. As mothers, we are constantly pouring out into the lives of our children and families. We need to recharge our batteries. For me, this means rising early (something that I don’t believe is a biblical mandate but I highly recommend it), getting dressed in my workout clothes and spending a few minutes of solitude with the Lord.
Were there seasons when this was impossible, or at least unlikely? You know it! After seven babies, I can assure you, there have been times when I was lucky to get OUT of bed at all, let alone get up early—but now, with our youngest at 2 and 1/2, I I have found that if I’m self-disciplined, I can do it. Most mornings, I struggle to wake up … but being up early is a gift. The house is quiet. I can think. Pray. Breathe. It makes a huge difference in my life, those precious few moments of quiet each morning.
I can’t stress this enough: good marriages require nurturing. A good marriage is like the “glue” that holds the family tightly bound together. I know this is not always popular but at the end of the day (pun intended), your marriage is the priority relationship in your home. Nurture it. Protect it. Enjoy it.
Honestly, this is an entirely separate post—I’ve written about this before—and I will again; because it’s just.that.important. Don’t sacrifice your marriage on the altar of good parenting. Your kids need your marriage to succeed as much as the two of you do.
This is the “big one,” the one that everyone really wants to talk about. I know it sounds boring and stuffy to some people, but here’s the truth: iSchedule. Scheduling has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. On days when I feel to tired to think straight, out comes the schedule—and the kids know exactly what they are supposed to be doing without me telling them over and over … and over.
On other days, we might have time and energy for some spontaneous unscheduling and I’ll ditch the schedule altogether in favor of reading longer with the children or catching my husband for an impromptu lunch date. Either way, that schedule is there to help keep us moving in the direction we want to go.
Having a system or schedule in place allows my mind to let go of things that would otherwise drive me completely out onto a limb, such as handwriting practice or memory work. If I have it on the schedule, I know it’s going to get done.
Here’s the key to successful scheduling though: there’s not one right way to do it. You’ve got to give yourself freedom to try new things. Your schedule should be as unique as your family is. One season it will work for you, and the next it may not. That, as they say, “is life.”
I make my schedules using TABLES on my computer. It takes some time to figure out the best way to do it—so give yourself time to play with it. I also use planners and I’m a journaling junkie—so much so, that a few years ago, I released a journal just for busy moms like me.
The form you see above available in a editable version, too. If you dare—download it and tweak it for your family. Customize it! Make it your own. You can do it! Remember: the schedule is supposed to help you; not rule you.
At the end of the day, busy mom, only YOU can manage your days well. Be intentional about your time. See your time as a commodity—something you need to spend wisely.
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