Imagine that you are running a 5K.
You've set a steady pace for yourself and you're doing well. You haven't spent too much energy, and if things keep going along the way they are you will finish this race with enough energy to pump your arms in the air as you collapse across the finish line.
Suddenly, a hurdle is thrown in your path. You can either keep your pace and expect to run right through it (with horrible results) or you can pick up momentum, leap, and then resume your steady pace. Another hurdle may or may not be thrown in your path, but you never know.
As a woman, you know that this 5K race is one you run every single day. Some days there are obstacles/hurdles that suddenly appear at any given point and on others days the path couldn't be clearer while you are trying to reach the finish line in this race of life.
If you are a work-outside-the-home-mom, that hurdle might be the call from school telling you that you have a sick child that needs to be picked up. For the stay-at-home-mom, that hurdle could be the dreaded crayon incident that occurs while you are homeschooling your older child and sends you scrambling for some type of cleaner while saying "no, no, no" and trying to keep your cool at the same time (if it sounds like I know something about crayons on surfaces other than paper..... I do).
There are always going to be little things that come up during your day. Your children and your spouse need you and quite often need something of you. You have needs, too! And there are only so many hours in the day.
So how do you keep from getting derailed but instead ending your day with a semblence of peace?
1. Put God first.
It goes without saying. When you put The Lord first in your day, even if it is just having a prayer time with Him first thing in the morning, you are, in escence, handing your day to Him. It could not be in better hands than that.
2. Evaluate your responsibilities for the day.
Make a list of what you and your family need to do, and then check it twice! Do you really need to get everything on that list done? What can be eliminated? Is your list overreaching what is even humanly possible to do on any given day?
3. Evaluate what your family's needs/desires/wants are.
If you have small children, mommy/child playtime is high on their list of needs/wants. Keep that in mind. What does your husband want? A nice dinner, a particular favorite meal, couple time? Keep his needs in mind. What do you need/want? A hot cup of tea or coffee during naptime, a chance to put your feet up for half and hour?
4. Break up your day into thirds.
On a sheet of paper (or open a page on a digital notebook), write down morning, afternoon, and evening.
Then take your list of responsibilities and your family's needs/wants and fit them within the three parts of your day.
For example, my list yesterday looked like this:
Morning- devotions and prayer, exercice, dress, quick clean, 2 loads laundry, homeschool, make pottery with Addie
Afternoon- balance accounts, pay bills, fold laundry, blog, prep dinner, play Barbies, cuddle time with the munchkins
Evening- quick clean, layout clothes for tomorrow (me and kids), pack Ian's lunch, pack Brian's lunch, pack Addie's back pack, clean kitchen, read two books with kids
I saved our fun activity as the last item for each part of the day. The idea behind this is to teach my children that we can have fun after we get our jobs done. They are also getting to have fun throughout the day instead of having to wait to have fun at the very end of the day.
In the morning, our fun activity was to make a clay pot (which turned out to be more of a plate) with a pottery making kit Great Grandma K gave us, and Ian got to color (a priviledge that had been taken away due to an incident earlier this week) because we completed everything on the list an hour before lunch.
Because Addie gave me the quiet time I needed during naptime and even helped me make dinner and fold her laundry, we were able to play Barbies together once our afternoon tasks were complete.
For me as a goal oriented person, I like knowing that one of my "things-to-do" is to stop, sit, and play or interact with my kids in a fun way without thinking about what I have to do next.
I do get "me time", also. During nap time, I can sit with a cup of hot tea, iPad and keyboard, put on the Pioneer Woman's cooking show, and relax while I take care of my online things. For me, that is relaxing.
By getting everything done by the time the kids go to bed in the evening, I am now available for my husband.
Not having too many things to do on my list means that when hurdles suddenly get thrown in my path during my daily race, I have time to adjust my speed, pray, leap, and keep running.
It's a new day, Ladies! Lace up those running shoes and let's hit the pavement at a steady pace today.