Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Priorities

At this season of my life, I'm so occupied by my duties at home - both mentally and physically - that I often become overwhelmed by a pull in different directions. There are, after all, so many books I would like to read; so much writing I would like to do, while I only snatch a moment here and there; so many great blogs I would love to keep up with; so many friends I haven't called in ages. There are so many emails waiting in my inbox, and ungraciously, I am forced to let them sit for weeks.

I'm not saying I don't have any time to do any of those things. I do, after all, read, and write, and talk to my friends. But the time is so very, very limited, and more than ever, I must be cautious not to be sucked into things that might pull me away from what I should really be doing.

Sometimes I feel so burnt out that I can actually sense my mind going numb, to the point when it's hard to keep up with any intellectually challenging reading, or even with the news. I would define this as emotional and intellectual indigestion. Sometimes I wish I had more time for myself, more organized days, more control over my time. But, as I remind myself when it gets tough, I was not sent here to have more time for myself or to have the perfect schedule. I am here to love and serve the people that the Almighty put under my care.

So, the biggest sanity-saver is defining my priorities while going on a "fast" of time-wasters. Not having a TV is a great help, but the internet can steal just as much of your time. I do love to check in on my favorite blogs and websites, but if I sit down to do that (and it doesn't happen every day), I try to limit myself to no more than five blogs or websites per day. I wrote about it extensively in a former post on preventing blogging from taking over your life.

Same goes to talking on the phone and visiting with friends. Around here, I can't get out without stopping to greet at least three neighbors, and most likely to share a few minutes of friendly chat. Personally I'm not a type to schmooze all day long, but I do love a friendly, refreshing conversation. If I'm talking on the phone, I can usually do other things around the house in the meantime, so I don't regard this as a waste of time at all, even in the midst of a busy day.

On the upside, not having that much time for myself means I appreciate more the time I do have. If I read a book or an article on the internet, it will be a really good one. If I'm meeting a friend, it's like a small celebration. If I chance to spend half an hour on the couch curled up with some handcraft, I truly savor every moment.

Sometimes, however, there is no choice but to go on an information/activity diet, and focus on just what's important, if we don't want the order in our homes to go to ruin. Take a deep breath and be patient, and remember - for every thing there is a season.

6 comments:

Coffee Catholic said...

It deffinately gets easier as the kids get older!!!! Babies are super "high maintenence" and need constant, vigilant supervision as well as having all of their physical needs met by YOU. But once the kids start to be able to do things for themselves (and help their younger siblings) life will feel less hectic.

So while I'm loving having a baby in the house and I look forward to having two more babies (and hopefully more after that!) I'm like you: "For everything there is a season."

On days when I feel like nothing more then a baby-slave I remind myself that time is actually flying by and one day very soon I'll be looking at Elspeth The Little Girl and I'll sigh to myself and wish for just five minutes of her as a baby again!! (Not that I won't be happy that she is a little girl but I'll also miss her as a chubby fat-cheek baby!!)

And then... she'll be leaving home to start her own life... oh, and then I'll just be so sad!! Babies are high maintenence but we get to enjoy such a deep intimacy with our children when they are this small and helpless!!

That reality helps keep me sane hehehe!

Jo said...

With older sons I now find I have far more time on my hands and its a nice surprise. I now have time to read, garden, enjoy an afternoon sleep, write letters, crafty things (on weekends) etc..

Sometimes I wonder if I should be doing something and no I don't:)

Thank-you Anna for the interesting things you discuss.

Jo

Kerry said...

Beautifully said! Thank you for a good word, timely-spoken.

Mommy Lynda said...

Your blog is such a great place to visit. With a newborn baby and 2 other small ones at home during the day, my days are really busy. I'm doing good when I can get the kitchen cleaned and breakfast made and cleaned in the mornings. After that, the kids are too needy for me to be able to get anything else accomplished. But with a baby establishing our nursing habits, I just have to remind myself that it doesn't last forever. Also with this being our last baby, I also have to remind myself to enjoy this time and to soak up all the babyness. But there are so many time wasters out there that can zap any moment away from my babies and my home!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anna, for the reminder. I haven't answered any e-mails for a very long time. It was comforting to hear that I'm not the only person who has difficulty keeping up with e-mail. Sometimes e-mails just aren't as important as seeing people face to face, or even taking quiet time to be alone. I know that when the time is right, I'll be able to answer them cheerfully. Thanks for sharing your struggles as well as triumphs because it's really encouraging to know you are human, too. :)

Anonymous said...

I, too, remember that time, Anna, when a good day meant I made the bed, got dressed before noon, & we ate something resembling a civilized meal.

You are wise to put the brakes on whatever keeps you away (too much!) from those you love best, & to whom you have the largest duty. All the rest will keep....your baby won't!

((hugs))
Brenda