TIME: THE UNAVOIDABLE constraint that we all get to live within. From morning until night and even into the early morning, time is something that we are constantly tethered to.
When talking to other parents about time, time management, and endless things to do there seem to be two common responses:
1. “Oh, the time passes by so quickly so enjoy it."
2. “I never have enough time!”
Response #1 inevitably comes from those parents who no longer have children at home, while response #2 almost always comes from those parents with children that are still at home. There is truth in both of these statements about time. It does seem like yesterday that I was holding our first-born for the first time and he is now 3 ½ years old! There was also the planning and preparing for child number 2 and he is already 3 months old. Unfortunately in a household with two young children and two working parents I would whole-heartedly say; “My partner and I never have enough time!”
They grow up so quickly, don't they?
Recently I have come to the realities of active and involved parenting - there will never be enough time. I often hear other parents wishing for more hours in the day and I wonder why they would want to do this to themselves? If there were more hours we would find the activities and commitments to fill those hours too.
Weekends seem like a good time to catch-up so for months I would actively put together a long list only to be disappointed on Monday that because of the family hike, grocery shopping, surprise guests in town, two hours of sunshine, and a birthday party only two things had been completed.
Making time for the outdoors!
Here is how I have hit my Father-stride and come to terms with the realities of time:
1. Accepting that there is never enough time is the foundation component to stop being frustrated about the lack of time.
2. Prioritizing tasks into the must dos and the it-would-be-nice-to-get-done things. Realizing that realistically the must dos will probably be the only things that will get done.
3. Looking at commitments outside of the family and downsizing them. There will be time to fill when the home is kid-free.
4. Realize that not everything can be done as a family and sometimes it is best to divide and conquer. Mom and child do one thing and Dad and other child do another.
5. Get some help with responsibilities. Hire someone to do some home cleaning or trade-out a play date with a friend to provide some time to focus on important tasks.
6. Take some time off work to get caught-up on project that may not be able to be fit into the daily and weekly schedule.
7. Everything else gets planned so don't forget to plan fun events often!
8. Always remembering what is ultimately important: spending time with children, as a family, and finding some time to have focused conversation and time with partner.
Until next time….