In the last couple of years, I have learned what all full-time working wives and mothers already know. I have learned to try to make the most of every moment. I used to have spare time to take my cat to the vet. Or pluck my eyebrows. Or read a book. No problem. Or grab lunch with a friend or go shopping for groceries or shoes. Now all of those things fit into my schedule only if I am really creative. Some things just don’t get done at all. (Stop staring at my eyebrows) And that just has to be okay. No one is offering me a “Good Housekeeping” award these days. Most days my house is passable, but it would rarely pass anyone’s white glove test. Who has white gloves these days, anyway?
But there are some things that must find their way into my busy schedule. Like those groceries. My husband and my kids still like to eat. And so do I. Trying to find time to get that dreaded job done has been a challenge. I’m not a fan of the task anyway. I usually give up sleeping in late on Saturday mornings to head to the local Wal-Mart to do the deed and beat the crowds. I am not a fan of Wal-Mart in general. I was going to say that I hate Wal-mart, but I decided that was really harsh language. I like to poke fun at the odd clientele that’s seen in Wal-Mart, but then I realize that at least once a week, that clientele includes me, so….
While some things must go undone, there must be a priority list of things that no matter my work schedule, cannot slide. I heard a sermon preached by Andy Stanley once where he essentially said,
Somebody is going to get cheated. Rarely can we meet everyone’s expectations every day. We commit to too many things. Someone is going to get cheated. Andy went on to say that if we must cheat someone, cheat our jobs. Cheat the PTA. Cheat the church (gasp). But do not cheat our families.
Andy is giving us permission to say no to some things in order to say yes to other things. In learning how to be a full-time working mom and wife, I have made the mistake of putting my job ahead of my family’s needs sometimes. It’s maybe okay to do that every once in a while, but when it becomes a regular thing, something’s got to give. My children, my husband, need to know if the chips are down, and even if they aren’t, I will choose them.
I can’t expect to come home from a long day of work, put my pajamas on and head for the couch every night. No, I come home, put my pajamas on, and head for the kitchen. I managed to fit grocery shopping in, now I must fit in some meal prep. I could sacrifice mealtime, but I don’t want to. It’s my favorite time with my family. What I do sacrifice is gourmet meals. Those who know me best know that this is not a real sacrifice for me. No one ever called me a gourmet cook. Honestly, no one ever called me any kind of a cook. But a quick and easy meal saves my feet, and gives me that treasured mealtime with my family.
I have precious little time with my kids. They are growing up and out from under me. Soon, my husband and I will be empty nesting. Just because I am working full time does not excuse me from pouring into their lives practically and spiritually. I stole this next idea from another person. (It’s okay to steal from someone if it means getting your kids to read the Bible.) Every morning, when I pull into a parking space at work, I stop, pull out my phone, pull up the One Year Bible and text a passage of Scripture to all four of my kids. I hope they are reading the Bible on their own, but in case they aren’t, they get a little nugget from me. It takes me about one minute to do that.
Recently, my thirteen year old was asked to share a verse and a word of encouragement to the other students during their prayer and worship service. I asked him what he was going to say, and he said he was going to share one of the verses I had sent him that had meant a lot to him. Whoohoo! Small investment, huge return
After I send my kids their passage for the day, I climb onto a shuttle that I ride for the next fifteen minutes or so to my building. I used to just pittle on my phone, catch up on Facebook or Twitter. That is until the Holy Spirit, through a friend, convicted me. Now, I use that time to do my own Bible reading. That fifteen minutes changes my whole day. I used to dread that shuttle ride, now I look forward to it.
I’d be lying if I said that I preferred working full time. I enjoy what I do, but it’s harder. It’s more of a challenge to find the time to do the things that should matter the most. But it’s teaching me some things, too. I am learning that my steps are ordered for me. That where I spend my days now is exactly where the Lord wants me to be, and that I was made for such a time as this. And I am learning, that with diligence, I can still keep the important things at the top of my list.