Whether spouse or child, we all need it – to be made to feel special. So much to do, so little time. How do we accomplish this with our busy lives? …
Too many demands in an 18-hour period – if we leave 6 hours to sleep, that is. Sounds like we should be able to get quite a bit accomplished in that amount of time. Extract the 8-hour workday, national average of 1 ½ hours behind the wheel a day to get to and from the workplace, that leaves only 8 ½ hours. Next deduct the national average of 30 minutes getting ourselves presentable each day. (We know most women taken longer.) Now we’re down to 8 hours a day in which we can devote time to do so many tasks for the family.
There are errands, doctors’ appointments, sports, and extracurricular activities. Then, there’s the laundry, meal preparation, various chores and projects around the house, and, of course, homework and baths to accomplish in a day’s time. One can rationally deduce that 5 hours is not an unreasonable amount of time to allot for such responsibilities. Not much time left (approximately 3 hours) to take care of the most fundamental duty assigned to us as a family – that of taking time to love one another. Whether spouse or child, we all need to be made to feel special – to have someone notice our needs, care for those needs, and meet those needs.
So much to do, so little time. How do we accomplish this with our busy lives? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Get organized. Planning ahead for meals, preparing as much as you can the night before, keeping a grocery list of items as they are exhausted, and preparing 30-minute nutritional meals is essential for taking you out of the kitchen more quickly. This allows you more one-on-one time for the hours left in your day. Until your children are old enough to select the clothing they wear, have everything laid out for them the night before. With everything in order, getting out the door is not only more controlled, but it reduces the tension in rushing out the door the next morning.
Involve the family in tasks. Setting the mealtime table, preparing food items according to ability and age, and clean-up after a meal is a wonderful way to have conversation and spend time together in your limited hours. For laundry, have color-coded containers for family members to drop laundry in – i.e., whites, colors, darks. Makes your job easier, and as they grow old enough to understand the concept, they can do their own clothes with ease. (It really is great preparation for leaving the nest.)
Troubleshoot regularly. It’s best to keep the pulse of your family. Doing a daily check on the status of your spouse and children by keeping regular tabs on their lives can typically prevent things from becoming monumental or take you by surprise requiring an upheaval in your daily routine. Troubleshooting on the top side can keep your world from tipping over.
Set a time for each family member. Whether spouse or child, each one deserves, and expects, your undivided attention. If you have planned time for each child, you are more likely to make it happen. It might be you have to swap off days – one day is Susie’s, the next Johnny’s. Your spouse can spend time with the other while you take care of one. Regardless of how many children you have, they need to feel special. Your spouse, however, will expect and desire that kind of time daily. So, after the kids are in bed and taken care of, the two of you should sit down and have a time of sharing your days, dreams, and love.
Chart it. There’s something about seeing appointments, plans and dreams in print for staying on course. Get a calendar, magnetize it to the fridge or pin it to a bulletin board visible for the entire family. As family members have events, they should be noted. If everyone gets into the habit of filling in and checking the calendar, it gives a heads-up on what to expect in the week. It also cues everyone in on what to look, dream, and pray for one another.
Pray. There’s no greater encouragement from someone you love than to know you have taken the time out of a busy schedule to pray for him/her. Following up on what you are praying for is edifying as well as promotes a sense of devotion.
Yes, life is busy. But, what could be more important than making sure your family feels more special than anyone or anything else in your day, apart from making the Lord the number one priority in your life. Funny thing: when you put Him first, not only does it open up the occasion, but also your heart to comprehensively love when there’s so much to do, so little time.