Do your days pass quickly, or do they drag? Funny how it seems like the older children get, the more time speeds up. If you have ever been stuck in the house in a freezing February with a screaming child, you understand that time can drag.
Yet there comes a time in parenting when it feels like someone hit the fast-forward button. The days fly by filled with activities and work. Keeping a consistent, hard-working schedule can seem like running on a fast moving treadmill. Indeed the days fly by.
It’s October and we all know what is right around the corner – the holidays! A time of memory making and merriment, it is also a time of great stress for most homeschoolers. Parties, events and pageants crowd our calendars. The sheer volume of extra “stuff” to do seems to move the speed of the treadmill up a few notches.
Maybe this year can be different. How? Time can be our master if we don’t cultivate making it our servant. If you want to seemingly slow the speed of time, try this idea. Your children will find it instructive as well.
Make a seven day chart with twenty-four small squares for each day. Techy moms can make a spread sheet, or just get a big piece of paper and draw the chart free-hand.
Each hour for one week, make a brief note of how you spent that hour. We all have the same 168 hours per week. Assume you spend seven hours daily sleeping, that leaves 119 hours. Track your sitting-with-the-children-doing-school time precisely. Be concise in jotting down how much time you spend cooking and cleaning.
What’s left? We all need down time, but how much discretionary time do we really have? With most Americans averaging 7 hours per day of screen time, remember that the next time you say, “I don’t have time to ….” While you may not meet the national average of 7 hours of media per day, keep that statistic in mind as you contemplate the time crunch of the holidays.
Recently I did this exercise for the 3rd time in recent memory. It is a particularly stressful time in my home – AND the holidays are bearing down. My chart revealed that I spend at least an hour a day playing a game called BrickBreaker © on my smartphone, more often than not while singing a song in my head like “She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain.” While I justify this as a stress-buster in the middle of my muddy days, I could cut it down to 15 minutes without feeling deprived. For now, I am choosing to do this. Maybe next week I’ll walk for 30 of those minutes.
The speed of time is a choice because it is a perception. We perceive that our days fly by because we are stressed by the demands of our lives. When we can take control of that perception, we may feel less stress and find that we have more time for joy.
The use of our time is a choice as well. When you don’t have time for recreation, fun and making memories, life becomes joy-less. When you don’t take time for relationships and people, life becomes drab and routine.
You HAVE time for all that needs doing, including the added stress (and joy) of the holidays. We all have our 168. How will we use them?