By Sheila Wray Gregorie, tolovehonorandvacuum.com/
Are you a busy mom? I know. What a silly question. Kind of like asking a new mother if she’s tired or chocolate if it’s delicious. When I became a mother I discovered busy and mom go hand in hand.
Not long ago, I was searching for help for my chaotic, topsy-turvy life. Everywhere I turned I couldn’t swing my purse without hitting books for Busy Moms, The Busy Moms Recipe Book – You Too Can Make a Fourteen Course Meal in Eight Minutes. The Busy Moms 4.2 second Devotional Book, How to Change a Flat Tire – for Busy Moms. Unfortunately, they all seemed to ignore the gargantuan pink elephant in the room and accept the fact that I was busy, too busy.
Were there any moms out there who had fought the insanity of busyness and been crowned victor? I needed solutions from moms who had walked a mile in my tired, worn-out mommy-shoes. Our family’s answer was to take a radical sabbatical—a twelve month time-out from any activity I had to drive my children to. For a whole year we learned to slow down, and in the process discovered how to be a family again.
I’d like to share a few areas in my life that suffered under the burden of my busyness, and the solutions that crowned me victorious. This is from my list of ten reasons in my book, Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical that helped my husband and I to take the plunge into the radical sabbatical unknown!
A romantic night out = Our 4th grader playing Chop Sticks on our back deck.
A family is only as strong as the marriage inside of it. With children pulling us in ten different directions every day, busyness was keeping us from being alone together. There was a time when my husband was going to law school during the day and working full-time at night, while I was home enjoying our three-ring-circus. Not really a recipe for romance. As much as we enjoyed holding hands during our son’s baseball games or our daughter’s dance lessons, it wasn’t enough. Being serenaded by our daughter and her evening practice of saxophone chop sticks- 4th grade style was as lovey-dovey as things got. It was precious but it didn’t fill our need for a little romance.
Solution: When our children were young, we made a point to have them in bed by 8pm each night. This gave us two hours of time alone together before our own bedtime. Quite often I would save a yummy treat just for the two of us to share. No matter how difficult our day, just knowing we would have some time alone together in the evening was a great motivator for both of us.
My kids thought all meals came with a side of fries.
Ok, so I may be exaggerating a little bit here. But, my children have eaten more fast food than ever passed my lips as a child. When my eight-year-old daughter could recite the dollar value meals at McDonald’s with more accuracy than her time-tables, I knew we had a problem.
When I was busy it was just a whole lot easier to speak into a clown’s head, drive forward and have a complete stranger hand me dinner in a bag.
I desired for us to eat as a family, I really did. When I was a little girl it was our family practice to have dinner together. If my father worked late we waited. We ate together as a family or we didn’t eat at all.
Solution: Plan. Plan. Plan. There’s no way around it. If I don’t know ahead of time what I’m making for dinner, then a healthy family meal around our kitchen table is not going to happen. And, for the record, it is possible to fall in love with your crock-pot. My youngest daughter volunteered to sit beside me and look through cookbooks each week. She was more than happy to help me create our weekly meal plan. Having time alone with my daughter Grace is time well spent.
Singing Jesus Take the Wheel on the way to a Girl Scout Meeting,
counted as my Bible study for the week.
I would make time for everything else, including Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, before I would give a moment of my day to the very One who’d given me all of mine.
I considered Bible study by country radio station completely acceptable. I used every excuse to put off opening my Bible and feasting on His Word. How many times had I missed out on godly encouragement—a treasure in scripture from the Lord just for me? It would have made my busy day much more bearable.
Solution: I began keeping a Bible by the side of my bed, in my bathroom and on my kitchen counter. Each day, no matter where I went in my house, I would be reminded to have my time with the Lord. It surprised me to discover when I made time for the Lord the more I desired time with Him. When I prayed I would ask Him to clear my schedule so we could be alone together. He always did.
I am a mom. My life is busy. But I can keep it from being too busy. So can you. What is taking up the most of your time? What is causing you the greatest burden? Where can you make small changes to discover big rewards? I challenge you to make your own list today. And don’t try and tell me you’re too busy. You have time. I know you do.
Excerpt from Just Too Busy-Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical; Beacon Hill Press 2011