Hello friends! I have been thinking about time a lot lately and how there never seems to be quite enough of it to get everything done that I want to get done. Does that ever happen to you? Time just seems to slip away and there just do not seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish what you wanted to do? Time, like money, is a limited currency, therefore, it is imperative that we invest our time wisely. One of the best and worthwhile ways to invest our time is with our children.
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Time is a currency
Once I started thinking about time as a currency, things started falling into place. Money is something that some people have more of than others, but there is always a limit to it. Sometimes you have to pick and choose what you spend your money on, and what to invest in. There are some things that you HAVE to spend it on, like paying the bills and buying groceries and there are other things that you can choose to spend it on. Those choices have to be prioritized.
The same is true for time. Some people will have more than others, but none of us have an unlimited amount. Some of us have more available time, some of us have less. What we all have to do is choose how to spend the time that we have, and we need to stop and think so that we can choose wisely.
The time that we HAVE to spend
Unlike money, time is something that we have to spend. We can’t put some back in the bank and save it for later. Time cannot be put in an investment account so that we can live off the interest later. Time has to be spent as it comes, and whether you think about how to spend it or not, it will always be spent somehow. There is some time that we have to spend certain ways. We all have to sleep. I know I do not spend enough of it sleeping, to be honest. We also have time that we have to spend making money or doing whatever we are obligated to do. That obligation might be a 9-5 job or it might be taking care of other people, or something else.
So far, we have 2 things that we have to spend our time on sleep, and obligations that HAVE to be taken care of. However, what about the rest of your time? How do you spend it?
How do you invest your “free” time?
I am going to define “free” time as time that is not obligated. Do you choose to spend your time on self-care? Are you investing time in your spouse and your marriage? What about your kids? There is no wrong answer here. It is your time, so it’s up to you how you spend it. Be aware that it is an investment, though. What we invest time into is what prospers.
If you have a garden and you invest no time into it, then you will not get much out of it, other than grass and weeds. However, if you spend time on that garden, if you research what to plant, when and where to plant it, and then you water it and weed it, then it will start to grow. Then, after it reaches a certain maturity level it starts bearing fruit. (or vegetables in the case of a garden!)
Our lives are very much like that garden. If you choose to invest in your spouse and your marriage, you may not see immediate effects. When you water the garden, all you see immediately is wet soil. However, like the garden, if you keep watering it those seeds that you planted will grow and flourish. It will grow into something that you enjoy very much and it will blossom. You will get so much more out of it, but you see, it takes work and it takes a time investment.
Investing in your Kids
If you choose to invest time in your kids, again, you may not see any immediate effect. However, as time goes on, you will see those little seeds that you planted in their hearts start to grow. Seeds of kindness, seeds of hope, seeds of inspiration, seeds of encouragement, there are many different kinds of seeds. What will you choose to plant in your children? They mirror us. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago.
Curious George Strikes Again
My youngest son is a bit like Curious George, and trouble seems to find him. He had gotten into minor trouble at school and I was mad at him. I was in his room after he came home from school and instead of being calm like I should have been, my “talk” with him started turning more into me chewing him out, and my frustration and anger level began to rise. He very calmly saw what was happening and then he did something that made me stop and wonder who the grown-up was. He put his arms around my neck when I was feeling totally unlovable (and quite irritated with him) and said “Momma, Momma, it’s ok, Momma. Come on, Momma, deep breaths, deep breaths.” And then he started to start calm breathing with me like I do for him when he’s upset.
The student becomes the teacher
Do you know how hard it is to chew someone out when they are saying that to you and responding so lovingly? It’s almost impossible! It worked. It did calm me down, and it also touched my heart. What happened was that before my eyes, my time investment started flowering. Rewind 3 years and I had a preschooler that had a very hard time managing his temper, and would frequently have melt-downs.
I started trying ways to teach him to calm himself down and get a hold of himself until he could think more clearly. This was practiced and practiced. It was a huge hug accompanied by a soothing voice and deep breathing and then talking him through the situation. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it fell flat, but I kept on investing my time in trying to teach him. Then, 3 years later, it bloomed, suddenly and unexpectedly. I have tears in my eyes now as I am typing this and remembering what happened.
What kind of investments do you make with your kids?
I know that being a stay at home mom is utterly draining. Some days, especially if you have young kids, are trying to survive until nap time. I want to encourage you, to enjoy your blessing when you have them. Do you take your kids to the park and spend all the time on your phone? Perhaps, like me, you half-heartedly listen to their stories while you drive, and end up daydreaming all the way home? Do you shoo them out of the kitchen while you cook supper, and then hurriedly tuck them into bed at night? I have. I have done all those things.
Other days – I get it right
Then there are other days that I watched them play at the park. I chased them around the slide, I pushed them on the swing, and I ran beside the merry-go-round until I was dizzy. There were other days that instead of shooing them out of the kitchen while I was cooking supper, I pulled up a chair and let them help, or at least watch. Now that my oldest son is too big for imaginary friends, I fondly remember the stories of him and his imaginary friend, all the adventures that he dreamed up, and all the cool things they invented. You know what? Now that he is getting older and he is starting to discover that not all his “friends” actually are friends, I miss his imaginary friend. He may have been crazy, but he never once made my son cry.
There are still some nights that I am exhausted and I hurry through our bedtime routine more than I should. But there are also some nights that I grip those small hands just a little bit harder as we are saying our bedtime prayers and I fervently thank the Lord for them and for all the blessings that they bring to my life. There are some days that I leave the grocery store in shell shock because of how much money I dropped on groceries, despite meal planning. However, I hope that they are outnumbered by the joy that I have in cooking for my family and in seeing them enjoy the meal that I prepared for them, and smiling when my growing boys ask for second helpings.
Kid Investments are limited time offers
I have come to realize, more than ever, that the time that I have the opportunity to make those investments in my kids is limited. Too limited and going too fast, in this Momma’s mind. I have always said, “They are only little once.” Now that my youngest is in kindergarten, that hits home more than ever. Yes, my kids are still little. It’s not too late to invest in them. I intend to try to consciously do so all that I can.
That’s why my last post on Spring Break Activities was so long. I started typing and couldn’t stop until I had 60 things! If you look at that post, the common theme in all of them is TIME spent with the kids. When you invest in your kids with time, it creates a bond with them. You will always have a bond with your kids. They are your kids. You never outgrow needing your Mom or Dad. (I am an adult, and yes, I still need my parents sometimes!) That time investment will translate to a lasting bond with your kids and a relationship with them.
I do not remember a single thing that I looked at on my phone while my kids played at the park. I do remember all the smiles and giggles as I chased them and the glow of happiness on their faces. When you see that, stop for a minute and soak it up. That’s the good stuff. Life is made of little moments like that.
Making time investments while being productive on other things
My oldest son recently had a social studies state project. I was hesitant to help him at first since it was HIS project, but then I realized that he had NO CLUE where to begin or how. So I sat down and brainstormed with him about how we could best present the material. I explained what his teacher expected and we looked at the examples, and I got a few things. I set aside some time for us to work on it, just me and him.
As we sat down and worked on it together, we chatted about what we were doing and how to do it. I thought it was only small talk at the time until he said “Mom, you know, this is kinda nice, us just working on this together just me and you. It reminds me of back when it was just me and you. I miss that.”
That made me realize the importance of spending one on one time with him. He still needs that, perhaps now more than ever. He is 10 and is getting to be not-so-little and with that comes the start of puberty and discovering who he is. We got done what needed to get done. I thought the project looked pretty good after we got finished with it and I also feel like it was still his project, but I felt like we had some quality time together too. If I want my son to talk to me and tell me all the things that I want to know about what is going on in his world, then I need to be sure that I give him opportunities to talk to me in a no-pressure environment. Boys, especially seem like they are more talkative when they are doing something else.
Time, like money, is a currency. Each of us only has so much. How we choose to spend our time is very much like choosing how to invest our money. We will spend time and money on the things and people that we place priority on. Spending time with your kids is like planting a garden in some ways. You may not see immediate results when you water the seeds that you planted and when you weed the garden. However, when it is tended to, that garden will grow and flourish. It is very satisfying to witness when the lessons that you spent time teaching your kids start blooming.
Some days are tough, especially when they are little, but time with your kids is always well spent. We all make mistakes from time to time, and there is not one “perfect” mom among us. When you do the best you can, and you try to make the time spent with your kids count, you make memories and forge bonds with your kids that will be there forever. They will not always be little, they will not always be in our houses, and our lives will not always be devoted to caring for them. They are a precious gift that we have to nurture for just a little while. Enjoy it, and make it count.
What are some time investments that you make with your kids? What do you enjoy doing with them or what do you wish you had done? Leave me a comment below!
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