I distinctly remember my husband finding me at my computer, typing away and researching like mad, while our oldest girl was sitting in her onesie playing with some small toy. It seems I was searching for ways to spend some creative time with our daughter.
Yes, yes; looking back on it now, I clearly wasn’t seeing what was right in front of me! Instead of thinking about spending time with my daughter, I could actually be spending time with my daughter!
Years of experience have taught me that this tends to be true to every area of my life. I am a very task oriented person. By completing the myriad of items on my checklist, I somehow justify my existence.
I find it very hard to justify sitting down on the floor and playing with blocks; there is a house that needs to be cleaned. I feel guilty about reading a book while the sun is still up; I could be doing yard work and baking fresh bread.
I have also come to realize, however, that there are many definitions of wasting time. I was wasting the short, fast years of my children’s childhood; I was focusing on the responsibilities and not the relationships.
I still find it hard to sit still when there are chores to be done. My fingers still itch to do just one last thing before I relax. However, I have also learned to compromise. I have found a way to balance my need to be useful and the need to be there for my kids.
When I am in my home, I do chores while the kids are still sleeping or when they are working on a project. We have learned to do chores together, making it a fun experience for all of us; sometimes blaring music and dancing while we work. When the work is done, I plan things for us to do; we make greeting cards, play a game, watch a movie, or anything else the kids are interested in.
The easiest thing for me though, is leaving my house! I find that I am better able to focus my attention on them, when we are out of my sphere of responsibility. So I plan a vast number of field trips (we probably take about twenty field trips a year), we attend park days, birthday parties, Keepers at Home, I date my kids, and aim for anything else that helps me build our relationships.
Slowly, but surely, I am retraining my mind to be less task oriented and more people oriented. I don’t always succeed. At times I still choose to file that paperwork or pull the weeds, when I could be playing a board game. I am learning though and with time I know it will become easier.
Today we have a full day ahead of us. I have tackled whatever chores I could get to, while the kids happily played together. Now, it is time for me to get out of the house and joyfully start “wasting some time”!
Are you task oriented? How have you retrained your mind to focus on people and not problems?