Wasting Time?

Let's go!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. Little Man and Me

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.

Fun with KidsWhen 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.Watch Your Fingers

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?

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13 thoughts on “Wasting Time?

  1. I am very much a list person. I like to plan and organize. I love doing research about anything and everything… places to take my daughter, craft projects, ways to make learning fun, vacation destinations, etc. I love being at home with my daughter and watching my nephew, but I have a hard time just sitting down and relaxing. Even if it is to play with them. I always feel like I need to be up making dinner, doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher, putting clothes away…the list goes on and on. I have to remind myself that I am allowed to sit down and enjoy my time with my daughter and nephew. I don’t have to be productive at all times of the day. It’s hard to retrain yourself to focus on the people around you, and less on the daily responsibilities around the house. It’s even harder when outside people make assumptions that you must be living the “easy life” since you’re not working outside of the home. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full time job.

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    • I think that is part of the problem; people assume because we are home we have all the time in the world. So, when our houses aren’t perfect or we say we are running out of time, they roll their eyes and mutter about how easy we have it. It puts some pressure on us, but it is our choice whether or not we force ourselves to live up to their expectations or not.

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  2. I’m really task oriented also. I repeat Ann Voskamp’s saying about how life isn’t an emergency and I need to slow down and enjoy it often to myself.

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    • That is so hard, slowing down. Every once in a while I crash and burn, feeling the need to literally stop (as opposed to slowing down). I wish I could catch myself before I get to that point and just slow down. Thanks for the reminder!

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  3. I don’t really need an actual list so much as I need everything to be organized. But I am HORRIBLE about being able to give my full focus to something when there’s something else pressing (i.e. if I know bills need to be paid or I have a box full of emails more than a few days old).

    I started getting up about an hour before anyone else in the house, and that quiet time gives me the chance to get the worrying stuff finished so I can focus on the homeschool/domestic stuff without so much guilt.

    It’s definitely NOT easy, though, and sometimes I fail miserably 🙂

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  4. I too struggle with the “doing” over the “living.” I was raised to be productive! We love to rest together in the late afternoons and I think that’s how we reconnect. Snuggling for a movie, good book or game. I find those calm times when we are all resting together, quality time. Night time routines are also a big one. We are all together for an hour or two before the girls go to bed- reading, talking, praying. Those are the moments I don’t mind “wasting.” Therefore, I feel those day time moments that I got to clean or attend to a project were well balanced and don’t feel like wastes of time either. I remember that honest work, done in joyful spirit, is an honor to God. My work done towards my projects, is my prayer time. He often speaks to me during those times at the kitchen sink catching up on the dishes. It’s usually how I adjust my internal thermostat when I get too hot or too cold. 😉 Another great post! 🙂

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    • I love how the Lord uses those times of “busy-ness” to speak to me. He often quiets my heart, shows me the paths He wants me to take, or simply demonstrates His love. Thanks for stopping in and offering your helpful advice!

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  5. I MOST CERTAINLY have this issue. I,like you, find the best way is to get out of the house. However, when I can’t I attempt to talk myself into making sure I spend time with them. And as they get older and their chores have increased it helps me to relax more because the work is more evenly distributed.

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