Updated: Dec 28, 2018
"Time is what we want most, but use worst." -William Penn
Let's talk time for a bit. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a love-hate relationship with time. Mostly the hate-type of relationship. We just don't get along. I've been working very hard to improve my relationship with time. Meaning, I'm putting a lot of effort into self-acceptance and self-love; realizing that I can't do it all and being gentle with myself when I fail.
I often struggle with the feeling that time gets away from me; like there’s not enough of it in the day to complete my overwhelming daily to-do list. When I can't complete everything on my list, anxiety kicks in hardcore.
I have a problem with setting too many goals for myself; which is something I’m trying really hard to stop doing. It's so easy to set the bar high, realistically knowing that bar just can't be reached. I get all sorts of upset at myself when this happens. I tend to beat myself up and I know I have to stop. It’s. Just. So. Dang. Hard.
Old habits are the worst to break and I am definitely the epitome of an over-achiever. Just pile my plate higher and higher please (even though the contents of my plate are spilling all over the floor).
"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much." -Mother Theresa
The endless chores, the school events, the extracurricular activities, work, doctor's appointments, housework, etc. create endless to-do lists. The pressure to do it all wears on you, and if you let it, the stress will eventually cause you to crack. It's so much.
Unfortunately, single parents are held to the same standards as two-parent households and are expected to get it all done without breaking a sweat. Ha! I'm in serious need of a stronger antiperspirant over here!
It's hard to catch a break. Some of us don't receive or are owed child support. Many of us have to work more than one job to make ends meet. Balancing time between work and trying to parent well at times seems an insurmountable task.
Many of us feel guilt for missing out on our children's lives. Sometimes we are met with little to no empathy from friends, family or employers when it comes to balancing life and work. It's a pretty uncomfortable place to be in.
I have personally experienced painful and discouraging words from some of my own family and friends, and I know I’m not the only one. It is definitely a tough pill to swallow, which is why I have learned to give myself grace because I can’t live with constant guilt and regret forced upon me by other people who have not walked in my shoes and don’t understand how rough and narrow this path really is.
Every person has different circumstances in life. No matter your circumstances, grace is imperative for survival of single parenthood. I keep telling myself that the good Lord knew I could handle this and that I am here for a reason.
I'm here to be the loving parent my children need. He has given me His grace, my day-planner and caffeine because He absolutely knows I am not perfect, especially at being a single parent and managing my time wisely.
I want to strive to be like Jesus. If I give myself grace, I inadvertently improve my relationship with myself, with Him and with time. The nit-picky things just begin to melt into the background. Those to-do list things just aren't as important as they used to be.
Then and only then am I able to focus more clearly on the most important things and have more time to give to my precious little ones and to myself.
So give yourself some grace. Grace to forego the dishes for the evening or to forego that pile of laundry that needs to be folded. Grace when you forget to sign take-home folders or when you forget to play tooth fairy. Grace to ask for help. Grace to be honest with others about your situation. Grace to forget about what others think.
It's ok. You're going to be ok. Your children will be ok.
Choose to prioritize your time on the important things first, then you can focus on everything else. If you have older children, use your time with them to involve them in daily tasks. Not only will it teach them responsibility; it will bring you closer together as a family. I always tell my children, "In this house, we work as a team." They know momma can't do it all. They know I need them just as much as they need me.
You don't have to take everything upon yourself. You really don't. Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. Time on this earth is so limited. We are each allotted only so much of it, and we never know when that allotment is going to run out.
Use your time wisely to make memories and to create joy. Use your precious time on this planet to teach your babies how to be positive, kind human beings. We all know this world could use more people like that.
Your children won't remember those times when the dishes weren't done or the laundry was not folded; what they will remember is you spending time with them. Teaching them and loving them. Time doing the silly things, the fun things, the joyful things, and sometimes even the not so joyful things.
The take-away here is you have a choice to embrace time as your enemy or as your friend. Evaluate where you are in life. If you have a job you don't love that is sucking all the time from your life, it may be time to look for a new job. If you have an issue of setting too many goals, take note and start to keeping them in check. Get a planner. Find a supportive tribe at church or through friends and family. Stop being so hard on yourself.
Write things down, even the things that stress you out. Make sure your children's teachers know about your situation. Then stop. Take a deep breath. Pick your battles wisely and don't slay dragons that aren't there.
Give yourself grace when you mess up from time to time and don't sweat the small stuff. I promise life will go a lot smoother and time will be less of an issue in the long run.