Have you ever helped a friend by watching their child for an afternoon? If the child was under the age of 5, you would have given them your full attention. (In other words, no multi-tasking!) In the span of an afternoon, you could play with blocks, dolls, color, have a snack, go on a walk, read books and more. When the afternoon was over, did you feel like time passed slowly or quickly? I’m guessing you’d say the time passed slowly.
Why is it that when we spend time like the example above, time moves slowly, almost at a crawl? (Similarly, if your child is sick or you watch them practice a sport or musical instrument, the time feels like it goes on forever.) It’s as if in these situations, we have all the time we need. Yet, if we spend the same afternoon with our daily to do list, we feel like we don’t have enough time. How is that possible? Every day has the same number of hours, but depending on what you are doing, the perception having enough, or not enough, time is so different.
Why the discrepancy on our perception of time? What would happen if we woke up thinking I have plenty of time today, instead of I am so busy? Or if we told ourselves, whatever we can get done today is just fine, instead of there’s no way I’ll be able to get everything done?
Who is defining what you need to do vs. what you want to do? Are they different? Are they the same? Sometimes there is this sense of guilt on a weekend afternoon you are sitting in your house doing “nothing” like watching a movie, reading a book or just spending unscheduled time. Why do we think we must be busy throughout the day otherwise we’ll miss out on something important we should be doing?
Now in the interest of time, I’m going to keep this short – I’m sure there is something else you have to run off to do (or maybe are in the middle of doing it right now). But before you jump to the next, take a deep breath and think about the time that lies in front of you right now. Ask yourself, how would I feel if I knew I had enough time to get everything done? Would my attitude and anxiety change? Set a reminder for yourself on your phone to go off in two hours. When the alarm goes off, check in with yourself – are you still feeling calm and peaceful knowing everything that needs to get done today will get done? If not, then pause and remind yourself you have plenty of time today. Set another reminder to go off in another two hours and check in with yourself again. At the end of the day, look back and ask yourself did the day seem to go faster or slower? Did you get more done or less or did it even matter?
You have plenty of time. Instead of rushing from one thing to the next today, enjoy where you are at every step of the way. Be grateful for the ability to spend this time today however you choose.
Are you a working mom struggling to define what “having it all” means to you? I want to talk to you! Comment below or send me an email and we’ll schedule a time to talk. Come join our Facebook group Balanced Heart Moms and join a supportive community of women who share their stories and lift each other up.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.