Remember when your children were newborns and everyone told you to enjoy them now because they grow up too fast? You knew there was truth in that well-intended advice, but in the midst of sleepless nights, colicky screams and never-ending laundry, you had a difficult time “enjoying the moment.” Well, maybe you didn’t but I sure did!
It wasn’t until my last little child was out of diapers that I began yearning for another newborn. I miss those days. When I see a baby – fussy or not – I look at my husband with an achy heart. He thinks I’m a crazy hormonal mess, but I know for certain my ovaries are in a state of serious depression. Despite the newborn chaos, I loved every single minute of those early years. Even if I didn’t recognize it then.
Fast forward eight years and I find myself in a new kind of chaos. Today, it’s more about…
- Middle school drama (including friends, enemies, puberty, sex, drugs, alcohol and all my favorite topics);
- Restrictions on video games, social media, phones, music, movies and pretty much everything else (I am THAT mother who doesn’t care what EVERYBODY else is allowed to do);
- Transportation logistics (God should have given me a mature and safe driver for each one of my children…and He also could have given me the ability to be in two places at once…I would be so grateful for that right about now);
- Even more dirty laundry (my babies went through five outfits a day and my teens/tweens wear the same thing over an over again – how is it possible I have MORE laundry now?);
- Keeping the house clean enough that I’m not embarrassed when the whole team shows up uninvited;
- Feeding my family something that doesn’t come from a drive through or the freezer section of the grocery store;
- Missing my husband who always gets the worst of me – the exhausted, stressed and anxious woman who crawls in bed at the end of a busy day;
- Waking up at 5 am because it’s the only time I have to myself – to read devotionals, journal or exercise…sometimes even on Saturdays;
- Losing touch with family and friends because there simply isn’t enough time in the day for a phone call (the kind where you actually get to talk to each other);
- Oh, and running a business…let’s not forget that thing I love to do and sometimes wonder if I would go completely insane without!
Does any of this sound familiar? I’m willing to bet you have a similar list with a few adjustments depending on your season of life.
If you’re a mom and an entrepreneur, you most likely live a busy life (understatement of the decade). And if you’re like most mompreneurs, you’re constantly striving to develop better time management skills. I’m a huge fan of anything that helps with organization and productivity. I am addicted to the lists, apps, schedules, timers and all sorts of tools I use to manage my time. From Franklin Covey to Evernote, I’ve always embraced time management.
But what I’ve come to realize is that none of these tools can help me do what I REALLY want to do – which is to enjoy this season of my life. The tools can’t help me smile through the clutter in my garage…or laugh at the little disasters like spilling a bag of Rice Krispies all over the floor when we’re already late for church…or find peace amidst chaos that is my life. They can’t show me how to treasure the teachable moments even though I dread them…and hug my children a few minutes longer, just because they still let me. They won’t help me freeze this memory in my mind long enough to appreciate the beautiful bedlam. The time management tools simply help me make better choices about how I spend my 24 hours each day.
The real gift is not time management, but rather time appreciation. I’ve decided that my new favorite tool will be the ability to embrace the chaos. I’m going to accept that there is no way humanly possible to accomplish all that I set out to do each day. So I will no longer measure my success by the number of items crossed off my To Do list. Instead, I’ll examine the condition of my spirit. I’ll consider it a successful day when I wear joy on my face, share love and laughter with those around me, and go to sleep at night with peace in my heart.
Joy…love…laughter…peace. That sounds like a wonderful way to manage my time.
Are you with me? Let me know if you’re prepared to join me on my journey to embrace the chaos in everyday life! We can hold each other accountable.
*This article was originally written/published by the author under the title “Embrace the Chaos: The Best Time Management Tip for Mom Entrepreneurs.”