How do you make the most of your moments with children? It takes a unique blend of intent, time-management, and another very special ingredient! These steps to treasuring time are an important part of being a mother, because those years go by so fast.
Jenny spoke to Scottie Haas on Hobart’s ultra106five about 3 Steps to Treasuring Time – listen below (7 minutes), or read on!
Woosh! Time seems to fly when you look back
It hardly seems any time since your little bundle of crumpled flesh arrived. Even with odd fluids escaping from just about every orifice, you and your baby received admiring goos and gahs from, well, from everyone! Those times were very special. It’s good to ponder and remember, both the good and the bad.
However, looking forward is very different, and is the stuff of dreams and imaginings, as I wrote recently. Dreaming forward is, of course, looking into the future. From here it looks distant, and a long way off. For example, try to imagine life in 10 years’ time. What will you look like then? How will your children have grown up? Everything will be different, even if many things stay the same. It’s all unknown. And yet how you think about the future, shapes who you become.
Dr Cameron Harra wrote: “Think of cooking a meal. Before you even begin, you have an understanding of your final result. You know what you’re making, what ingredients to add, in what order, and the cooking time. If you were to cook without knowing these steps, you would end up with anything but a good meal. Similarly, if you try to create the life you want without knowing what steps to take, you’ll live constantly short of your dreams.”
More than that, who you become has everything to do with what happens to you right now.
Life is more about the journey than the destination, right?
Looking at life in the past, and life in the future, are the realm of memory, or imagination. They are not concrete events happening right now, in front of you. Current happenings are the realm of the present. And these are the moments with children that zoom by. This is where it is important to consciously treasure your time, because before you know it, life has moved on.
As John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
So how do you make sure you have great moments to treasure as your children grow? And beyond into adulthood?
Here are three steps to treasuring time . . .
. . . to help you make special moments with your children.
1. Being Intentional
Don’t be like one mother-of-adults who told me, “Parenting my kids? I didn’t really even think about it!” Sadly, she has tricky relationships with all her grown children, and for the most part, they are not in good places. This may have happened anyway, but because she wasn’t intentional in the way she brought her kids up, she feels like she missed an opportunity. Children are only young once!
So being an intentional parent is key. Beyond good parenting techniques, intentionality has to do with being honest with yourself, reflecting on your own upbringing, and being objective enough to notice your own parenting pitfalls and triumphs.
Being aware of steps to treasuring time takes on another meaning as an intentional parent – it’s about “being present” in the moment. It’s about doing so much more than just being there. Instead, it’s all about choosing to engage with your children. It’s another one of those areas where your choices are so important, like choosing to forgive someone.
In this area of treasuring time, there is a choice to have fun together, to cry together, and work together. Perhaps even enjoying a movie together. Choosing to be present means putting down your phone, your newspaper, your book, your game or leaving your computer. It means making eye contact and having a conversation – from serious, to silly, to scientific, to spiritual.
It’s undeniable: your children learn about all aspects of life from YOU. So make those moments count. Treasuring time involves all those aspects of being intentional, and probably more. If you think of any others, tell me about them in the Comments, below.
It’s undeniable: your children learn about all aspects of life from YOU.
The next in steps to treasuring time is time-management. It’s not the purpose of this blog to give you clues and pointers for time-managing your family. I’ve found lots of articles about time-management on the internet, and you can too. They are all about, “Do this!” And “Do that!” And “Get this organised!” For those sorts of lists you can check parents.com; or workingmother.com.
However, rather than tell you to “Do this” and “Do that”, I want to stress the importance of your key decisions in making your time count. Which includes time-management. Along with being intentional, strategic, compassionate, loving and a whole lot more. As well, good time-management requires long-term commitment, and loving cooperation. And it all relies on you, because you are always role-modelling to your little pack!
So, I’ve found that being successful at time-management has a lot to do with your own inner resolve. About understanding what makes you tick. Reflecting on what your own family did when you were little, and the things you unconsciously absorbed. It’s being objective enough to ponder on the good, and the bad, and coming to some conclusions. This is where journal writing comes in. It’s amazing the amount of problem-solving I do in my journal. Find out more about journal writing here.
3. The Mystery Ingredient! Spontaneity
Do you want your family to have more fun? To feel like there are exciting things going on? That if they aren’t there, they might miss something? This is the power of spontaneity.
Unexpectedly, to be spontaneous it really helps to be organised. I really don’t get how this happens. I just know this universal truth: the more organised you are, the easier it is to be spontaneous.
I just know this universal truth: the more organized you are, the easier it is to be spontaneous.
Treasuring time means making good memories with your family. To do this you have to be intentional about what you are doing as a parent. It means time-managing so you know the spaces in your schedule. And once those two are in place, you can be gloriously spontaneous!
- Perhaps you have a few hours to spare, so why not go for a swim at the local pool?
- If the right food is in the cupboard for a picnic, then one sunny afternoon you can gather up everyone and go do it!
- Or while teen daughter is out at youth group, you might do an unplanned screening of a toddler movie for the pre-schoolers at home, complete with movie food and drinks.
When you start to think about it there are many spontaneous activities you can do. You could even brainstorm as a family all the things you *might* do on a whim, and pull the ideas out at unexpected moments. These are times to be remembered and treasured as a family, for years to come.
My steps to treasuring time are: intention, time-management, and spontaneity.
Yeah. You’ve got this. Treasuring time. You can do it.
Let me know how you treasure time in the Comments, below. 😉