Here we are with a year in front of us and plans and dreams for it. I have a whole lot of goals. Some are small and some are big like painting the house.
But if we are not careful things chip away at our time and we wonder what ever happened to it!
There are always so many things to distract us and people who have suggestions for how we should spend our precious time. There are people who would love you to give all your spare time to them as well. Yep, there are always many helpful suggestions on what to do with your time and energy.
Whether you work full time, part time or at home it still amounts to time management and there are limits to what we can actually do.
I was very lucky that once I had children I knew what my mission was. That helped me enormously and I attribute that to my upbringing, Laines Letters, a ladies fellowship I attended and scripture. I had no doubt raising my children was my number one job. Also I was a single Mum. I couldn't muck around I had to get it right or try to.
But even knowing all that I remember how much pressure there was to do all kinds of things I couldn't really manage.
I ran a routine and that's how I got everything done. (most of the time!) I seriously wondered how to fit much more in?! I even wondered why I was expected to?
I am pretty sure there was writing on my forehead that said "ask me to help out I have nothing to do!"
When Chloe started Kindy (pre school?) I noticed a big leap in requests for time on committees, charities, working bees, fund raisers and so on. It interested me that many were at night. To go out at night I would have to hire a baby sitter. It seemed counter productive to me to pay for a baby sitter while out fund raising or attending meetings. And I didn't. I said yes to some things but many no's.
If we say yes to everything and everyone we end up not living our life at all. We can't get our own work done, we have no hope of completing our own mission. Dad used to say to me that the best thing I could do for society was bring up the girls well. That took a lot of pressure off.
This isn't to say there are not times we need to drop everything and help someone. That's not what I mean. I mean all the unimportant things (in the greater scheme of things) that we can end up doing and basically wondering why!
I have worked out that there is a season for everything and we can't do everything in one season!
Living in the season we are in and knowing our mission really helps to prioritise. Knowing this it helps to easily decide what to say yes to and what to say no to.
As well as demands on your time you get many demands on you money. Oh, yes people love telling you what to do with your money!
Just the same... if you do not know what your mission is there is plenty of ways to part with your money! This includes charity. We need to think about what to support and how and not be coerced into signing up for some automatic debit scheme that basically pays a commission to the person who signed you up and a Limo to the CEO. Many of them are cons and not a charity at all. We have a right to choose! I say this as I keep seeing very aggressive tactics.
To avoid all these pressures we need really good and clear set missions and goals.
Then you kind of see some of what is coming at you as sabotage. It is really easy to be derailed from your good plan and intentions or persuaded away from them.
In the army this is called deserting your post. They used to shoot you for that!
I have made millions of mistakes but at least basically I felt determined about my role and I am actually quite stubborn. lol I became a single Mum before Lucy was born. After she was came along I had a 22 month old and a new born. My Dad helped me get a little cottage in a country town near the sea. This was a dream come true for me. This was a life changer.
I was sworn off men at that point! I decided I would 100% focus on bringing up the girls and doing a good job and that I would not date until they were grown up. I was quite sure about it.
Plenty of people had a lot to say about that! It's not that I went around declaring it but if someone asked why I didn't go out I would tell them.
I was told I was wasting my life.
I would regret it and be lonely.
And a hundred other dire regrettable consequences.
But anyway I stuck to it for sixteen years.
(I am not saying anyone else should do this. It is just what I decided to do.)
On top of that I was constantly told I needed a career as I was wasting my life.
I should start a shop (this one was constant)
I was very lucky that I could stay home as that was what I wanted to do and it fit my mission. I also cooked for a cafe, sold sewing and vintage things I found in my op shopping. Other than that I gardened, cooked from scratch and all the things I do now.
But still I was "wasting my life" according to critics.
Lucky I knew what my mission was!
You know what? I loved every minute. The girls now talk about their fairy tale childhood. That is what they say about it. At Lucy's wedding Dad spoke of me as like a Mother Hen protecting my children. I was so proud he said that!
This is Lucy dressed in one of her best outfits. Fairy wings I made her and an old nightie. Sparky shoes and for some reason a shower cap. Also her dog Rachel. Oh, and glittery shoes!
The photos are all the girls when they were little.
I didn't miss out on anything! And love waited for me in those years and found me after ward!
While I made many mistakes knowing my mission really helped me. I knew without a man in the house that God was the man of the house and that my Dad was the girls role model. And they adored him now as they did as children.
If you decide your mission it will be so much easier to see distractions, sabotage, cons, tricks and time wasters. They come in many forms! The devil comes a calling!
You might have a friend who tires to de rail you from your savings. Or take time away from your family and work. Or a salesman might pressure you to sign up for this or that. Or you might be pressured to take on a committee when you know it is going to be really hard and at night when you are busy helping children with homework or cooking dinner...
When you know your mission it is easier to say no. You need to know which is more important.
I have heard young Mums say they are looking for their mission. I think that is like the acres of diamonds story where all along they were standing on riches they didn't recognise. We need to accept the mission we have been given first rather than pick out another one we think we might like better.
Saying all this I STILL had trouble saying no even when I knew I needed to. One thing helped me very much, what ever I was asked to do (I still do this now) I said "thank you for asking me, I need to look in my diary and see if I can manage it" and I will reply shortly. This one thing stopped me from saying a yes that I then had to figure out how to get out of or regretted terribly!
The follow up then would be to decline in a nice way (usually decline anyway) and say what I am able to do to help. One I can think of is I declined running a stall at the school but I donated a box of jams and produce.
In some instances we do need to be able to say a flat out no. In our shopping centre I notice high pressure sales people and some people are cornered by them. They are trying to get them to sign up automatic debit donations. We need to be able to say no. If someone threatening comes to the door and asks to be let in you cannot be so polite that you just open the door! You have to say no. We need to be able to. It doesn't have to be rude. If you need to practise then do. No can save your life.
Some things can be avoided. The salesman on the phone at dinner time... you know the ones with a script? If you ask a question they keep reading the script... they know the longer you listen the higher the chance they will be successful. I just never answer a phone number I don't know! Problem solved! A lot of time saved too. We need to protect our dinner time and family time.
Every year, at every age and in every season of life we need to figure out what does and what doesn't help us and deserve our time and resources. I find a re think now and then is a good thing. Weigh things up. Don't be tricked out of your mission or your gaols and dreams.
My guiding motto is that our role as homemakers and Mothers is priceless above rubies. So being told I was wasting my life did not derail me. I saw it as a lie and not to fall for it.
If you are working in or out of the home it makes no difference. The reason we are doing what we are doing is for our family, to pay the bills, to feed everyone... to achieve our goals. Set your mission and don't let anyone take over your time and resources unless you want them to. Bringing in an income, running the home, looking after everyone is hard work and a long day.
There are worthy things to do for sure but in the main our time is sucked away so easily that we have to be quite protective of it. We need to be. We need to be on guard that we are not dragged away from what we need to be doing.
One of my favourite quotes from Mother Teresa is
"If you want to bring happiness to the whole world
Go home and love your family"
We have talked a lot about being watchful. Usually we are talking in the wider world. But we need to be watchful in our closer world that our goals are not sent into the ditch by those around us! Good friends help us achieve our goals too. Having a savings buddy is a big help.
I hope this is a great year of building up our homes and families, saving money and achieving all kinds of things that will be helpful to us all.
Set your goals and lets work together. Don't listen if someone tries to put you down or drag you off course. Be ever watchful and guard your time as it is such an important and limited resource. The season you are in is also really precious. It will not last as long as you think! So make the most of everything! xxx