I am beyond grateful for the first day of our school year.
I was slightly anxious about teachers, and classes, and friends in classes.
But put my hope and my trust in the One that is bigger than me and my fears; who knows my children and what they need even more than I do.
Turns out my tiny fears were silly (isn't all fear?).
Their teachers are more than lovely, they have plenty of familiar faces in their classroom, and each came out bursting with exciting things to report about their new year.
And our day was made easier as I prepared the night before.
I looked back on today wondering why it wasn't hectic, or stressful or crazy.
I managed to do what I needed to do around home, spend time with a friend, play with the kiddos outside and even go for a run before the sun set.
I know it is unrealistic to imagine that every day could look like this one, but it made me think about time, and what I want from it and how I can use it better.
I know I am the heartbeat of our home. I set the mood and the tone and when I am organised I am pleasant and slow-moving. Not slow as in sluggard, but slow as in perceptive, and deliberate.
Enough to spend time doing her hair just the way she likes it, instead of responding sharply and not allowing her any choice.
Slow enough to converse, and make eye-contact over breakfast, or afternoon tea when their words about their days spill freely and I can admire their dark eyes and smile at their stories. But how do we slow down without losing the ability to check off the list, and tidy our homes? Stopping isn't an option, and our work is our worship.
And I believe there are so many things we can do to be efficient in what we do, so that we have time to love others with our time, as well as our deeds.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but I have found these are practical things that work for me (as a mum of small school people):
• making sandwiches on a Sunday afternoon and freezing them for the week's lunches
• preparing lunch boxes the night before, or whenever it is you do your dinner prep. That way there is only one mess to clean, and one lot of dishes to do, and sometimes those things you need for lunches are already out anyway - ta da!
• have afternoon tea prepared before the small people arrive home. This way you can sit and enjoy it with them. I find it's the time mine are the most open - they're remembering and downloading their day to you… a habit I pray they continue till well into their teens and young adulthood!
• MEAL PLAN! If I have a dinner meal plan, I avoid time-wasting trips to and from the supermarket! I try to do a weekly plan and shop weekly too.
I asked a handful of friends what their advice would be, to save time, focus on the important.
One amazing piece of wisdom was 'Don't start your day without finishing it first' - get whatever you can done the day/night before so mornings are stress-free! Use a calendar. Get up before the rest of the family (Proverbs 31:15), get a good night's sleep, let the unimportant things wait because they will wait, prep dinner during the day so afternoons and evenings can be spent with those precious kiddos, turn off the TV.*
It made me think of Mary and Martha.**
What Martha was doing was good and they were things that had to be done.
But what Mary chose was better. She sat at the feet of Jesus.
She was investing time into her spiritual life, she was building a relationship or having tea with a friend, or playing with her toddler, or dancing with her sister.
We can spend so much time doing that we miss out on what is ultimately better in our life.
I guarantee if you are reading this, you are more than likely a mother, maybe a wife.
You are pretty amazing. You are the heartbeat of your home. You are the wheels. The time-keeper, peace-maker, forehead-kisser. You put their needs before your own. You spend time planning and remembering and knowing and feeling.
You are the one who finds lost things.
The one who keeps going, working, even on weekends, even late at night.
You are the one who, even at the end of a long day will turn her attention to her husband.
You are amazing.
And I hope as you have read this far, that you'll see things in your world you can do more efficiently, so time is saved for the better things.
* Thank you Linda, Kristy, Jenelle, Kama, Carli and Kelly. You guys are amazing, I'm blessed to have you in my world to make me a better mum and wife and friend xxx
** Luke 10:38-42