Thursday, July 10, 2014

on the wise use of time

One day I woke up early, just as the first bright rays of sunlight were making their way through my bedroom window. I woke Mike beside me and we left the house for an early morning run. As we ran together, we discussed our plans for the day. We talked about each of our children, and some of the problems that they might be facing. Mike shared some concerns he had about work. We talked about solutions. It felt good to be up and moving.

When we got home, I stretched my legs and read my scriptures. I had several minutes of quiet study by myself before Elliot stumbled into our room, hungry for breakfast. I gave him a big hug and we went to the kitchen together to make waffles. As we were cooking, my other children woke up, each coming upstairs to the kitchen with puffy eyes and messy hair. I welcomed them with a kind voice and we ate a nice breakfast together as a family before Mike headed off to work.

The rest of the day flowed well. I was able to complete my household chores and even a few sewing projects while my children played together peacefully. I set up visiting teaching appointments and answered Relief Society emails. While I was working, I felt the spirit prompt me and I knew I had received an answer to a prayer.

At the end of the day, I tucked each child into bed with a hug and a kiss and I told them that I loved them. I didn't feel hurried or impatient, even when Stella was slow to come for family prayer. Our house ended the day as quietly as it had begun.

It was a good day.

But. . . on a different day, I woke up to Elliot poking my side, looking for breakfast. I had stayed up too late watching a movie the night before, and now I was paying the price. I rolled out of bed and shuffled into the kitchen without a word to my little Elliot. I hurriedly poured him some cereal and then I left him sitting at the table alone to eat, while I crashed back into bed. As the other kids came upstairs, I ignored the disappointment on their faces when I announced that it was cold cereal for breakfast.

Mike left for work without a kiss goodbye.

It seemed that no matter how much cleaning I did that day, the house was still a disaster. Beds were unmade, legos were strewn across the family room floor. My frustration was rising by the minute. There was no way I was going to finish my seemingly endless to-do list. I was grumpy.

And so I escaped to my phone. I checked Instagram for the hundredth time. I let myself be distracted by Facebook status updates and new blog posts. When my children needed me, I answered their questions without even taking my eyes off of the screen.

It was a very, very bad day.

Have you ever had days like these? I taught Relief Society this past Sunday on the wise use of time and on avoiding distractions. I used these slightly exaggerated accounts of some of my best and worst days as a mother to illustrate the difference that poor time management and prioritization can have in our lives.

We discussed this article, entitled "A Time to Prepare". It is wonderful to read, if you have a few minutes. One of my favorite quotes: "With the demands made of us, we must learn to prioritize our choices to match our goals or risk being exposed to the winds of procrastination and being blown from one time-wasting activity to another." Oh man, does that ever happen to you? It does to me, for sure. Elder Ardern, the author of the article, talks about finding those things that are distracting us from using our time most wisely, and eliminating them from our lives. He said, "I urge each of us to take those things which rob us of precious time and determine to be their master, rather than allowing them through their addictive nature to be the master of us." I had been having a hard time managing the time I spent on my phone, as you know. Finally, rather than trying to check things like Facebook and Pinterest "less", I just deleted them from my phone completely. And oh, the freedom! I felt so light, so good. It is all so silly, and I don't miss them one bit. The best part is that I find myself spending so much less time on my phone, and more time doing the important work of mothering instead.

I still have a ways to go, but I know that when I prayerfully approach each new day, seeking guidance on how to best spend my time, I am much more likely to relive a day like that first one up above. It is my choice. And I choose good days from here on out.


  1. Oh, this is such a wonderful post. So full of truth. I've been contemplating the same things lately. I want to savor those moments with my littles instead of feeling rushed or irritated because I've been staring at a screen. Thanks for the reminder! (And now I am closing the computer so I can still get something done during nap time!)

  2. well said. much appreciated.

  3. I love your honesty. I have had both of those kind of days, and while the first day is better in the end, it does take a lot of self discipline to get up before the children. However, I am SUCH a better mommy when I've had some "me" time before they wake up!

  4. I laughed out loud at work while reading your bad and good days. mostly laughed at your bad one because of how true it is. I deleted facebook from my phone. eric still had it on his for work and will tell me if something is really important, like someone got hurt or moved. but i figured if they are people in my life, i should know that stuff right?! I still have insta and pinterest on my phone which i do pretty good with. I don't have a ton of people i follow on insta so that helps. anyways, good luck in your efforts to stay on track.

  5. I'm thankful that I got Facebook in my late, late 30's and that I'm not as addicted to it. It's a slippery slope, the internet, but as we get older, and our kids get older (especially when you're oldest is in her second year of college) it gets easier. Time becomes more important, and the things of the world become less important. We all have the choice to give equal time to the Lord, and our family. We are all guilty of technology today, but we can make that change if we really want it! Especially during the summer time...I try to blog three times a week, and pinterest is fun and all, but I've gotten better at pinning less. Instagram is the bomb, and manage my time on it as well. As long as you're doing what's right as a mother, and you're goals are in tact you'll succeed. We are so hard on ourselves when it comes to motherhood, and in being a good example to our kids, but I've learned throughout the years that I'll never be perfect. No mother is perfect. Take it easy, and remember that it's okay to stay up late. Then again...I'm a night owl!


  6. That's the story of my life. The good days come when I properly prioritize. Stressful days come when I don't. My kids are getting so good at working with me, today we are going to be deep cleaning and packing for camping for the weekend. When they know what to expect and we all work together it goes so much more smoothly.


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