6 Hours a Week

Locke turned 3 last week which means that he has to transition from his current speech therapy to our local school district’s services.  I took him into our district to  be evaluated for placement and a little to my surprise, they were worried about more than just his speech.  So they did a whole battery of tests on him, and long story short,  Locke qualified for the special needs preschool in our district.

I was worried because my child was even more delayed than I thought.   I felt a bit of pride (the bad kind) that a short little bus might be coming to our house to pick him up.  And since I wasn’t planning on sending him to school at all this year, I was a little sad that are time together would be cut short.

But amongst all the negative emotions, I did manage to find a bright spot.  I would have 6 unexpected FREE hours each week with no kids at my house! That has not happened in over 10 years.

Frankly, I am not quite sure what to do with myself.  I am almost hyperventilating with the prospect of 6 hours a week alone.

Do I volunteer at the elementary school or do I take a nap?

Do I hit Costco and Wal-Mart with no kids or do I enjoy the quiet of my home and write a few blog posts?

Do I spend the afternoon food prepping so that the rest of the week goes smoother or do I go to lunch with my hubby?

Do I pick up some part-time work or do I go to the gym?

Do I go-go-go to get on top of household tasks or do I rest to conserve energy for when the kids come home?

I am so grateful to have these choices and I have spent the last week thinking about my options.  I’ve been asking myself, “What is the BEST way to spend my time?”

In “Good, Better, Best”, Dallin H. Oaks says, “We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them.”

Every option I mentioned above is good so good cannot be my barometer.  I want to figure out what is best for me and my family.  And what is best for one family might only be good for another.  That is why I can’t look at what my neighbors do, what my friends do, or even what my mom did when I was a kid.  This is a personal choice based on individual circumstances.

There is more awesome advice in “Mothers Who Know” by Julie Beck.  She says, “These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.

I know I have limited energy and strength.   So I want to be careful about how I spend that energy. And 6 freed up hours a week is an easy trap to do too much, get too tired, and to over commit, if I’m not careful.

I still have no idea what my schedule will be.   I don’t know what is “best” or “what matters most”. I have not had any epiphanies yet. But at least I am not a robot filling my time with perceived obligations  just because I can now or because I feel pressure to.  Rather I am thoughtful and intentional and purposeful about how I schedule my time.   I understand that I have choice.  And I think this awareness is at least half the battle.


4 thoughts on “6 Hours a Week”

  1. Are you like … 80 … or something? You are so wise. At 46, I’ve read and listened to your sources, but still have trouble putting it all into practice. Seems like I go about my day greasing squeaky wheels. Thanks for the renewed push to spend those free moments doing the BEST things!

  2. 1. Locke is the cutest thing ever and I hope he can get that extra help he needs.

    2.I LOVE both of those talks. As a new mom sometimes I get down being home all day but then talks like that remind me of how wonderful motherhood is and how lucky I am to be able to stay home at this time.

    3. And…not saying this is BEST…but just saying that you need to keep writing blog posts and start getting paid for it because you do it so naturally!

    1. 1. Thank you for your kind words.

      2. I miss working with you. Let me know if you change your mind and want to do freebies again.

      3. I struggled with motherhood with only one kid. I was kind of bored. It was hard to go from managing a class of 30+ kids to 1 that slept a lot. I ended up going back to work for one year, but then realized I really needed to be home. So that is when I started Letter of the Week. I had to do something to keep me engaged too. I would suggest some play dates or play groups with other moms to fight off those down days or scheduled days (like Monday go to the park, Tuesday go to the store, Wed visit grandma, etc.) so you have something to look forward to each day.

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