I’ve been feeling a little guilty lately. My youngest daughter just started Kindergarten last month and I haven’t been able to enjoy this time as much as I’ve wanted to.
When my first child started Kindy four years ago, I also had a 2 year old at home but my life wasn’t as hectic. I now have a 8, 6 and 4 year old, and I work from home. With my youngest at Kindy (five half-days a week), I spend a lot of time just driving in the car. In the short 3 hours that Amelia is at Kindy, I have just enough time to do housework, run errands, and do some writing. This busyness has led to me picking up my daughter late, or barely on time. I’ve been losing out on time with the other parents.
But today, I was determined for things to be different. I made a small change that made a big difference to my day.
Enjoy life, don’t just rush through it
Every day, I have several alarms ready to go off. One to wake me up for the school runs, another to pick up my youngest from Kindy, and another to pick up my other two daughters from their different schools. Having these alarms set means that I stay organised and don’t lose track of time.
However, I always find that I never stick to the time I plan to get ready. I might be in the middle of some housework, an errand, or a piece of writing. So I’ll want to finish off whatever it is that I’m doing. Unfortunately, I end up frantically rushing to pick up my kids.
I’ve discovered that although I’m getting jobs done, I’m losing out on living life. I’ve become so accustomed to living by the clock.
I’ve been missing out on having time with the other parents at Kindy, because time spent completing tasks has become more important to me.
So, today, I made a change.
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I intentionally left earlier than usual. I didn’t finish what I was doing and I just left home when the time came.
I had the chance to chat a bit longer with the other parents, to laugh, to share a little about our personal lives.
What did I learn? That sometimes you just need to slow down. That sometimes you don’t need to fill up every moment in time with a task. That you can make the choice to complete it later. Sometimes you just need a moment of doing absolutely nothing. Also, that if you want to build a stronger connection with another person, you need to make that extra effort.
I also learnt that if you’re used to living life a certain way, that change is still possible.
That you need to just start small.
Five years ago, when my second daughter was only 9 months old, I’d just gotten over a horrible case of gastroenteritis. It was at a time when I didn’t have very healthy eating habits nor did I exercise. So, I promised myself that things would change. I changed what I ate and I became more active.
In the end, I lost over 20kg (44 pounds). I didn’t go on any diets. I just made gradual changes. I was more conscious of how I was looking after my body. I didn’t intentionally try to lose weight. I simply made an active decision to change my lifestyle and the weight just came off as a result.
I believe that when we’re trying to achieve a goal, we can become so focused on the end result that we forget to enjoy the journey. That we forget to recognise how important these small changes are. That we forget to pat ourselves on the back for coming so far.
Whether you’re trying to become a ‘healthier’ you, become less busy, or wanting to pay more attention to your family or friends – all these goals are possible. Anything that a person is determined to achieve and is willing to work hard for – is possible.
But you need to realise that you’re doing a great job just by making those small changes. That you’re heading in the right direction and that’s what matters.
Putting in the continuous effort
It’s easy for me to say that I’ll continue to devote more time to being ‘in the moment’, but the words would be meaningless if I didn’t follow through.
So, I’ll try my best, from this day forward, to pay less attention to the clock. To think of the present as my life.
I’m going to worry more about now. I’m going to focus on the husband who loves and adores me. The children who make me so proud to be a mother. The friends who are so incredibly supportive of me and my dreams. The people who I may not know very well yet, but who could play very significant roles in my life – if only I give them the chance.
In the end, it won’t matter the reasons why you’ve worked hard. All that will matter is whether it’s been worth it. Whether the sacrifices you’ve made have been worth the time you’ve sacrificed.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals and aiming high, but you need to remember to enjoy life along the way.