Monday, February 5, 2018

Can You Really Enjoy Leisure Activities When You Have Little Ones?

There has been one question that I have been asked by many people throughout the years and I thought I'd share it and my thoughts about it.

"How do you actually have the time to decorate your home with young kids at home?"

Sometimes the question is followed by a remark like, "I hardly have time to do anything leisurely with little ones at home so I'm not sure how you find the time" or "you must not be home much if you're house looks and stays this clean."

I remember the last time I heard this question and other comments of the like. Granted, it was a few months ago, but for some reason, it stung a bit. Why? Because I took offense to it and there was no need for me to have done so. I guess I thought that the person was saying I shouldn't have time to do other things I love because I have little ones at home. I'm learning, though, that these kinds of remarks don't necessarily mean harm. And honestly, it's helped that Joanna Gaines has come onto the scene (HGTV) being a mom of 4 little ones who loves to decorate all while owning a fee businesses of her own. ;)

And that is where I am at with all of this right now. We all are gifted in various things. God has allowed us to serve him using our gifts and that is a wonderful thing! So let me start off by sharing some examples of other moms who are gifted differently than I and use their gifts to serve others well.

For example, I know a few moms who work outside the home in jobs that require them to be away from their families 40 hours a week. Not only do they have small children, but they also manage their time well so they can work and spend quality time with their family. I'd guess that these ladies are gifted in time management (among other things), and they do it well.

There's another mom I know of that spends 45 minutes A DAY exercising (running and/or lifting weights). She's got 2 small kids, 3 years old and under. She runs a successful blog about her fitness regime as well and helps other moms stay fit and healthy.
Now, I can look at that mom and say, "How does she do it? I wish I could, but I know I can't. And besides, there's no way I could make time for that..." grumble, grumble...
But listen, I know better than to think like that. The truth is, I could make time for daily exercise, but it's just not a priority. She has chosen to dedicate time out of her day for it and she does it well.

A couple of other ladies I know absolutely love to cook and bake. A few moms I know can whip up some mean cupcakes that not only look like they were bought at some high end bakery, but they taste delicious too! These ladies bake multiple times a week for church events, neighborhood friends, and even birthday parties. Again, it would be easy to say, "psh...there's no way she has time for that while being a good mom who spends time with her kids. That's impossible." But again, it's not. They are just simply gifted to serve and be hospitable and I believe they do it well.

Some moms are great at keeping track of every milestone and memory their kids do/make and they even manage to scrapbook it all. There was a time I did that when I had just one child, but that's just not something I've made a ton of time for now that I have three kids. And again, that is fine. Why beat yourself up over what someone else is gifted at or how they choose to spend their time? 

I could share more examples, but you get the idea. And I'll even add that we all know no one is perfect. We all make mistakes, but that's why we have Jesus!

Okay, let's get back to the original question at the beginning of this post. Here is how I have been able to find time to do what I love all while being a mom who loves her family very much and yes, does spend quality time with them. This is what has helped along the way to allow me to be creative in our home.

#1. I usually decorate and write blog posts once my kids are in bed for the night.

This is usually the time where I can get some big projects done. Rather than lounging on the couch watching some TV (nothing wrong with that by the way), I'd rather spend that time creating things for my home or for other people. I probably do this 2 times a week at night and maybe spend an hour doing that. May not sound like a lot of time, but it.adds.up especially if you do that over the course of a couple of years!

#2. I have a handy hubby who likes to help.

This point pretty much speaks for itself. Just over the weekend, I wanted to move a dresser that we had down stairs to our son's bedroom upstairs. Our kids were playing in the play room together so I knew I had about 30 minutes to do something. After removing the drawers from the dresser, my husband helped me move the dresser up the stairs to the boy's room. Having a helping hand does get things moving quicker.

#3. I clean up/pick up things with my kids throughout the day when we stay home and play.

Now, this necessarily isn't a leisure activity, but if it's a struggle, I believe you can find a way to work through it and not make excuses.
I have a close friend who has told me she struggles with organizing. She claims there isn't a lot of time to do anything about it. But I don't believe that lie, nor should you. If you work on organizing even just a small pile of papers, for example, a few times a week, that's better than doing nothing about it at all, in my opinion. And trust me, that time does add up! It may take time and practice, but if you do it regularly enough, it almost becomes second nature.

#4. Do your kids watch TV??

Even just a little? I believe most kids we know watch a little bit of TV a few days out of the week. If your family doesn't, than I sincerely applaud you. And I mean for real. ;)
For us, our kiddos usually watch either early in the morning or after dinner. Sometimes, I am able to work on a project for a little bit while they are entertained by a movie. This isn't a common way for me to get things done around the house nowadays, but you can get something productive done in that time period if you choose to do so.

#5. Nap time or kid's quiet time

We are moving past this stage in life, but back when my kids were younger they took long naps. I remember when I had my first born and she would frequently take naps for 2 or 3 hours a day. It was glorious and allowed me to get things done. In fact, I painted our entire family room and entryway in that time period during one of her naps years ago. Other times, I chose to nap instead of doing a project. ;)

So again, you can definitely find the time to do things you enjoy. Maybe it just takes dedication or practice, but it can be done. You just got to get up and do it!

I will end with these last thoughts:
There might be some moms out there that don't mind the messy house...and I'm not here to judge on that. We are all gifted at different things and we can choose to glorify God with our different gifts. When we work hard using our gifts, we should thank God for being glorified through it all. I believe we should also pray for our gifts to be known so we can glorify Him and serve others well.

My family and I can be a bit of a mess, but how awesome to have a God who makes up for all that we lack! He promises beauty for our ashes and grace for today. How wonderful is that?

So the next time you hear a whisper in your ear saying, "you can't do it" or "you don't have time for something like that", don't believe the lie. And don't compare yourself to other moms. It's easy to do (and I've done it plenty), but God made us to each serve a purpose to glorify Him. No one person is perfect! Remember that.

And because it's Valentine's Day, here are a couple photos to share:

A before and after- kiddos admiring the candy from a "distance" and then eating a lot of it after dinner. ;)

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