Re-Evaluating My Time

It’s been a really rough 12 months.  Some things in my life really came to a head in the past year on top of the major exhaustion of having five kids, including a newborn.  I feel like I’ve just been hanging on by the skin of my teeth, just trying to survive each day.  I’ve been in private counseling since last May, and it’s probably the only thing that has kept me sane.

A lot of my problems have stemmed from not having good boundaries.  Over the years I developed a bit of a martyr complex, thinking I had to sacrifice my health and well-being (physical, mental, and emotional) in order to take care of everyone else in my family first.  With the help of my counselor and some good books, I have been re-evaluating my life and making some changes to get myself back on track.

The book I read most recently is The Rhythm of Life by Catholic motivational speaker Matthew Kelly.  I have pages of notes and great quotes, but the book has led me down a lot of other rabbit trails.  One of these thought trails had me looking at my daily schedule as if I did everything I should do to take care of my needs (physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual) and the basic work I need to do to care for my family.  I estimated the maximum amount of time it should take me to do each of these things on a daily basis, or in the case of chores the minimum amount that needs to be done.

  • Exercise:  45 minutes (includes changing clothes)
  • School:  2 hours
  • Shower/Brush Teeth/Dressed:  30 minutes
  • Lunch Break:  1 hour (includes recreation time)
  • Read 1 Book to Little Kids:  15 minutes
  • Fix Family Dinner:  30 minutes
  • Eat Dinner:  30 minutes
  • Eat Breakfast:  15 minutes
  • Afternoon Snack:  15 minutes
  • Bedtime “Meal”:  30 minutes
  • Feeding the Baby:  3 hours (nursing/solids)
  • Preparing Snacks/Meals for Kids:  1 hour
  • Sacred Hour (Quiet time recommended by Matthew Kelly):  1 hour
  • Chores:  2 hours

If you total this up it equals 13.5 hours.  Of this time, 4 hours and 45 minutes equals self-care.  I classify the other 8 hours and 45 minutes as my “work” as a full-time homemaker, mother, and homeschooling teacher.  Ideally this leaves about 10.5 hours to sleep (I wish) and recreate.  Of course, there are a lot of little things that aren’t mentioned on this list but can really add up:  dressing kids, changing diapers/bathroom assists, cleaning up spills and messes, and handling other disasters.

Some of these are the maximum time.  For instance, school time doesn’t always take 2 hours, especially on days when we don’t have school at all.  I have started jogging 3 days each week which normally takes the full 45 minutes, but on other days I just do the Wii Fit for about 20 minutes without having to do a special change of clothes.  (But I am also hoping to take some exercise classes through our parks district which will take longer than an hour, including travel time.)

Matthew Kelly recommends taking a Sacred Hour of quiet meditation and prayer each day (very reminiscent of the hour of Eucharist Adoration that the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen insisted on every single day no matter how busy his schedule).  Considering that taking a shower is problematic given the amount of supervision my young children require on a daily basis, the chances of me getting an entire hour of silence, especially alone, on a daily basis is very unrealistic at this season of my life.  But I may try to find a few 15 minute segments here and there.

Overall, it’s been an excellent exercise for assessing where my time does go and should go and if I am capable of striking a good balance between upholding my responsibilities and taking care of myself.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Books, Family Life, Parenting

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