You choose a spouse because you want to spend the rest of your life with him. You decide to have children because you want to raise tiny humans into respectable adults. Your hope is to watch them grow and flourish and do amazing things. You desire a family so you can do life together.
Sometimes as a working mom, it can feel like doing life together simply means surviving. We rush around between all of our activities and responsibilities hoping that we can just keep all the balls in the air. And the moment we actually get a chance to catch our breath we wonder where the time has gone and how we’ve survived. We wish there was more time. We wish we could do more and be there more for our kids. But life just gets so busy.
Life doesn’t have to feel like we’re drowning. If we want to live out our decision to have a family so that we can do life together, then we actually have to be intentional about doing life with the people who mean so much to us. We have to stop rushing around and actually spend good, quality time enjoying life with our kids and husband.
It can be hard to make this happen with two parents working full-time jobs and everyone involved in a variety of activities at school, sports, and church. It seems as if we are all running in a million different directions, and all of those directions are away from each other. We have to make the hard decisions necessary to truly make our family a priority in our life. We can’t just say they are a priority, we have to intentionally make them a priority. Here are just a few tips on how to make your family your priority
If your family is your priority, that means that other things are not. And all of those other things get demoted in attention and time, for everyone. You cannot claim to prioritize your family if your time and focus is used up by everything else going on in your life.
This will look differently for everyone. Maybe you need to say no to the extra volunteer opportunities you pursue. Maybe you need to have a conversation with your boss about the expectations and hours of your job and what is acceptable for your family situation. Maybe you just need to find a new job. It might look like cutting down the number of extracurricular activities the children are involved in. Or maybe you just need to make some family rules and expectations about when and how you spend time together.
Only you and your family can decide what boundaries need to be implemented. Have an open and honest conversation with your kids and husband about what is working and what isn’t. Decide together what changes need to be made and how you will implement them. Time will never just simply appear for you, you will have to create the boundaries and set the rules necessary to make sure that the least important things in life do not override your most valuable priorities.
Make Meals Together a Priority
If you can’t have a made-from-scratch meal at the table together for each and every meal don’t feel like all hope is lost. It is not the food, the time of day, or even the location that matters. What matters is the time you spend together and the quality of that time.
My husband works third shift, so meal times are a huge challenge for us. If we are all home at dinner time, he is usually just waking up, and he’s not too keen on eating dinner food for breakfast each night. However, we have realized that it’s not the eating that is important, but the time together. Now, he makes it a priority to join the family at the table, even if he’s not actually eating. It’s the time together as a family that he wants to enjoy.
I’ve also built in extra time in our morning routine to have a quality breakfast time with my kids. I have a devotional book that I read with them and we start our morning off with good conversations, laughs, and prayers. It is such an amazing way to start our day on the right foot.
You’ll need to do some trial and error to find out what mealtimes work for your family and how to do them well. At dinner time we often use conversation starters to get the kids to open up about their day. We have a mini version of this game that provides some great questions to get everyone thinking and opening up.
Find time several times each week, even if it can’t be every day to sit down as a family and share a meal, a conversation, and some laughs. You will be amazed at what this short amount of time can do to help you feel connected to each other.
Get Help When You Can
You know what’s not a priority in my life? Cleaning my house and going shopping at stores. We all have a lot of responsibilities in our lives but we do not personally need to do everything. Don’t be afraid to get the help you need to manage all the details of your life.
You could hire someone to clean your house (it might not be as expensive as you think). If your local grocery store offers online ordering and curbside pickup, consider trying it out. Our store charges $4.99 for this service and it is life-changing. I save so much time and money by doing our grocery shopping online and picking it up after I get the kids from school in the evenings. You might also consider hiring someone to do your lawn and garden care or maybe you have someone help with the laundry or dishes on occasion.
Sure, these suggestions might require you to spend more money and I wouldn’t recommend them if your budget can’t handle it. However, if you have the wiggle room or can find the wiggle room in your finances, I would highly recommend considering your options. In my family life, we have decided that our time is far more valuable than our money. We do try to save money where we can and be good stewards of the financial gifts that God has blessed us with, but we also recognize that money is a tool that can be used for good.
When I hire a housecleaner I not only provide an additional source of income for two amazing women, but I also free up hours of my time so that I can write on this blog and help bless other women. When I shop online and pay the store an extra five bucks, I’m able to spend my weekends playing with my kids instead of dragging them around a boring grocery store all morning.
Decide to make your family your priority.
The first step in implementing any of these tips is simply to decide that your family is your priority, over and above other things. Write down your priorities in order so you have a visual cue to help you remember what matters most. Then begin taking an honest look at your life to decide what things need to be demoted and what things need more focus and attention. You can’t just float through life and hope that everything works out for the best. You have to intentionally decide the life you want to live and make purposeful decisions to move in that direction.
Today’s Action Step
Consider the three tips for making your family your priority, Creating Boundaries, Making Meals Together a Priority, and Getting Help When You Can. Decide which area your family needs the most help and begin to make a plan today to start making changes right away.
*Photos of my family are courtesy of Angie Medors Photography.