Balance Amidst the Busy

As I sit at my desk in the kitchen, attempting to work, I watch through the window as our preschool-aged girls play in the backyard. In a gentle, rhythm-like cadence—almost hypnotizing—their dark little knees pump as they go higher and higher on their beloved swings. Abandoned only a moment later, the swings hang discarded, still swaying back and forth, awaiting another ride.

Onto the slide the girls climb, giggling sweetly together, as they often do … and then the little one, the two year old, smacks the older upside the head and the candy-coated moment is gone. Instantly replaced with fighting, crying, and screaming.

I sigh and roll my eyes. I save what I’d just typed on the mostly blank computer screen. Trying to not be annoyed as I wish I weren’t disrupted. AGAIN. And knowing my train of thought would dissolve in the morning sun as soon as I opened the screen door to both soothe and reprimand my little Ethiopian loves.

We have six kids, so rarely is there a quiet and serene moment. Rarely can I complete a task in one sitting. Sometimes, I don’t complete it at all. Long is my list of to-dos: meals to make and laundry to fold … blog posts to write.

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The question that constantly parades through my thoughts, how on earth can I do it all? Well, simply put … I can’t. And neither can you.

It doesn’t matter if you have six kids like I do, or simply one. Or maybe you don’t even have kids, but your commitments pull at you from all directions.

Here’s my advice to you. Give up.

Wait! Don’t quit reading! Just bear with me another minute.

My mom always says, “Major in the majors and minor in the minors.” Have you heard that before? The concept is simple: take the time for what’s important, the Major things. Spend time on that; do those well.

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The Minor matters and concerns constantly surround you, and yet life doesn’t fall apart if they’re not done. Sort of like Lysa Terkeurst’s book, The Best Yes. It’s a fantastic book, but we don’t need to read every page to understand what she’s getting at …

Step back. Prioritize. Spend your yesses wisely.

I can’t begin to tell you how many things I’ve said no to this week alone.

Good things, even Godly things, can become idols or distractions when we don’t set boundaries and distinctions.

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Our kids? We don’t get do-overs with them. We don’t get to push their heads down and make them tiny again. This is it. God first, husband second, kids third. We all know that, but what does it really mean?

GOD: Make sure you take time with God. Quiet, just-the-two-of-you time. It doesn’t matter when in the day it’s done … as long as it’s not when you’re falling asleep and not really spending it with Him. Before our kids all slept through the night, I used to do my devotions during naptime (more about quiet time and first-fruits here), but now I get up before the rest of the family. That’s what works for me.

HUSBAND: We tuck in the kids between 7:30 and 8 every evening so my husband and I can spend time together before we too close our eyes for the night. Even our older boys, ages 10 and 15, go to bed around eight o’clock and read or journal until their official lights-out. It’s so very important to spend time every evening just the two of you … catching up on the day as you clean the kitchen together or fold a quick pile of laundry. And then after, when the sink is clean … perhaps a glass of wine on the porch. Or watching a show as you cuddle up on the couch. Or reading books in bed, with your feet entwined. Something simple.

Love isn’t the colossal moments. It’s the small ones piled up that make it so monumental.

CHILDREN: Same with the kids. Saying “yes” to the Slip ‘n’ Slide in the rain before bed (which ours did the other night). Having a picnic dinner in the backyard. Piling books and water bottles and blankets into a wagon and finding the perfect spot at the park to read. Just saying “yes” a little more to the simple things.

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So no, we cannot do it all. We might as give up that fantasy now. But we can do the little things. Because they won’t remain little.

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Memories are big and last a lifetime.

And no matter how busy we are, we can make those moments every day.

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About the Author

Anderson 2Teresa Anderson

A wife to Ben, mother of six (2 biological & 4 from Ethiopia), Teresa‘s life is the opposite of what she’d planned. Never {ever} wanting kids, she realized in her early 20’s that she was living the plans she wanted for her life, rather than the perfect plans He had created her for. After praying and completely laying everything down at Christ’s feet, He soon placed a new dream upon her heart: Africa. Caring for the uncared for. Loving the unloved. Now, she lives in a {very!} busy household and blogs over at Hugs & Punches, striving to see the beauty and choosing to have inexpressible joy amongst all the craziness, loudness, silliness, and mess that is her life with a house full of beautiful kids.

  • http://thequeenblife.com/ Tiffany Bagalini

    I love the saying your Mom used . . .Major in the Majors and Minor in the Minors! I’ve never heard it before but it will be on repeat in my head. I too have started saying no to commitments, but only recently felt no guilt for saying no. I’m not sure if it is society or purely pressure us women put on ourselves, but we simply can’t do it all. We can do ANYTHING, but not EVERYTHING. Thanks Theresa, love your blog :-)