The following is an excerpt from my interview with Amy Tol on my podcast, You’ve Got This.
When my four kids were little, my husband often came home from work and asked about my day. As a stay-at-home mom who also works as a freelance writer, I would occasionally blank out on how I filled my hours. I knew I hadn’t sat down all day long, but where had the time gone? What had I spent those precious seconds, minutes and hours doing?
“Sometimes with littles, the day just vanishes,” related Amy Tol, who blogs at morelikegrace.com, where she helps women connect with God’s grace amidst the noise of everyday life.
For many of us, busyness can become a status symbol, a way to prove our worth. “We glorify busyness I think in the American culture, acting like you need to have all these accomplishments behind your name for people to give you respect,” Tol said. “I know I have struggled with [thinking my busyness proves my worth], and it definitely contributed to busyness in my life.”
As mothers, we can also fall into the trap of thinking we’re “only taking care of the children” and thus not contributing enough to society in general. “I always dreaded [being asked what I did at my husband’s Christmas work party] because a lot of the other wives were working and doing all these amazing things in the world,” Tol said. “And all I could say was that I was managing the kids at home.”Moms should start thinking about what they would like to do, either for work or as a hobby, when their kids get older and are more able to care for themselves. “I struggled with that transition when my kids were in school during the day and I had more time on my hands,” Tol said. “I felt like I was not prepared for that shift in motherhood myself and kind of wish someone had told me that this day would come when I would have space to do something for me again.”
For any mom, managing your time is essential. Tol recommended mapping out the week to come by assigning tasks to certain days of the week. In our family, I do this personally on Sunday evenings. We also have a white board where we write down appointments and schedules that impact the entire family.
“Remember, in any week, we need to build in margin, to have some breathing room in our days,” Tol said. “My days used to be like dominoes because everything had to fall just right or the whole thing would fall apart. That leaves you feeling frustrated and unable to cope when the unexpected happens. Margins give you space for the unexpected.”
To hear more great advice and stories from Amy, listen to “The Busyness of Being a Mom” on the “You’ve Got This” podcast.