How many times a day do you find yourself saying to your loved ones these phrases or something similar? – “I can’t right now”, ” Maybe later”, ” I’m too busy” or “I’ve got far to much to do I can’t stop right now.”
Do you spend several hours a week giving those who matter most, your full attention undisrupted?
This post is for those of you who may feel like your to-do list is as long as your arm and playing with your children, spending quality time with you spouse or giving your family and friends the full support they deserve, just keeps unintentionally dropping lower and lower down in the ranks of priority.
Saturday night my Nan commented that she thought the boys needed a little more time to play with me.
What?! I’m a stay at home mum and spend 24 hours nearly every day with these kids how could they not be getting enough of my time? Yet, I knew she was right and I lay in bed pondering on the fact for quite some time.
I know that when A and M ask me to sit and play with them I can often be guilty (especially in the mornings) of saying “after I’ve finished this.” or ” A bit later” but by the time I’ve finished my task they’ve moved on to something else or I have found something else that needs to be done. The later never comes. When I do sit I am so busy thinking about the things I want to be getting on with that I am only half heartedly there and it’s rarely longer than 10 mins before I pick up my phone to reply to a message or walk out to the kitchen to put the washing on.
Then I got to thinking about other people who perhaps don’t receive my full attention either. My husband for one. The physical distance between us with him staying in Egypt and us being in the UK for a while certainly has an impact but even when I sit to write to him or call him there is a hundred and one other things that are calling to me. We rarely get through a proper conversation before I’m breaking up a spat between the kids, rushing one of them to the toilet, or the dinner is on the brink of disaster. Like wise my husband is often in the middle of work or on his way to the gym. It means our conversations are short,full of distractions and are rarely completed.
Even when I visit family I feel myself unable to tune into conversations or remember all that I’ve been told because my mind is chewing over so much information at once. It must be infuriating when I ask the same questions just a few days later!
Any of my friends know that it can take me hours sometimes even days to reply to messages. Some of them I don’t get to see regularly though and try as I may to drop them a phone call or a message once in a while to bridge the gap these are often so brief that I feel guilty that I should be investing a lot more time into these extremely important people in my life.
Each time it’s the same excuse “I’m just so busy at the moment.Theres so much going on.”
In reality it’s a matter of truly addressing our priorities and with that in mind Sunday, as I was drifting off to sleep, I vowed to myself that I would wake up tomorrow morning do breakfast, get the basic bare minimum household chores done and then dedicate the rest of my morning to simply sitting and playing with the boys. I would simply follow their lead. No phones, no electronics, no books of my own. 100% undisrupted attention.
So that’s exactly what we did this morning. We sat we played with Duplos, built trains, tunnels, towers and zoos, we raced Thomas the Tank Engine toys and read several books. We wrote some numbers and M cut them out with his favourite panda scissors ✂ and then played pull the number out of the bag. We made up silly songs, joked and laughed with tons of eye contact and lots of cuddles. It was super fun and certainly beat doing any thing else on my to do list.
You know what, all the stuff I wanted and needed to get done today still got completed. The boys were both content to entertain themselves after lunch. I got the kitchen cleaned, the washing done and dried, I read a few pages of the Quran, crocheted a little, prayed, called my better half, put washing away cooked dinner and probably some other bits and pieces too. In fact I probably got more done today than I ever do simply because I dedicated a few hours this morning to my family.
This can be applied to all your relationships. Remember when you first met and started dating your partner. You probably spent a lot of time just the two of you conversing, laughing, joking, gazing into each others eyes and doing specific activities together with limited distractions from others. Perhaps you barely noticed other people existed for quite some time. How often do you do that now? Do you sit of an evening with no distractions enjoying each others undivided attention or are you in front of the TV, reading a book, on your mobile phone, doing household chores or trying to catch up and meet deadlines for work. Perhaps your just so focused on getting the kids fed, washed and to bed or too tired to function when they are. What ever it is just imagine how different things could be if you decided those things were no longer the priority. What if the priority was your partner or family for those first few hours of the evening. Could dinner wait an hour or so. Or could you get the kids to bed earlier and just spend some real good quality time together. Again no phones, no distractions.
Try it with your family and friends too. Give each relationship a little bit of extra time and care. It doesnt havent to be everyday, perhaps not even every week, maybe once a fortnight or once a month is enough. You decide.
You see the things that you need or want to do will still be there and there will still be time. In fact there may even be more time because your distractions will be lessened when you give every task and individual the time and attention they deserve.
How do YOU make sure your making time for the right things and avoiding the pitfalls of being too busy?