The other day, I sat on the floor playing with my two little ones, when my three-year-old daughter ran over to me with her dark pigtails flying and jumped onto my lap. My 15-month-old saw this, and toddled my way, plopping himself onto a vacant knee. Soon they had playfully pushed me to the ground, and we were all enveloped in giggles and hugs. These are the precious moments that I know I’ll miss when my children get older. But I’ve found the secret to slowing down time: being present in every moment. Instead of rushing all day, I want to schedule peace into our days so we can enjoy these sweet moments. Making sure to schedule only a couple of playdates or kids’ classes during the week is something that has made motherhood much more enjoyable for me.
These are the reasons why I intentionally don’t overschedule our days.
We can focus our time on what’s important
A couple of years ago, our pastor did a series on intentionally keeping our lives, and not overscheduling them. An idea he said resonated with me then, and I still hear it echoing in my mind today: if we know what is really important in our lives, then we should focus our time and energy on them. Right now, as the mom of two very young children, their development is important to me. We work on developing positive habits, growing together as a family, and spiritual development.
We have more peace in our home
When I thought about the times that I felt like my mothering needed improvement, they usually involved trying to get out the door. Where are your shoes? Did your brother just have your hairbrush? Make sure to take a potty break. Shoes- did you ever find your shoes? These moments were filled with stress (and they still are, because we do have some commitments, still!) I realized that not always being in a hurry would be the best way to improve our home atmosphere. Decreasing the number of commitments we made each week seriously helped with this!
There’s time for creative play
You know that young children learn through play, but it’s the creative, unstructured play that is really beneficial for developing social-emotional skills, thinking skills, and their overall well-being. When we have time to stay at home or go outside and just play, my little ones get very creative!
My children learn to keep commitments
I’m not sure if this is just a pet peeve or a legitimately annoying part of Evites: the ‘maybe’ button. My husband and I have a joke that ‘maybe’ means no. People often respond to events that way because they’re hoping something better comes along. When we are intentional not to overschedule our days, we can commit and know that we will be able to attend (barring sickness!) Through this, my children learn to practice the words from Matthew 5:37: let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ ‘No’.
It helps with the to-do list
My to-do list gets longer when I say yes to every opportunity that arises. This is because when our days fill up, I neglect other important things, like the four-foot-tall pile of laundry in the basement, or cleaning the floors. I’ve also found that when I sit down and really focus on my children for an hour or two, they are more willing to help me clean or play peacefully while I’m cleaning.
So, mamas, today I urge you to fight those cultural messages that tell us that our kids have to be involved in everything (this article will help you see if you overschedule your children). Find out what- or who- is really important to you, and dedicate your precious, precious time to them.
How are you intentionally not overscheduling your days?
Click here for all the rest of the posts in the Intentional Life Series.
Leah Martin uses her experiences as a teacher to write about using the Charlotte Mason philosophy with young children at mylittlerobins.com. She is a Christ follower, an architect’s wife, and mother to two little ones: ages (almost) 4 and 15 months.