How Does A Working Mom Do It?
As a working mom and wife, I find it hard to balance time with my kids, my husband and all of the other things on my plate. How should I prioritize my time?
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the word balance is, is there even such a thing? As a wife, a mother of three young children and working full-time, more and more, I strive not so much for balance, but to be present.
The second thing that comes to mind is, does God speak to an idea of balance in his word? In my search, this passage of Scripture jumped out at me. In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon imparts this wisdom —
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: … He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil — this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.”
Time is our most precious resource, and God is the giver of time. To spend the time we have well, we must be willing to prioritize in a way that allows us to be fully present moment to moment, day to day, season to season. Because we know there is a time for everything, we can rest in knowing we do not have to be all, do all, or have it all, all the time.
So how can we prioritize our time? Most women I know with young families would love to be able to take a nap, and on the days we can, it’s glorious! Amen? Alas, since it is not realistic to take a nap every day, here is another way we can incorporate a N.A.A.P. into our lives:
Non-negotiables: Determine those things that you cannot bend on, that keep your family going like a well-oiled machine — things like morning meditation, meal prep, a bedtime routine, date nights, Bible studies and Sunday fellowship, etc. These will be unique for each family. Establishing some non-negotiables creates a sense of stability, which is major for children as it fosters a sense of security that can last a lifetime. Non-negotiables may also create family memories. For example, if once a month, no matter what, you all go for ice cream, imagine you and your child[ren] reminiscing on that tradition years from now. Feels good, right?
Ask & Accept: Utilize your communication skills to reach out to your community. Women tend to be communicators and nurturers by nature, except for when it comes to asking for and accepting help. Yet, I cannot imagine getting through these early years of marriage and mothering littles without our tribe. I look to our pastor’s wife, other women in our church, and friends and family for examples, as well as for support. Who can you call on and count on?
Prayer: Although third in sequence for the purpose of getting a N.A.A.P., this should be our go-to in prioritizing our lives. We can plan for the non-negotiable date night, ask a friend and accept their offer to babysit for the date night, and then the husband calls to say he has to work overtime, or the baby is running a fever, or [insert change of plans here]. That’s life. We have to remain flexible. When things come up, we can go to the throne of grace to express our gratitude for what we do have and for what is going well. We can also ask for discernment regarding how to order our day(s) — what we need to focus on immediately, what can shift, and what can fall away for now.
I have a beautiful porcelain figure gifted to me a few Mother’s Days ago, and it’s engraved: Mothers are the Heart of the Family. One thing I know for sure is that my attitude and my heart is grounded through prayer. And when I am grounded in God, when he is first, that’s when I am most able to use the time he has given me wisely, to be fully present with my people. That’s what balance feels like to me.
Jennifer Jones is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Born and raised in Southern California, she received her Sociology and Black Studies degrees from the University of California Santa Barbara and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Santa Barbara. Jennifer is a busy and blessed wife to Marquel Jones and mother to three young children. Her family attends and serves at Inglewood Southside Christian Church. One of Jennifer’s passions is encouraging people, through her writing, to shush their shame; she is currently developing the God-breathed vision for SHHH: Silent Hearts Heal Here. Jennifer is passionate about mental health. In her day job, she supervises a team serving children and teenagers with high acuity symptoms and behaviors. She has served as a therapist during the Biola CMR Marriage Conference for the past few years, as well.