This is a guest post from my good friend and neighbor, Celeste Herron. She is a wife, full time home health provider, mother, daughter and friend. Like all of us, she is trying to figure out how to get everything done, make everyone happy, and still find time for herself. I am sure many of you can relate.
It started at my Grandmother’s house when I was 6 years old. I can still hear it….tick tock tick tock…for hours I laid there and listened. After countless nights of being tortured by the sound of her old hanging clock, I got up enough courage to politely ask her to remove the dinosaur of a time keeper from the guest bedroom. But the foundation had been set; time became my enemy, and we are still engaged in battle 29 years later.
Perhaps it’s because I’m still relatively new at being a full time working Mom or currently throwing penny after penny into the fountain of youth, but now more than ever, I’m noticing my life being ruled by what numbers appear on the clock and fighting with time. It starts the moment my alarm goes off in the morning and my first thought is “get up now,” I allow myself 30 minutes in the morning to drink a cup of coffee and read the paper; I can’t let a minute of that precious time escape! After that it’s a mad dash to get me and my 2 year old dressed, lunches made, put his shoes back on for the 8th time that morning, and into the car.
Being a home health physical therapist, I drive to each of my client’s homes throughout the day. Traffic, road work, and weather have a huge impact on my ability to see all my patients, give everyone just enough quality time before I need to hop back in my truck and get to the next person. My babysitter has a window of time for me to get my son, if I’m not there before she leaves to pick her kids up from school, I don’t get Luke until after 4pm. It’s always a struggle to get there before she leaves; often times I don’t. It’s not that I need him before that time, but the point is I would rather he be home safe with me, then being driven around by someone else in a world where road rage and low patience rule the highways.
The clock continues to be in control as my husband and I block off 5-5:30 for exercise. It’s not a lot of time, but we have a toddler and that’s all we get. If one of us doesn’t get home by 5, we lose our much-needed time in the gym. After that it’s dinner and bath time so my son is in bed by 7pm. He has the potential to turn into a werewolf if that schedule is not kept. My head hits the pillow at 9 and I avoid looking at that evil glowing display of numbers on the wall, so I don’t realize how long it is taking me to finally fall asleep.
I know I am not the first working Mom in the world to have these struggles and I actually have it SO much easier than most. Let’s be honest, who gets 30 minutes in the morning to leisurely drink their coffee?? I’m not naive to these facts. But I’m tired of being a slave to father time; how do other people break out of this bondage? I remember my honeymoon in St Lucia…we never turned our phones on! This was before Wi-Fi was everywhere and it was the most amazing 7 days of my life; it didn’t matter what the clock said, it was a breath of fresh air! But I can’t escape to the Caribbean anytime I want. So, what are some realistic ways to not allow time to win? Here are some tips I’ve received:
- Meditation: An amazing nurse I work with goes into her car during her lunch break and does a 5-minute meditation. Focused breathing and mindfulness can decrease anxiety and help you regain focus on what is important. There are tons of free meditation apps out there and a website that provides free guided meditation from UCLA.
- Break out of habit! I don’t need to have specific check marks on specific tasks checked off by a specific time; that is me being a control freak. Cue the “Let It Go” song from Frozen. The nights we go out and grab sushi for dinner or take a walk to the park instead of focus on the clock are wonderful. This should happen more than once every 2 months.
- Read! I recently was inspired to purchase the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Although I’m only into the 2nd chapter, it’s a great book about being in the moment and having control over your conscious. Very applicable to this blog!
- Accept help. We can’t do it on our own all the time. I have an incredible neighbor who will take my son anytime I ask and allow my husband and I to hit up a happy hour or evening out. These nights I cherish, it really recharges my batteries.
It’s about time I start taking my own advice. I would love to hear from you and how you handle the ticking clock and successfully take control of your time.