Saturday, July 26, 2008

Priorities

I heard a pastor teaching on cheating yesterday. Not marital unfaithfulness or cheating on your taxes, but about cheating your time at work and devoting more of it at home.

This is a topic that is of constant concern to me. Being a mother of three children that works full time outside the home, it's always a challange to "balance" things. I have long felt that any effort to "balance" your life between carreer and family is a thinly vield attempt to "have it all" on your terms and disregard what God has to say about your responsablities to your family.

It's clear from the teachings of the Bible that a woman's first priority is to her home (ie. her husband and/or children). It's also clearly necessary in this economy for the woman of the house to sometimes have a job that takes her away from that. So the natural thing to do would be to try to make an even split and balance the two, right?

No. My first priorty is to my family - Husband first and then children. I am to be the manager of the household. That is where my energy should be spent first, then what's left should go to my job.

How do you do that? I joke around that I have 3 kids, 2 jobs and 1 husband. I actually work a full time job away from home and a part time job from home. I understand about time managment! I also pray that God will help me not balance my life, but give a larger portion to my family and home.

Recently I asked my employer if I could change my hours. My job is in an office, and it's generally accepted that I would work 8-5 like everyone else. I asked my employer if I could work 7-3 so I could be home when the children get home from school. My husband works 3:30-12 so we don't have to deal with daycare anymore.

While I'm not home all day, I still get the benefits of being there after school. More time with kids = happier kids, healthier home. My employer was really cool about it. I didn't present it as a choice. I told them that this was what I needed to do and if they couldn't accommodate me, I would have to find something else.

You're probably wondering how I can take on another job when I'm preaching about spending more time on your family. Well, that's the whole point. I am building my business so that in a year I can quit working outside the home and be home for my family full time. It's a bit of a crunch right now and takes effort, but it can be done.

When I started, I prayed for direction on how to manage my time with all of this. I work my business after the kids go to bed at 8:00 and on Saturday mornings when they are zoned out on cartoons anyway. I don't work at all on Friday nights because that is family night! Now, my business isn't going to explode. It might take me more like 18 months or even 2 years to build it to the point that I can work solely from home. But that's okay.

I'm putting God to the test. Malachi 3:10 tells us to do this by being obedient and see if the Lord won't bless us beyond our wildest dreams.

Which brings me to the subject of "me time". I get a visible twitch when I read about or hear about women having "me time". I do understand the concept of taking time for yourself. For me, I exercise. I take the kids to the Y, drop them off at thier little activities and pound the belt on the treadmill for the better part of an hour. They have cable TV there and I watch "Take Home Chef" on TLC.

Then, I pick up the girls get them in thier swimsuits, struggle into mine, give them both a shower, go play in the pool for a bit, get them all out, strip them down give everybody another shower, dress and brush hair and the haul them all out to the car.

Phew! Not much balance there. And that's the way it should be. You should spend more time on your home and family than anywhere else. Maybe I just keep repeating this to make myself feel better. It's certainly not a widely acceptable concept for women to dedicate thier lives to thier famillies. At the very least, you should want to "have it all" or "balance things", but should't live selflessly and solely for your God and Family.

I say yes you should. Stop listening to the world and start listening to the God of the universe.

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