Truth from a Toddler

My spunky little girl, Harper, will be two this month. She’s full of personality and her facial expressions are priceless. She makes us laugh every day. We cannot wait to see how she will be as a big sister (Baby girl #2 coming in September!)

When Harper was born, James and Michelle came to me with an amazing offer. They wanted me to start working from home and be able to raise Harper without having to send her to daycare. The offer brought me to tears (Post-partum hormones may have had something to do with it). Working from home has been more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined. I have gotten to see every milestone that Harper has reached.

Recently, Harper has starting talking. She is at such a fun age and we love hearing her try to mimic what we say. A few weeks ago, she started saying something that caught my attention the second she said it. I was working on my phone while sitting on the floor playing with her, and she looked at me and said, “Away.”

It honestly scared me. I put my phone down and played with her immediately.

That night, I couldn’t get what Harper said out of my head. I started thinking about all the times that I think I’m multitasking, and really, I’m absorbed in my phone or computer and ignoring Harper. My phone and computer have become addicting. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. It’s hard to be fully present with Harper when I am so wrapped up in myself that I can’t even put my phone down.

I knew that day that I had to get stricter about my work hours and my play hours. The older Harper gets, the more she knows and understands. The last thing I want is for her to hate my job and hate that I work. I want to be truly present in her life.

Here are a few of my tips that I have implemented in my life to help manage my time and be fully present in Harper’s life:

Create a work schedule.

Plan your schedule around nap times, school drop off/pick up, etc. Stick to your schedule, and let your co-workers know in advance so that they can expect when to receive things from you and when you’re free to talk.

Work when you’re productive.

For me, I’m more productive at night. I am NOT a morning person. The other day I woke up at 5:45am on my own and got up to work, and by afternoon, I needed a nap. Mornings are not my time, and that’s ok! I do better at night.

Write out a daily to-do list.

I’m a list person. I enjoy crossing things off my list. Sometimes, I write things down, even if I’ve already completed it just to cross it off. (I know I’m not alone!) This has helped me stay on track during the day, prioritize my tasks, and get things done on time.

Delete social media apps on the weekends.

 Michelle was the one who introduced me to this idea. It’s truly a game changer when it comes to family time and being engaged. How many times do we check social media accounts daily? Do me a favor. If you own an iPhone, go to Settings > Battery and check the Battery Usage. If you click the little clock icon, it will show you the amount of time you spend on each app each day. You’re about to be amazed (or possibly appalled!) at how much time your day is spent on social media. Delete your apps during the weekend. If your job doesn’t allow you to disengage on the weekend, try to pick another day each week to get unplugged.

Play without guilt.

Once you’ve got your scheduled work hours created to complete every task you’re responsible for on time and with excellence, PLAY. As Michelle and Somer have already reminded us this month, they don’t stay little forever. Let’s enjoy them.

Often times, Harper wants me to play with her all day. You and I both know that it’s not realistic for me to be able to do that. So when she says “Away,” and I can’t put my phone or computer away at that very moment, I tell her, “Mama’s working right now, but when I’m done with this, I will play with you.”

Sometimes, she’s ok with it, and sometimes that’s not the answer she wanted. It’s a learning process! We aren’t perfect, of course, but hopefully, these tips will help us pursue ways to ease the tension between work and family.

If you’ve got any tips to add to my list, please comment below!

By |2017-08-07T01:25:41-04:00May 18th, 2017|Business, Family|3 Comments

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  1. Hannah Olthoff May 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Great wisdom, Teeny! Thanks for sharing. I like the idea of scheduling the time and communicating with them. Michelle shared a while back having a notebook for ideas and having her sons draw on the other side of the page while she jots down ideas! That technique has really worked well. Getting her busy with something so she doesn’t feel ignored and bored. Because I feel like the good ideas always come when we are “playing” and not when we are working!

    I also set a timer for like 10 minutes and when the timer is up…I am DONE working and it’s time to play.

  2. Ulrika May 20, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Priorities and boundaries are the most important things for me anyway. Spending time and energy on my family comes before work and home management but those tasks still need to get done and I also need to get enough sleep, exercise et.c. and of course time in prayer/Bible study/contemplation et.c. But there are two ways to prioritize; what HAS TO be done on a daily basis, and HOW MUCH TIME we spend on different things. For me time with God, exercise, eating regularly and nutritiously and getting enough sleep and making sure our home is in ok shape (which is absolutely far from perfect, but ok enough that we feel ok living here and to make our daily life flow with as little friction as possible – keeping the kitchen in good shape so that cooking can get done efficiently for example) are things that are non-negotiables but that don’t necessarily take a lot of time. Then there is work that is also a non-negotiable and that takes more time. The most time is spent (in this phase of our life while I’m still only working part time on my own schedule) on my family. I need to plan so that all the necessary things get done so that I can spend the rest of my time on my family without worrying about everything else. I usually tend to get distracted otherwise feeling guilty for taking time for work and not playing with the kids or thinking about work while I am spending time with my family. Having young children it isn’t always easy to have set times for different activities but I do try to do the things I can’t do while watching the kids when my husband is home and can look after them. I also have a limited time every day that I get to spend on cleaning/laundry etc as these are things that have to be done over and over again anyway and we don’t have to have things in perfect shape. Cleaning can’t take over our life which it easily could with four boys ages 8 months to 7 years. 😉 Most of the time I can exercise while looking after the kids so that gets done some time during the day and other than that, when my husband is home I can schedule more time for Bible reading, exercising on my own, and of course work and when he is at work the most time is spent playing with and just hanging out with the kids. 🙂 I’m also a bit of an introvert so I crave time on my own daily. On my husband’s work days this is typically after the kids have gone to bed and on weekends I go for long walks with just the baby in the stroller. He usually falls asleep and so I get some quiet time for my soul and mind and fresh air and exercise all in one there. 🙂

  3. Cristina Williams June 12, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    That smile! So much cheesin’ and I love it!!! Thank you for these transparent truths and tips! I love learning from my sisters who are already mamas! Plus, these ideas help me as a wife to Nick right now, even before we have kids! 😉

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