My youngest daughter has a new phrase she likes to throw around.
“Can’t you spare a few minutes for your child?”
She likes to use it when I’m working on something of my own and she needs me to do something for her, play something with her, read something to her, or…fill in the blank.
It’s perfectly designed to stab that guilt knife into my chest and give it a nice little flourishing twist for maximum effect.
Part of me wants to snap at her.
Oh my goodness, child, do you have any idea how many minutes I DO spare for you? Don’t you realize that you have ALL of my minutes already? Can’t you see that this is the first time ALL DAY that I’ve been able to sit down for more than three minutes to concentrate on this list a mile long of things I’m supposed to do today? People I need to call back, appointments I need to make, emails I need to send? Can’t you spare a few minutes for ME?
Another part of me wants to set everything down and focus just on her.
Because the truth is, yes, I want to spare a few minutes. I know our minutes are ticking away, slipping by faster and faster every day. I know she won’t need help changing her dolls clothes soon – because she won’t play with dolls anymore. I know she won’t need me to read that story – because soon she’ll be reading on her own. I know she won’t want to play pretend, tag or dress up – because she’ll have big girl things to do that don’t include Mom and her high heels and lipstick.
So what’s a mom to do?
How do you balance the must-do’s and the need-to-do’s when you don’t have time to do them all?
How do you spare a few minutes when your minutes are already too few as it is?
How do you walk that guilt tightrope of self-care and child-care when you know that tipping too far to one side will result in a messy splat that scatters parts and pieces of you all over those you care for?
And the answer is, . . . are you ready?
I don’t know.
I don’t know how to balance it all, manage it all, have time for it all, and do it all well.
I can only do what I can do.
I can only get done what I can get done.
I can give the minutes that I have, help where I can help, and do the work that I can do in the time that I have.
And that needs to be ok. Ok with me and ok with others.
Because I’m not called to do it all. Doing it all isn’t my job, it’s God’s job. He doesn’t want me stretched so thin that I’m no use to anyone, much less this little girl asking me for my minutes.
So today, I’m doing what I can do. That’s it. And that’s ok.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.