“Mom, can I quickly do something?” Leslie, my ten-year-old daughter, asked.
“Make it real quick.” I sighed, scanning over my endless to-do list, wondering if I could squeeze a few more things into the end of the day.
A few minutes later, Leslie placed a hand-drawn grid in front of me. The days of the week were written in perfect, fifth-grade cursive. “This is my schedule, and I’m stressed out. I have no free time.”
It was my daughter’s voice, but did I hear her right? Did she use the phrases, ‘My schedule?’
‘Stressed out?’ ‘No free time?’ Did these words come from a child?
Leslie ran her fingers over the squares. “Look. I have basketball two days a week and piano lessons on Tuesdays, not counting daily practice.”
As she continued on, I realized her brothers’ schedules were not much better. No wonder our lives had become hectic. Attempting to mesh my kids’ daily activities with my own was like attempting to squeeze another dirty pan into an already full dishwasher—no matter how things were rearranged, they just weren’t going to fit! My daughter and I discussed what could be cut.
“Let’s wait on swimming lessons,” I said. “And cut out art class altogether. That will free up Wednesdays and Fridays for just hanging out.”
I noted relief on Leslie’s face as she erased those items off her page.
“Thanks, Mom.” She scurried off to bed. “I feel better already.”
With the sound of her feet padding to her room, I turned to my own calendar, recalling something I’d read earlier that day: “We spend ten percent more than we have—and it no longer matters if one is talking about time, energy, or money,” wrote Richard A. Swenson, M.D., author of The Overload Syndrome. “We work hard, play hard, and crash hard.”
Seeing the relief on my daughter’s face at the thought of free time made me realize how far I’d let all our priorities get out of hand. It was time to stop the insanity.
I’ll post more about this on next week – about what God has taught me about priority – but what about you? Are you Overcommitted, Overloaded and Overwhelmed? What are you doing about it? Or what do you need to do about it?