I used to be rich. Or so I thought.
My pockets were bulging with minutes. I shelled out hours like I had won the time lottery. My wealth went to all sorts of things: painting, reading, cooking, cleaning, scrolling idly through my Facebook newsfeed...watching T.V. shows on Netflix. I was blessed with a fortune of uninterrupted time to spend doing whatever I wanted. I did some good with my time, but I also wasted a lot of it. The truth is I used it carelessly because, well, I always had more.
Having a baby changed that.
Most of my time belongs to little Evie now. And she is so worthy of it. So much more worthy than other things I was spending it on before.
But now I find myself craving free seconds and minutes, scraping them together like change, hoping I can get a full dollar's worth. And amid this desperate scraping, I have realized how precious my time really is and how terribly I am squandering it.
Even now, I am struggling. I'll spend my only free 30 minutes in 3 hours reading who Buzzfeed thinks the top ten child-stars-turned-hotties are. Later I might browse through the hundreds of boot options on a website I won't actually buy anything from. And the Netflix shows... oh, help me. There's this tugging on my conscience, and I can ignore it no longer. If I'm to accomplish anything greater than brushing my teeth and putting on real clothes, I have to be wiser with how I use my time. I need to be pickier. I need to be discerning.
Devoting multiple hours of my already limited time to the above mentioned activities is just not a wise investment. To be real honest, I feel this way about the time I spend on Facebook and Pinterest (but how I love Pinterest!), as well. These things are fine in moderation, but that isn't what I have been doing. When done in large quantities, they leave me feeling empty and my soul feeling numb. Why? Because this isn't living.
Instead, I want to use my time to become a better wife and mother. I want to spend it on refining the talents I've been blessed with. I want to give it to the people I love. Heck, I want to go outside and, as my grandmother would say, breathe the sunshine into my lungs.
I also want to be at peace with giving most of my time to Evie. Sometimes I get anxious to put her down for her nap so that I can get my "me" time. Sometimes taking care of her doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment because there are other, more productive, things to be doing.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have been believing a huge lie because being a mother to a small baby is tedious and repetitive and the days are filled with tiny, humble victories. But they are victories, nonetheless, and deserve to be rejoiced over. They might not seem like much now, but me and my little girl are quietly and diligently saving up our moments so that we can appreciate even greater ones in the future.
When I read a picture book to my wobbly-headed three-month-old while she is snuggled up in my lap, even though she has no clue what I'm saying yet, it is not in vain.
When I change the fifth stinky diaper of the day. When I lay her down in her crib for her nap, knowing she will be up again in 30 minutes. When I give her my undivided attention as I hold her close and listen to her soft swallows as she drinks her milk. When I prop her up on my knees and make goofy faces that make her eyes wide with interest and delight.
None of it is in vain.
I should feel freedom to pass my time this way because it is good and noble work. Valuable work.
I used to think I was rich in time because I had a lot of it. Now I see that it's not so much the quantity of time that is important, it's the quality. I'm working on improving mine. I think it is true that if I invest my time in things that matter and in others, I will see a far greater return; one that will leave me feeling full and my soul feeling refreshed.