We homeschool our children, so we spend most of our days together. To some parents, this sounds like a nightmare. To others, it is the greatest thing ever imaginable. When I worked 50 hour work weeks and traveled three to four times out of the year, I would have been in the latter category. I constantly beat myself up about being a career mom. After all, I missed a lot of first-times.

I missed my son taking his first steps.

I missed birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

I missed dinners and Friday night get togethers. 

Even when I was home, I was so busy playing ‘catch-up’ on life that I still missed out on some precious moments.

I missed relaxing on the couch with my best friend and husband because I needed to check one last email.

I missed coffee dates with my girlfriends because I needed to wash laundry.

I missed out on playing dolls with my daughter because there were dinners to cook.

We live in a busy world that holds us prisoner to the clock. I get it. When I left my career to come home full time, people thought I was crazy. In the weeks and months to follow, I wondered that myself. Yet being home, I realized that I still had the potential of missing out on quality moments in my family’s life.

I had thought for the longest that me working outside of the home was the culprit and though it played a role, I see things slightly different now that I am home. If I am not careful, I can still miss out on my family. The distractions are there. They are just presented differently.

My computer still beckons for me to spend hours locked in my room. I justify it because I am home working and not in an office or on an airplane anymore.

The dings and rings of my cell phone can easily keep me from having real conversations with my children because I am too focused on the conversation I am having on my device.

My lack of scheduling and preparing for the day ahead (especially lessons) can leave me frustrated and so exhausted that when my husband gets home, I cannot even manage time for him.

Now that I have been on both sides of the spectrum as a career mom and a stay-at-home mom, I understand that quality time without effort is simply an illusion.

How do we combat the pulls and distractions in life?

Here are three things we can do to ensure we protect the time we are given with our family:

  1. Silence the devices

We live in a world connected 24/7. We post every thought, every frustration and every moment of our lives yet we seldom actually partake in it. Take time away from your smart phone. Turn it off. Put it on silent. Give your attention to your family. It is better to make memories than post them.

  1. Learn to say no

Busy is my kryptonite. I have to constantly remind my brain that a busy schedule does not make for good quality time. There will always be something vying for our attention. Balance your schedule. Choose 1 to 2 nights a week where you do not schedule anything outside the home. Everyone will be better for it.

  1. Prioritize

You have to learn what must be dealt with now and what can be pushed aside. If I am not careful, I will sacrifice my sanity for things I should have prioritized. I value sleep and sometimes I will cut our schedule close just to have five more minutes in my bed. We need to figure out what is a priority and then make sure it gets done. I have learned that the five extra minutes isn’t worth the thirty minutes of arguments that will take place because we are behind schedule.

All of our lives look drastically different from day to day, so we should not beat ourselves up when our quality times looks different as well. The point is to have it, enjoy it and make time for it.

BestWestern-NYE (2)

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Sarah West

Sarah West is a homeschool mom, freelance writer and first-time author of Walking the Talk: A Parent's Guide to Intimacy and Healthy Relationships. Formerly, she served as the Director and Youth and College Counselor for Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Mississippi. Sarah writes for various online and print magazines on matters of faith and family, and believes in strengthening family relationships and reconnecting parents to their children. You can connect with Sarah and keep up to date with her writing through her blog at https://a-life-inspired.com/ Find her book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GM5ELRE

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading

God Chose Me to Be the Mother of a Wild One

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman holding child on the beach, black-and-white photo

It was just another typical fall morning. There was a time change so you were a little extra sleepy (also known as grouchy) but nothing too out of the ordinary. In a split second, that all changed, and the reality of what it is like to live with an unbelievably relentless little human set in like never before. I sat on your bedroom floor, laundry scattered all around, and literally watched my tears fall to the ground. I was on my knees. Physically on my knees just begging you to stop or begging God to give me patience. I don’t...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising a Fearless Daughter

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl on playground

Imagine you are at the playground with your kid(s), and you look over to see someone else’s kid launching themselves off the tallest tower on the entire playground. You feel your heart stop for a second, you suck in a sharp breath. You think to yourself, or maybe you even say it out loud, “Oh my gosh!” That kid—the one who is always finding the most dangerous way to do literally everything? That’s my kid. Truthfully, that’s both my kids, my youngest just isn’t tall enough to join in on the real danger yet. RELATED: Raising a Wild Child Is...

Keep Reading