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I Regret Not Making This One Change Sooner

Photograph by Twenty20

This spring I scheduled something on my calendar that has helped my family live more peacefully, despite multiple challenges. I scheduled, if you can believe it, blocks of time for nothing.

Nothing!

I did this because inevitably something would pop up. With three kids 9 and under, it usually involves trips to the doctor and days spent home with me taking care of them. And then there was the time, recently, when I ended up staying with a friend at the hospital for two nights due to a root canal gone wrong. By scheduling Nothing, I was also able to run over and see/help my newly widowed friend.

I'm almost 40, and it's important to me to take care of my family and my friends.

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Without scheduling time for all of this, I would probably have a nervous breakdown. More likely, I'd take it out on my kids, be frustrated that I couldn't help my friends and/or eat too much. Not to mention wine.

I do say no a lot. I have for awhile.

I did a whole different level of cleaning this spring. I canceled a planned getaway to a mom conference. I'm not planning as much work.

Time is a luxury they say.

My oldest has struggled with bouts of strep, and now he's getting his tonsils out in a few weeks.

I'm exercising and cleaning. Sometimes I read.

As I picked up some bean burritos from my kids' favorite health food restaurant in town, I told the owner my kids are always getting sick. I confided in her, because I feel a little guilty, like maybe I'm not feeding them right. Maybe the carpet in their room is making their sinuses flare, I don't know.

She said her daughter-in-law is always complaining how she never gets a break, the way she made a face mimicking her I had to stifle a laugh, then she said, "That's what kids do, they get sick."

She's right.

I have paid good money for my kids to go to a wonderful pre-school so they can catch multiple strains of bugs so their immune systems can get them into Harvard.

I'll stare at the un-scheduled day and wonder will this be a normal day or will this be a day I want to run away but really need to be strong for someone else?

Time is a luxury they say.

No arguments there, but time can also be a choice, at least how we choose to spend it. I wish I would have done this more, scheduling Nothing, when they were smaller. Whatever, can't look that way.

The amount of sickness you deal with when you have kids is bananas, and I'm glad I'm around to get my kids through that. But I also realize that I want to be nurturing to my friends, community and self. In order to do that, I need time.

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So I'll continue leaving chunks of my calendar empty as long as I can.

I'll stare at the un-scheduled day and wonder will this be a normal day or will this be a day I want to run away but really need to be strong for someone else?

I realize we can't always do this. I also know some people thrive off of constant motion. I just happen to thrive off a less busy schedule. So I'm booking time to do just that.

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