Every parent I know struggles to find enough time to do, well, everything. When you become a parent, you’re forced to slow down and speed up all at the same time. Your kid needs you to slow down because they’re taking everything in. They need help and are operating at a slower pace.
Meanwhile, you’ve still got to get s*%t done, as in provide meals, arrange schedules and do your regular day job. Plus, you’re supposed to somehow find time for exercise, socializing and sleep. Who has time for all that?!
As a working mom of two kids under 3, I find time management a constant struggle, so I was excited to discover a new book: “Time to Parent” by Julie Morgenstern. Honestly, though, I was worried I wouldn’t find the time to read it.
But Morgenstern gets it. She gives you a pass to read just the first four chapters and then use the rest of the book like a manual — dip in when and where you can. I instantly liked this approach. It wasn’t judgy. Rather, Morgenstern understood that parents are busy but that we do want to focus on the right stuff.
The right stuff
So, what is the right stuff? According to Morgenstern, most parenting responsibilities fit into four categories: providing, relating, teaching and arranging. For example, your kids will require you to provide meals, relate things, teach them and arrange play dates.
But besides raising a human being you also need to be a human being. So, she argues, you can’t neglect taking care of yourself. That has four categories, too: sleep, exercise, fun and love.
Once your time is broken down into these categories, you’ve got to figure out how to balance it all. To help, Morgenstern offers a test with questions and a report card.
I’ll admit it: I put the test off for a week. When I finally did it the test, I quickly figured out the areas where I needed to devote more time and the areas where I spend way too much time. It’s a good wake-up call to examine your time like this, and I was excited to redress the balance now that I knew the areas where I was out of whack.
How it’s working for me?
In each chapter, Morgenstern gives you ideas about how to maximize your time so you can fit in all those tasks that you are neglecting. She suggests you “steal back time.” For example, use all that time in pediatrician waiting rooms to read a book or listen to a podcast.
Another example: Redefine what a category means to me. For me, that means redefining exercise, which, according to Morgenstern’s test, I currently spend too little time on. Rather than immediately sign up for weeks of gym classes, Morgenstern says to start small. For me, that meant putting a yoga mat in the living room and partaking in a YouTube class whenever I can. It’s a small change but it’s a positive one.
When you become a parent, things change so quickly you don’t have time to examine how it’s changed. This book helps you do just that and come up with a game plan, so you can help your kids thrive and still make time for yourself.