The Gift of Time – A Planning Tool

It occurs to me that the main reason I feel stressed is because I don’t have enough time – now how silly is that? First of all, I teach Time Management, for heaven’s sake. But most of all, everyone has the same amount of time; it’s the value that we place on it that determines how we spend it.

I read this week of a father who was able to stay home with his new-born quintuplets. Can you imagine! He then lost his job. The choice that he and his wife then made centered on two major criteria: what call ‘Quality Time’ and how they were going to pay their bills. I believed that this term ‘Quality Time’ merely offers us a soothing balm to our conscience. Then I saw how impressive the parenting choices the thirty-somethings (and often time the forty-somethings) are making and I took another look.

For more on the dad and his choices, please visit

This quality time thing has been a guilt of mine; at 34 with children ages 14, 12 and 10 I left teach/advising to become a publisher’s rep. The three kidlings successfully trained and competed in swimming; I told myself that being with them for their meets, getting them up to study in the morning before breakfast, and providing them with a happy, healthy mom sufficed. But deep down inside there was a sniggling little voice that said it was not enough. Strangely when asked today, my forty-somethings tell me that they remember me being there for them, so what do I know?

I’ll take evidence that I didn’t do too badly by looking at their life choices. John is now a Battalion Chief on his fire department in charge of all things Paramedic. Six years ago he and Mary adopted beautiful Marina and being a fire fighter allowed him entire days with her. Of course, it also took him away from the house for long stretches. That probably worried him. But in his new position there lies time each morning to take her to school and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to be a dad. He is relishing that gift of time.

JT out in California retired in his early 40’s and became a full-time dad. While, just like the dad in the quintuplet story, retirement was not his first choice, the economy made it smarter to sell his business and look for something else to start up. I don’t think I’m too far off the mark to say that he isn’t looking too hard because he loves getting his son and daughter up in the morning, getting them to school and then picking them up for an afternoon of time together. He helps them with their homework, takes them for adventures on the beach and is there with Natalie to provide the discipline. Again another gift of time. 

Amy, also out in CA, is a divorced, part-time mom. She is able to design her schedule of work at Catholic Charities (organizing life for the children of homeless moms) around her time with Judah, taking him to school and often picking him up even though he’s more than an hour away. Her priorities have her making choices with his well-being always first in mind. Once more a gift of time is theirs.

Just a thought as I apply these examples to my present-day life; yes, being married to a 70-something is often like being a parent. As we navigate the hurdles aging and illness present, that choice of how I plan my time is ever present. He needs me just as much as my children ever did. Having been a fire fighter back in the day, his body is now presenting challenges from what he did back then (no ear-phones on his aircraft carrier, no masks or oxygen tanks, helmets that didn’t always fit, etc.). Being a wife and partner presents a new challenge. Being there for him (often in the same way it appears I was there for my children) is a conscious choice. I consistently remind myself of that as I build my Fine Book publishing business and work with my yearbook people. Priorities, priorities; I need to stop and think each day through with positive intentions not just appointment planning.

Who knew? I guess I did .. but didn’t know I knew! Mmmmmm.

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