This post was inspired by a topic discussed on a Classical Education loop I am on. One of the gals, a certain Ann V. of “A Child’s Geography”, suggested I post my opinion on personal time vs. family time and how as HS mom’s we are called to die to ourselves. So, here it is for all it is worth.

I believe that personal time is integral to who we are as part of God’s creation…however what we do to for our own personal enrichment changes as our lives change…I used to rubber stamp every chance I got…I made cards for every occasion…now I don’t remember the last time I actually got to just submerge myself in that craft. I used to sew dresses for the girls and home decorating projects for my home. Now I only pull out the machine when I NEED to sew something. There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to be that type of creative…when I stamped or sewed it was for me–I enjoyed it and got lost in it and felt better for it. I used to run three miles a day 5-6 days a week—very early in the am before anyone was up…I did it for myself but refrained from it when the kiddos needed me or when my Dear Knight was out of town. But, as the needs of my family have changed the time I have for myself has lessened. So, now I content myself with a few snatched pages of a “good” book…no time for twaddle…hardly any time for “good” so I try to make it as profitable as I can.
I do miss those things but mostly because they gave me a chance to be alone (at least in my mind). I really enjoy being alone for periods of time…I get to think out loud, mumble, laugh, cry…whatever…without having to answer why I am doing all those things like I would if I had an audience.
I have known many women that would not dream of giving up their personal time for anyone…let alone their children…I find that very sad… and very selfish… I don’t make this observation in a judgmental way…there are some women who must be away from their families in order to support their family and some women who have outside interests….but the women who choose themselves and their own pursuits at the expense of their families and then complain about how hard it is to juggle their time are the ones that get to me (you know the ones–very extreme examples of “me-first type gals)…I lived in affluent area before moving to our current home…good for my re-sale, not good for my personal relationships with my fellow SAHM’s (one note–I have a couple of extremely close friends from that neighborhood—they are delightful,Christian women who, like me, didn’t/don’t fit the mold of the type women I am referring to)…they were never home and always playing tennis, or aerobics or shopping or whatever…there never seemed to be time for their husbands or kiddos–I was criticized for making dinner for my family every night and for not putting my children in every activity available and not hiring a babysitter several times a month. Many of these gals thought I was nuts for allowing my husband to control me because obviously he did since I “had” to make dinner every night!! I tried to explain that I did it out of love for my husband but that fell on unbelieving ears.
But above all, I think personal enrichment needs to be tempered with the needs of your family at all times…there will be seasons in your life that you have “extra” time to devote to a personal interest. There will be times when you can’t. I also believe that when you allow yourself to pursue a personal interest you re-charge yourself and are thus better able to give to your family in a better way…I know that when I get some quiet time to just contemplate life I am much more able to face the demands of my family, and do so much more serenely/cheerfully/joyfully.
I also have noticed that some people believe you must spend an inordinate amount of time to pursue personal interests…and I’m sure there are some things that require lots of time…but I believe you can have personal time without taking away from your family that which they need…sometimes personal time gets pushed to the margins of the day…early morning or late evening…after familial duties are completed..that is just the way it is…is this ideal—No! but it can still accomplish its goal…personal growth.
It is a hard act to juggle…personal time and motherhood, but if we are faithful to God and the blessings/responsibilities He has given us then I believe we will reap numerous eternal rewards much more fulfilling than anything else in his world.

originally posted  1/4/06