"THE BEST THING TO SPEND ON CHILDREN IS YOUR TIME."
My sister-in-law had this quote as a cross-stitch on her wall. Several years ahead of us in the child raising years, she lived these words. She home-schooled before it was a thing, simply because it allowed her to spend more time with her two children and it enabled them to work together, learn together, be together. I attempted to follow that example.
I made up a pattern, designed the cross-stitch, and it sat in my project pile for years. I wanted to put it on my wall, just like she had it. I have to admit (with a grimace), that I think it is still downstairs in a project box, moved from house to house, how many times? I am not even going to go look.
At this point, I wish I could say that I didn't spend the time to make that cross-stitch because I was too busy spending time with my kids. Maybe, maybe not. But it has helped me keep a focus on priorities. It is not all the things that make a rich life. It is time, together.
More important than putting that cross-stitch on my wall, it is important to write those words on my heart, making them come alive in my life, and playing them out in our children's days.
"Mom, will you play a game with me?"
"I'm busy doing [this]. Why don't you go play the Wii for awhile?"
What good mother would ever say that? Ahem... I don't want their memories of me to be of my back, turned toward some busy project. I want their memories to be of my face, available to listen and spend the time with them that they need. Balance is important here, too, though. One of our sons would take all my 24/7s if he could. Obviously there has to be a line.
Having this quote speaking in my head, reminding me of my choices and priorities, helps me keep my focus less on stuff and more on time, all the minutes and moments with this family God has given us.