A New Season to Hold Loosely

Annie Rim

I just dropped our three-year-old off at her first day of preschool and have now entered a new season of parenting. One in which I have two mornings a week to myself. I have big plans for these five hours. From volunteering to a dedicated time to write to day-dates with my husband, not to mention decluttering and organizing the closets, I know that my plans outnumber the minutes.

On one hand, I am going to be very protective of my time. One of these mornings will be devoted to writing, something I’ve never had. No groceries, no chores, no distractions. My other morning, I plan to hold with more flexibility. Maybe I’ll have more time to write; maybe this will be the morning I tackle the outgrown clothing crowding the girls’ closets. Maybe my husband and I can walk to the local diner for breakfast.

After I made my list of goals for this school year, I stepped back and remembered that I have plenty of time to accomplish these preschool hopes. I’m not advocating procrastination but I am trying to stay realistic. Maybe I won’t declutter the playroom until January. That’s OK. I have time! Maybe I’ll get those closets organized by the end of September, which would be awesome. But maybe not. I’m remembering that this time is a gift. I’m looking at these hours and receiving them, not as a commodity to be earned but as a gift to be thankful for.

Every night as I brush my teeth before bed, I read the Compline prayers from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. This part of the prayer especially stuck with me as we enter this new season of parenting:

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to do the rest.”

My list of hopes and goals is long for this exciting new phase of having a quiet house two times each week. Deep down, I know full-well that I won’t accomplish all my goals. I probably won’t become fluent in French or wander the art museum as much as I imagine. I probably will organize our home a bit but it will never be minimalist – that’s just not us. I cannot do everything.

But it is a beginning and I am recognizing that God has gifted me these hours. Through our family’s circumstance and choices, I am able to embrace these moments that I recognize are a privilege to have. I don’t take this lightly. I want to use my time well, just as I hope I used those preschool years well, when I had no time to myself and everything was squeezed into the margins.

We are in new territory and I realize this may not last forever. Maybe I’ll continue staying home full-time but maybe I’ll go back to work in a couple years. I’m learning to use these moments well. To not squander time or take it for granted.

I want to lay a foundation for this next season, whatever it holds. And while I plan and make lists of goals, I am remembering to hold those loosely and to allow opportunities for the Lord’s grace to do the rest.

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Annie Rim lives in Colorado where she plays with her two inquisitive daughters, hikes with her husband, and writes about life and faith on her blog: annierim.com. She has taught in the classroom, at an art museum, and now in the playroom. She’s a contributor at The MOPS Blog, the editor for The Red Couch Book Club at SheLoves Magazine, and naptime scribbler.