Feeling the Time Squeeze

Last time, we introduced you to this diagram that provides the background for our “balancing family, work, and church” discussion.


The categories on the left represent life before kids.  We have our personal time; hobbies and other interests.  We have our work commitment, time as a couple, and spending time with friends.  Other categories are our extended family, ministry pursuits, and some time for margin in our lives.

What I tried to show in the drawing is how all those areas get squeezed when the kids come along.  One of the few exceptions is our work.  That time requirement generally stays the same after the children arrive and I showed that with the thickness of that category staying the same.  But what about the others?  We are just going to have less time in them.

For example, when I was in college I did a lot of reading.  When our family was growing, I probably did not read one book a year.  That is just a snapshot of how things naturally change when you are raising a family.  There will be less knitting, less fishing trips, fewer dates, and fewer outings with friends.  This change is not a bad thing, because someone new is in your life.  The key to health in these areas is that while they cannot stay the same, you do not want them to go to zero either.

Thinking about just one of these areas for example, if you let your time as a couple go to zero in those busy years with children, what will life look like when you come out the other side; when the children leave the house?  There will be no spark, no fire, no romance, and you will look at each other and wonder, “Who are you?”  No, we cannot let these areas go to zero.  So how do we balance the “they can’t stay the same” and “they can’t go to zero”?

We will talk about some practical ideas to do just that…next time.