Frugal Friday: How to use my time better

It’s the last day of half term and I have finished a week of watching what I do with my time to see if I can squeeze even more into my week.

I made and printed up a week, with each day divided into half hourly slots and tried to keep on top of what I was doing with my day. Well, to be honest, I don’t think I’m wasting a lot of time, but it was a useful exercise to see if I can cram in a little more reading time (now that I can read hehehehe) and some more writing time, so that I can offer more freebies to y’all – or at least a few better written ones as they wont be so rushed.

I really do want to write more (and conversely read more) so that as the children get older I am just a little ahead of their learning and know what pitfalls we will face with various resources.

Using Story of the World for example has been a good lesson for me. I never had the chance to read ahead – in fact I still rarely find the time, and this has meant being caught on the hop when I’m reading to the children and something inaccurate or questionable gets said. It leaves me wondering what has been taught to the children that is plain wrong and I’ve missed it.

Good use of my time would be to read reviews of books from reliable sources.

Time management and how we give time to others is an important part of the frugal life. I have been reading a book on frugal housekeeping from way back when and so much of the advice and ideas given are very time consuming.

In being frugal we have to think about time as well as money, and whether in doing something to save money, we are taking time from those who need it. I think I have heard more than once the view that we are a money wealthy, time poor culture.

The most important time I can spend – it seems to me, after prayer, is the time it takes to give my children as good an education as possible both from my being their mother and ‘teacher’.

Then there is all the keeping house things among which must come some of the frugal with stuff but expensive in time things. We have machines now that save both time and (through being energy-efficient) save money; I am fond of my washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer for all these things.

Myths about time: One of the biggest myths I have heard is that children, especially young ones are time wasters for parents. That is, all that playing and cuddling and answering incessant questions is a waste of a parent’s time.  Time spent being with our children is never a waste (unless you are ignoring them, being rude to them or whining at them I suppose). A mantra was invented back in the 1980s I believe that said all children needed from their overly busy parents was “quality time.” This bizarre (and selfish) view meant that a child would have an appointment booked with his parent at a time suitable to the parent, in which he would receive a quality time of length and activity chosen by the parent.

We know very well, that quality time with children is found by having quantity time with them.

For mothers: time spent only doing one thing is a waste of time that could be spent doing at least two if not more things at once. I have had to learn that sometimes it is better to concentrate on one thing at a time than to make a mess of all three things at once.

Finally there is the matter of giving time to others. This is something more precious than gold to many. If we can give someone our time, to listen, to take the children off them for a while, to just spend time with them (without looking at the clock) Seeing the difficulties that many young mothers face, struggling with little ones with so little support, makes you realise just how important giving time to others can be.

I downloaded a free book recently on being a frugal housewife (19th century) and was struck by the advice to hold off hospitality until you could afford it. As I am also reading a (really badly written) biography of the Ven Anna Maria Taigi who as dirt poor and always showed hospitality I can’t help thinking frugality should never mean only giving of your excess, but to quote Bl. Mother Teresa we should give until it hurts.

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