168 Hours

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I stepped out of a banquet just this past week to a phone call from home. When I answered, a 4 year old on the line was crying and in tears said, “Mommy, I want you home. I miss you. Come home now.”

I felt it— heart crushing, my breathe got heavier, and standing in front of a crowd onward looking, I shoved back the tears to comfort my little girl missing Mommy at night time.

We talked about how I would be home the next day, would pick her up early from school, and all the fun things we would do together during that time, including making a heart cake for Daddy for Valentines Day. It seemed to help; she shortly went to sleep and I went back to the banquet.

The next day, I picked her up from school earlier than usual; we got ice cream and chatted all about how music came from the ceiling in Culvers, how we could be welcoming to a new friend at school, and why the words “farting” and “tooting” aren’t the best to use with strangers (LOL… this is a daily conversation so…..)

AND WHY ARE YOU SHARING THIS WITH US? This seems kinda sad, then kinda happy, and not really sure the point.

168 hours, that’s why.

As moms but also as employees, spouses, dads, sisters, volunteers, brothers, daughters, boyfriends, girlfriends, sons, friends…. the list goes on…… we go through those moments. Of a searing guilt or maybe shame of what we are doing vs. not doing. Some due to good decisions and some due to poor decisions. Either way, it’s hard. We all know we get 24 hours in a day and that’s it— to make good choices, use time and other resources in the best way, likely make mistakes, and then use the next day to grow. I am learning that while the 24 hour rule is true, it has been more helpful to think in terms of 168 hours. If you looked at Day 1 of the story above, I was rocking my work responsibilities and failing as a parent. If you looked as Day 2, I was rocking mothering and failing to create a new idea or project at work…. or going on a date with my hubby……or volunteering at church…. or……

But by viewing the week with a 168 hours approach, the pendulum does swing more in some directions. Some days are fuller with one particular role in my life or a couple. Or maybe DAYS are full of just one. Then there is a shift to another, then another, then another. 168 hours allows for more creativity, less guilt, and a broader view on life and roles and actions and takes a bit of the sting of a 4 year old calling with sniffles away because you know that those other hours are coming for quality time in that area.

I hope this framework can help encourage you in your roles as a young professional.

For more information on thinking strategically with your 168 hours/week, check out this resource.