The Bible tells us that “time is a vapor,” and no area of life is this truer than in parenting. And yet, when we moms have three or four preschoolers, toddlers, and babies under foot all day with no adult companionship for ten or twelve hours, time seems to move in slow motion. If only we could fast forward twelve years from now and see how deceiving those “long days” really are. (Then come back to our days with our “littles,” of course!)
If we realized how fleeting time with our little ones really is, we would not think twice about the amount of time it takes to tend to them, teach them, play with them, care for them, and more. We would think it was a drop in the bucket compared to our entire lives.
The same is true of all parenting. There simply isn’t that much time—at least not nearly what we think there is. In terms of parenting my seven children during their “childhood” years (birth to eighteen years), I will have a total of thirty-six years of parenting. Okay, that sounds like a lot…but it isn’t! We only have eighteen years per child—not very much.
How much time is too much to invest in parenting? I mean, real time—not time that the kids are in church, or at school—or times that we watch them play sports or do gymnastics (though supporting them in their activities is crucial too—I told you parenting is really, really hard work!).
For us, we have decided that no amount of time is too much. Nothing we could give up to focus on our children is too much—not an expensive home, a large salary, evenings spent doing what we would like to do, television programming, church activities, hobbies, Saturdays at the golf course or the mall—nothing.
We will not do everything perfect. We will make mistakes. We will fail our children unknowingly many times simply because we are human. But we do not have to fail in areas that we know we should do—for us, these areas are planning the training of our children and spending whatever time it takes during their growing up years.