When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy

11 November 2008
I want to write a bit more about time management. It's an important part of living simply and if you get this right, you'll make your life easier.

If you've been reading here for a while you'll know I often write about finding a balance. For me, time management is the tool I use to find the balance between work and play. It's important to know that if you give yourself too much play time, you won't have the time to do the work you need to do and, of course, the reverse is true too - working through the day with no rest or time for yourself isn't healthy. You need to find the balance that suits you.

This is me at work yesterday. I had to take a photo for the local paper and this was one of the rejects.

My life is pretty easy and relaxed now that my boys have grown and moved away. Now it's just Hanno and I, and our chooks, dog and cat. But there was a time when I felt like I worked from sun up to sun down, plus some. Luckily I realised early on that I needed to look after myself too and I made sure that I always gave myself time each day to sit and relax or do something that enriched me. I made time available to myself, I didn't give it all to my family or my home. I gave the gift of time to myself because when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. And when I write mama, I mean papa too.

If you work day after day doing only for others, no matter how noble and useful that makes you feel, it will eventually weigh you down and you'll begin to resent it. It is very important for you to nurture your family, but it's also very important to nurture yourself as well. You have to find something to renew and enrich your spirit every day - that may be sewing, having a cuppa with a good book, prayers or meditation, having a nap, writing or painting, soaking in a hot bath with cucumber slices on your eyes, doing your nails, writing letters, taking the dog for a walk or knitting. Whatever it is must give you joy so you go to bed each night feeling you've done your best in your chosen work - be that at home or outside the home, and that you've given time to yourself to be you.

It doesn't have to take a lot of time, but if you use your time management skills, you'll be able to juggle your time to make available what you need. And this is something I found worked well for me - I told myself that I appreciated the time I had for myself. I actually said, sometimes aloud and sometimes silently, "this is good, you'll enjoy this", or "ahhh, I really need this time today, I'll make the most of it." Whatever it is that you say to yourself, say it so you mark your time as being separate. Acknowledge your enjoyment - it makes it more real.

While time management is a big subject, the steps towards managing your time are all small. Start off with your list of "to dos" for your day, make sure you have your time in there too and refer to the list in the previous time management post. Always remember we aren't managing our time so we are slaves to our work - we do it to work efficiently, to get our necessary work done and to give ourselves time to relax and do what we love. I can't tell you what it is you'll spend your free time on, only you know that, but I will tell you that if you give yourself that time to do something you love, it will make a significant difference in your life.


  1. A great post - a great reminder. I always fail in this area. I feel guilty when I take time for "me" and yet I know that it is important. Something I gotta work on.

  2. I have just cancelled, before I read your post, everything outside the home for this week as I need time to catch up with chores and somewhere some time for me to sew. Then I will feel renewed and refreshed. Karen.

  3. This is a great post and I'm thinking of printing it out and sticking it on the fridge where the rest of the family can see it!

  4. I agree entirely, yesterday after work I went and had a pedicure because I was tired and needed to relax for an hour or so before commencing my teenage chauffeur job, cooking and so on.

    I cam home feel far more energised and cheerful as a result.

  5. Thanks Rhonda I think we all need to think consicously about this every day. I like the little affirmation idea it makes you pause and really think about the minutes ahead.

    I know what Karen means I am so relieved this week to have a whole four days stretching out in front of me where I can regroup and catch up and relax.

    you are so wise - bless you - reading your blog has become a peaceful moment in my days I really appreciate it.


  6. Ah, a great post Rhonda and so timely for me!! This Mama ain't happy and I have been feeling very overwhelmed and is comes across negatively in so many ways! Between job and home seems everyone needs something from me. I am still struggling to find the balance. Thank you for another wonderful post and for giving me something to think about!!
    Central Illinois

  7. Thanks Rhonda....and what a wonderful picture of you

  8. Another great post Rhonda, I have been feeling quite low and run down lately. We have been living on a small budget this year in a bid to eventually get debt free but it does get you down after a while. No treats or holidays etc. So I am going to try to find something free that I enjoy doing, like a long guilt free soak in the bath etc. Thanks for your nudge in the right direction.
    May I also say that you look beautiful in that photo.
    Big hugs
    Steph xx

  9. the idea of time managment is a great one, only for us right now we have so many medical issues with our grand-daughter that lives down the street, its more of a just do what you can when you can. We live simply, but with our married children living close, there are always surprise visits, meals not planned and so many other wonderful events. I am feeling blessed to get work done in the garden and feed the animals and ourselves : )

  10. Thanks Rhonda for the encouragement to look after ourselves.

    By the way, I think the photo is lovely.

  11. My goodness -- time management is one of my worst abilities. I do quite well if I am organizing a trip or a project but in daily life... my mind wanders. I am easily distracted and suddenly time has passed and I've accomplished only the first few of my tasks.

    In summer, I am sort of manic with gardening and canning. When winter arrives, I find myself leaping from one thing to another without any hope of being able to concentrate.

    I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get into a good rhythm this winter. I'll keep yo posted on my progress!


  12. Rhonda, very well put. Am just catching up on your posts and was sorry to hear about the health issues within your family. I hope that your DIL and Hanno truly are doing fine now. I will put them and your cousin in my thoughts and prayers. The growth in the garden looks wonderful-and it's always great to see the pictures of everything. You are so correct in your thoughts on time management-it's so easy to get sidetracked! Hope Hanno and you are well!

  13. Thanks for the reminder, Rhonda! With Christmas coming up, it's easy to feel we have to do everything for everyone, and forget ourselves. I'm trying to be more relaxed about the things I have to do this year. Your blog is always inspirational.

  14. Its easy to put ourselves last,yet we are the hub of our homes :o),we need to keep healthy & happy.Its hard for me sometimes to get time to myself,yet I am always aware of the importance & the need for it.Its harder now its dark & winter,but in the longer evenngs,when the girls were tucked up i would go off on my bike or running,I have lost a lot of weight doing ths too which has had the knock on effect of making me much healthier & with lots more energy.It was time just for me,quite lovely!
    GTM x

  15. Oh, Rhonda, you can't imagine just how timely this post was for me .. after a weekend of feeling resentful and tired! Just one of those weekends I'm afraid, but your words are so true, and I'm going to take time today to write down some "to do's" and then ... some time for me!

    Your photo is beautiful - I wish you lived just around the corner, then you could pop over for a cup of tea!

    Willow xx

  16. I have just reclaimed some daily "me-time" in the form of a walk. It helps me lose weight, get fitter, lowers blood pressure, I can think problems out, and I feel SO good when I get back (endorphins and all that).

    Now I just need to organise the chores side a bit better - it is easy to say "tomorrow" when things don't HAVE to be done today. I have a PhD in procrastination . . . and yet I can be incredibly organized when I have to.

  17. Great post Rhonda and very well timed for me. I decided this weekend I'm going to be kinder to myself and do more of the kinds of things you desrcibe. I tend to forget myself. I've given myself until the end of the year to figure out what works best and to use a moment on Sunday to make a list for the week with all the things I want to do.


  18. I hear you! I have to manage my time between my mother and two sons with wives. Lately, I've found myself cooking MORE! No good until I thought of cooking alot at once. Duh! Life is back on track and I can get in my favorite hobby...sewing! This girl is on a happy track! Take care.

  19. very well said and so true..I never do it this, and get very haggard and stressed...I am doing better on that front now..
    you look beautiful..

  20. Thankyou for this Rhonda. Someone told me yesterday that 90% of the stress in your head is expelled through your hands (something like that, I am paraphrasing), which is very similar to what you are saying - everyone needs to do something for themselves, especially something creative and hands on.

  21. My problem is that, since we both work outside the home, there is only the weekends now to work on our at home to do list. We try to carve out time to relax, but if we get ahead time wise on something, we feel guilty not going on to another thing on the list in the effort to whittle it down, because as you know, the to do list never goes away.

    I used to have 'me' time. Then I got married! (laughing)

  22. This is very timely, at the moment I've worked straight for 11 days with at least 4 more days before any chance of a break. Don't know what next week will bring but I know that in 2 weeks it will be all over and I'll be back at home fulltime. I will say it's mostly been enjoyable with only a couple of "why am I here" stints tossed in.



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