Time is our most valuable resource

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

It was a simple piece of paper, splattered with yellow and orange ink and a stick-figure drawing.

But it was just the thing I needed to read this week as a hectic work schedule and juggling of activities had me worn out at both work and home.

My daughter presented me with a drawing she did of her interpretation of me. My round face has a yellow bow on top of it and my orange dress comes to a perfect triangle shape. My arms, with two fingers each, are extended in the air that is filled with yellow hearts.

“To: Mommy; From: Elsie; I love you!!”

That small drawing has really changed my mindset in the midst of balancing all kinds of “to-do” lists out in my head.

Hanging out…my time with my kids is far more important than money and material things.

I am guilty of feeling that I can make up for my time at work or my time spent shuttling my kids to a variety of extracurricular activities and sports by buying them something. Granted, a treat or toy is fine as a reward. But I have to begin setting a boundary for myself.

Like most mothers, I am exhausted by the time I get home from work. After checking homework, cooking supper, cleaning the house…all I want to do is get in my pajamas and fall into my recliner.

And I am being honest with you my readers…my go-to answer to occupy my children? I promise them a new toy or something like that if they behave themselves for the rest of the night. Maybe I will pay them to let me relax for a little bit.

Shameful to admit, but true. I have a tendency to “buy or bribe my kids” constantly.

After reading Elsie’s short but powerful drawing, I am going to try a little harder at home to put away my checkbook and start opening my arms more.

It was Abigail Van Buren who said, “if you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.” That quote stuck with me that afternoon after I received Elsie’s note.

Sure, I have a demanding job that needs to get done. But I would like to start leaving my work at the office and not let it sink into my home through emails and constant stress. When I arrive in the door of my home, I should be there mentally and physically for my children.

Working long hours can bring a feeling of financial security. And granted, let’s not deny that the money is needed to survive. But I should be willing to sacrifice those materials items.

The best thing I can provide to my kids is not the latest video game or Lego set. The best thing I can give them is my time and love.

I know I will fail again. The temptation to grab my wallet will almost certainly happen.

But like most Mommas I know out there…I’m trying. I don’t have it figured out. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. But I am trying because I just want my kids to be happy and loved. And yes, turn out OK.

Elsie gave me a lesson I needed to hear. That small girl is smarter than I thought. She actually seems to have more brains than me sometimes.

She taught me it’s better to provide than spend. And time is the greatest commodity.