Finding Time

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How often have I wished that I just had a little more time?  A very little would suffice.  I’d just like to finish reading that book I started months ago.  I’d just like to write a handwritten card or two.  Perhaps a nap?

But life is so busy, isn’t it?

Sometimes I feel as though my life is just consumed–not with grand things, but with little things.  Running to the bank, the post office, Target, the craft store.  And then there are the “activities.”  I’m sure your kids have them too.  They either have Scouts or swim or a book club or baseball or something, right?  Well, I have five sons and our activity is Kung Fu.  I have an almost brown sash, a green sash and a purple sash in my house.  Twice a week I take them to their class and two or three hours later I pick them up.  That gives me a little window to do all my stuff.  I say a little window, because this is Los Angeles.  It takes time to get anywhere and to do anything.  I usually spend those hours running errands.  By “errands” I mean grocery shopping.

See, prior to starting The Provision Room I would menu plan a few days at a time–a week tops.  This required a lot of trips to the grocery store.  Thankfully, there is a Trader Joes right down the street from Kung Fu.  Twice a week, like clockwork, I’d be there getting provisions for a few days ahead.  This takes more time than you’d think.  I have to take the four kids who are not in class in and out of car seats, drive to the store, and then find that elusive parking space.  Seriously, the master planners at Trader Joes think everyone drives a Prius.  Creeping my 11 seat Suburban into one of those spaces (if I can even find one) is one of the most stressful moments of my week.  I know my blood pressure must go up 10 points.

Then it’s in the store during the busiest shopping hours of the day–the time everyone is off work and hungry.  And if I have to hit more than one store, which is often the case, you multiply this scenario by 2-3 more shops.

By the time I get everyone and the food back into the car and back to Kung Fu my time has melted away.

However, in February I embarked on this once a month meal planning and one big shopping trip a month.  Guess what I found I saved?  Money, yes.  But equally important to any mother–TIME!  I saved TIME!

Today I took my boys to class and realized that I had nothing else to do.  I did all my grocery shopping for the month last week.  I did not have to go to the grocery store.  I could sit, talk with the other parents at the class, or *gasp* finish my book!  I actually sat there, nursed the baby and read a book.  It was lovely.

“Life does often get in the way of one’s reading.”

(Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson)

What would you do with an extra 4 hours a week?

Would you finish a craft project?  Call an old friend?  Read the classics?  Spend some quality time with your son or daughter?  Get a date with your spouse?  In all our planning, we cannot measure success merely in terms of dollars and cents.  We also have to measure success in terms of minutes and hours.

It’s astonishing what a little planning can do.  The extra time was there all along.  It was just hiding.  One menu planning and list making session plus one big shopping trip has purchased me my afternoons.  *sigh*  Delightful.  I should have done this sooner.

“Someone once asked Dad: “But what do you want to save time for? What are you going to do with it?”
“For work, if you love that best,” said Dad. “For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure.” He looked over the top of his pince-nez. “For mumblety-peg, if that’s where your heart lies.”

(Cheaper By The Dozen by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey)


  1. Yes, time is the more valuable commodity, isn’t it? We can always make more money.

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