Christy Wright - Take Back Your Time

Christy Wright is a personal development expert, best-selling author, speaker to Fortune 500 companies, and she is also the child of a single mom. Christy shares that being raised by a single parent has shaped her in profound ways. Christy has seen that many single parents live with an undercurrent of guilt. When one parent carries the responsibility for the care of their child, they often feel the need to compensate for any potential harm or hardship because the other parent is less available or absent. This guilt is common, but Christy says she is who she is because she was raised by a single parent, not in spite of it, but because of it. She attributes all her success to being raised by a single parent.

Christy experienced her mom waking her up early to take her to the bakery where she made cakes for a living and Christy saw how she responded when she got a flat tire in the rain. Each of the struggles they faced together taught Christy about resilience, perseverance, persistence, work ethic, and character. As a result, Dave Ramsey recently shared that “Christy doesn’t give up” and she doesn’t take no for an answer. Christy knows without a doubt she is who she is because she had a mother who would not take no for an answer and that would not give up.

Often, single parents don’t realize the resilience, strength, and fortitude that their kids are learning as they watch them push through the struggles of parenting alone. Christy shares that kids become what they see their parents doing. Parents don’t have to sit their kids down and verbally tell them about developing character, integrity, work ethic, and perseverance.  In her own life, Christy saw her mom living out those qualities and they shaped who she is today.

Studies show that facing challenges in childhood teaches kids how to overcome obstacles later in life. When kids are insulated and raised in a bubble, they don’t learn the same lessons. So, single parents, take heart, your kids are gaining valuable skills as they watch you!

Christy is a certified business coach, and her success has been remarkable. The most common question she gets as a coach is “how do you balance it all?”. She tackles this question in her newest book, “Take Back Your Time”. Christy shares that many people think the solution to being balanced is to do more, be more productive, to work more, to work harder, to do it all better and be more efficient. We try that and end up exhausted, not more balanced.

Christy realized we are asking the wrong question. What if balance is not something we do but rather is something we create? How do we find balance in an out of balance world? What if balance is being at peace, being confident in your choices, being proud of how you spend your time? Balance is not about super-productivity. Christy says balance isn’t doing everything for an equal amount of time. It’s about doing the right things at the right time, and you get to decide what those things are. When you do that, you start to feel balanced, but it’s not because you did everything. It’s because you determined what was right for you and you did those things. That’s a very different result and it’s a different path to get there.

For single parents living under many demands and responsibilities, where do we start the process of taking back our time? Christy says single parents specifically cannot let others decide what is right and important for you. You must ask yourself, “What is right, right now?” You can ask this in the context of whatever season you are in with your kids and where you are in your life. Maybe at the start of fall, you decide not to sign up for a ton of fall sports. At the beginning of your week, you can decide not to fill up your evenings with extra events. At the start of a day, you can choose what is right for you that day. You constantly give yourself permission to decide and adapt to what is happening in your life and what you need to do for that day, that week, or that season.

A key is recognizing that what is right for you right now may look vastly different for what is right for someone else right now. As single parents, we may need to lower the bar and stop comparing what we can do to what someone else can do who has a partner to help. Single parent life balance may mean the house isn’t clean and dinner isn’t home-cooked. Lower the bar! We must become comfortable knowing that what may be right for someone else is not right for us right now.

Christy says, “So much of the pressure we feel is pressure we put on ourselves. God never created you to walk around with a tight chest and a narrative that you’re failing, because you’re not.” Single parents often feel this pressure to do more and be more to compensate for what their kids don’t have but we can’t make up for those losses. Our kids need a present parent not a perfect parent. Single parents must get in the rhythm and habit of asking what it is that we need to do right now and not compare ourselves to anyone else.

Christy uses the question, “What is right right now?” in her own life to find balance and to shake the guilt of not doing more. This summer her house was clean, she worked out, and she spent time with family and friends. A lighter schedule with less demands meant she could do those things. This fall is different. She is going to seminary, she just launched her book, and she has three kids under six years old. What’s right for her right now is focusing on those three things – seminary, the book, and her kids. This means she is not spending time with friends, she is not working out, and her house isn’t clean right now. In the past, not doing those other things might make her feel like a failure. Why couldn’t she fit it all in? She couldn’t because she shouldn’t! Doing it all is not right for her right now. What is right is honoring the priorities and needs of the season she is in and focusing only on the things that are most important right now.

This question, “What is right right now” can guide us through a season, through our week, or through our day. It can alleviate guild when we can’t do it all or get stuck thinking we should be doing more. Some things are right right now, and others are not. When Christy walks through her living room and has to step over toys, it reminds her that cleaning her house is not right for her right now. Instead of beating herself up over it, she reminds herself that she is keeping up with her reading for seminary and she can feel good about that because it’s right for her right now and cleaning her house isnt. Prioritizing what is best for us right now helps shake off the guilt and allows us to enjoy and be proud of the things we are doing that are right right now.

As single parents focusing on self-care, Christy says we have to redefine what life balance is and what it looks like.  The world says balance is doing everything perfectly. This is impossible, but we can achieve balance by “doing the right things at the right time” which is how Christy defines life balance. While the world’s standard is impossible, we can be balanced in God’s will, in being at peace with our choices, and by being a balanced person.

The steps to do this are:
Decide what matters
Stop doing what doesn’t matter
Create a calendar that reflects what matters
Protect what matters – set boundaries and say no
Be present for what matters – show up for the important things

You can apply these steps to determine how to do the right things at the right time in any season, short or long term, for new circumstances and for new events. As life changes, different paths are needed. We have permission to change our priorities and determine what is right right now at any time. Being balanced means being balanced in this season. There is an ebb and flow to life, seasons come and go. Sometimes our lives change, and we may still be living by old priorities that don’t apply the same way anymore. We have to acknowledge we are in a new season and adapt to it. We can’t do all the same things we did before, and we feel pressure about it. We may be pulled in multiple directions and realize it’s time to change what is important for right now. We need a new list of what matters for every new season.

Being in balance is not a myth. It can be achieved when we redefine what balance looks like. Balance is not doing everything right now and doing it all perfectly. Taking back your time is all about redefining your priorities and choosing what really matters to you. We need to consider balance by Christy’s definition, “doing the right things at the right time”, in every new season of life. When we decide what matters, stop doing what doesn’t, create a calendar for what does, and then protect and be present for those things, we will find better paths to self-care. Committing to our priorities allows us to walk in God’s will, to be at peace with our choices, and become a balanced person, however that looks for us right now. Love yourself well and take back your time! Reclaim it for the things that matter most.

Get Christy’s book, “Take Back Your Time” at major retailers. Follow her on Instagram: @christybwright.

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