Make margin in your days.
I was listening to a podcast I love, and the host asked the interviewee, “How do you handle the unexpected being a working mom with four kids, a husband, busy job, and a house to take care of?”. The interviewee responded “I have margin built into my day.”, a simple but lightbulb piece of advice.
The jest of what she meant is that she tries to have time in her day that isn’t planned, that has nothing. Literally, like the blank spaces along the edge of typed paper….there isn’t anything taking up that particular time.
If you’re like me, you’re thinking “Oh yeah, that’s easy to make happen (eye roll, eye roll, eye roll)”. With an almost 18 month old, a husband, family, church, a career, my own business, house chores, and the list goes on…that could just NEVER happen. Most of my days just roll into the next when I’m waking up all hours of the night to pee (hello, final trimester).
Having margin built into my day is a fantasy. Then I started really thinking…for me, margin = efficiency. Maybe I can’t carve out “empty space” in my day, BUT I could make my days easier on myself. I really started analyzing the things I HATED, or always fell behind on getting done. I realized, most of those items had to with house chores. Between chasing a toddler and keeping him from near death at any moment, trying to prepare dinner, and decompress from the day…once I got home from work I didn’t have the time or energy to stay up late and get my house in order. And I know you may be thinking, oh big deal….so you don’t get your house clean…it’s just the season of the life you are in. Yes, there are other more serious things that could be neglected, but for me, I realized that a dirty home makes me INSANE. It actually mentally changes my mood because having to look at the mess makes me anxious, annoyed, and feeling stressed.
My attitude being crappy, makes me short with my husband and feeling resentful towards him because in my head the scale is tipped, and I CAN’T DO IT ALL, HELLO!!!! Unbeknownst, to my sweet husband, he is coming home to a bear cave, and he hasn’t even stepped through the door yet. I don’t want to be like that. Remember, being a healthy family means wives and husbands must put each other before all the junk. We need to support and love each other.
See how this snowballs?
Insert operation, GET THE FREAK EFFICIENT! I narrowed down to several things that just really get on my nerves. Dirty dishes, messy living room, not knowing what’s for dinner, and running around like a crazy person in the morning trying to get all the things ready to go and out the door. From that point, I had a list and committed to myself to make those annoyances DISAPPEAR (abra kadabra, be gone!). It was hard at first, but I made a rule that I would not go to bed until those four things were done. And like I had hoped, my daily life changed for the better!
The greatest thing was that the unexpected could happen and I had what felt like margin for it. I hadn’t realized before but the pressure of a messy home kept me from experiencing other things. Subconsciously, I felt like I couldn’t spontaneously meet friends for dinner, have people stop by, or just do random fun things because my house wasn’t clean enough or I felt guilt from neglecting my chores. It was a weight on my shoulders, I didn’t even know was there.
Building margin can develop in many different ways, and can look a little different for each of us. We all have responsibilities and we have to consciously adjust how we maintain them when life begins to get chaotic and a little out of control.
DON’T PURSUE PERFECTION!
We can’t begin to pressure ourselves into not dropping the ball here and there. Give yourself grace and know that time is precious. Don’t feel obligated to push life into certain boxes or perceptions. We never know what’s around the corner, so take the present at face value and leave the rest behind!
This is an affiliate link (you can read my full disclosure here) for a book I CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT! You will get so much insight into yourself and where you are at RIGHT NOW. READ IT!