Finding and Embracing Margin in Motherhood


This chapter is speaking to my heart, deeply.  I am such a control freak and realize that perhaps God’s way of getting in under my skin and helping to refine me is giving me the gift of mothering this sweet 4 year old little boy whom we’ve adopted and who has totally SHAKEN up my life!!!  {Yes, even after 3 years it is still shaking me up!!}

I realize that I often miss so many chances to just be in the moment because I am set on keeping things going and having a routine.  Don’t get me wrong, routine is good, great actually, but not allowing yourself to break from it can be a really bad thing.

I need to allow myself to be more in the moment, and break from my “schedule” of what I think needs to get done, be done or wish I had done.

“We need the perspective that the moment we are in is just as important as the moment we planned on that didn’t happen the way we thought it would.  Think about that for a moment.”

Those moments which comes into play that we can miss if we are too busy and overwhelmed, I admit….I often miss them and shoo them away because of my effort to accomplish more.

I think it is my DNA, as Jill shares – that tasks actually take priority over people and that is so backwards!  I need to keep focused on it being the other way around, where people always take priority over tasks.

Building Margin

I am working toward the sifting out of unneeded tasks and duties which can clutter my calendar.  I tend to have a list that is too long and truly unrealistic to complete.  Then I can get pretty darn negative on myself about not completing the list, but if someone else looked at the list, they would understand that it is highly unlikely anyone could get all those things done. 

I have unrealistic expectations on many levels.  I need margin.  I need space in my day to be able to feel good about taking a break and walking outside to look at the ducks with my little one, or to break away for an hour lunch date with my hubby, even when I feel so overwhelmed with tasks that I see it as a frivolous activity because of the other seemingly “more important” tasks.

But is is people over tasks, I must remember that as often as I can.

As I venture off for a few days to the Hearts at Home Conference, I am taking a look at the book Jill mentions in the chapter, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Dr. Richard Swenson.  I will have some “margin” time on the airplane and this will be a good place for me to start.

“Most importantly for an imperfect mom living out her imperfect days, margin is essential in handling the twists of everyday family life.”

I love the reminders given:

Trust Experience – being realistic with the time is actually takes to do tasks and/or arrive at destinations, always allowing for the unexpected.

Set Boundaries – having a set criteria around your time and what you will commit to and what you will not.  What adds value to your day and what takes away from your day.

Say No – this is always a big one for us mom, we want to please everyone and we are often the ones that feel like we suffer, but in fact I think it is often our families.  We just cannot do everything and the sooner we realize that the better it is for everyone.

Increase Time – so true!!  Whenever you have something to complete always estimate it will take longer than you think, always!  When you finish early you will be rewarded with a bit of extra time.  Love that.

Decrease Activities – this is my favorite and one that I have held dear for many years.  I love allowing my kids to have fun and do activities, but too many and it can ruin family life.  We can be a family so much on the ‘go’ that we are never home to enjoy our home.

Out of the questions near the end of the chapter, which spoke most to you?  For me, it was pondering, “What is I learned to accept the world as it is, rather than being frustrated with it, stressed by it, mad at it, or trying to change it into what I want it to be.”

I am writing that down to help remind me – Lord help me.

Next week we are doing two chapters in one week, so you will surely want to begin reading chapter 8, as we will discuss that on Tuesday and discuss chapter 9 on Thursday.  Have a great weekend!

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