When referring to the margins of time, I am talking about the small snippets of time that you find, for yourself, throughout every day. It is the times in a day when you are not consumed with household tasks, kids’ activities, job obligations, balancing dinner preparations for friends, while helping your toddler find better ways to “cut” vegetables, and sitting down to listen to how your husband’s day was. Honestly, for the longest time, I thought that those times just didn’t exists. But, they do. You just have to look carefully.
Why is it necessary?
First and foremost, it is necessary to find these times, on the edges of a busy schedule, to take care of yourself. It is absolutely vital that you take care of yourself, so that you can better take care of your family and household. As wives and moms it has become second nature to take care of our husbands and families first. So much so that we don’t even think about it anymore. It seems utterly selfish to take time to just sit and process through the day. Never mind taking the time to finish reading that book or go to the gym (because you’re just too tired, or there’s just never time) or have a cup of coffee – uninterrupted, and, and, and.
Essentially this implies that you might need to find time, either before everyone wakes up in the morning, or after they go to sleep at night. Now I definitely do understand that this sounds a lot easier said than done. Let’s face it, after a long day of being pulled into a million directions, the last thing you want to do is stay up after everyone goes to sleep. It sounds MUCH better just to go straight to bed (without taking a shower, without washing your face, without brushing your teeth). But, trust me, in the long run, it’s not.
- Take a deep breath.
- Make yourself a cup of tea.
- Sit down for five minutes to drink it.
- Take deep breaths between sips.
- Read a few pages of your book.
- Take ten minutes to plan the next day.
- And then, JOURNAL.
Ultimately, finding time to breathe in the margins of time, is not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of creating space for your family to flourish.
Finding time for me
Depending on the age of your kids, and your profession, finding time for yourself will greatly vary. The way that you find time is not as important as the fact that you find the time. Finding time for yourself is something that you have to be very intentional about, otherwise it will never happen.
For example, I’ve started (and am trying to keep it going) to get up just half an hour before everyone else in the mornings. It is so important that I go into the day with the right mindset, and honestly that cannot happen when I haven’t spend some time to journal and pray. I really need to align myself to the truth about myself before I can start the day.
So, what does that look like practically?
- Get up at 6 am.
- Make a cup of coffee.
- Grab my journal.
- Curl up on the couch and just start the conversation.
It’s amazing to see how these times have been blessed. Sometimes I really need an hour to just vent and talk, and then no one wakes up before an hour has passed, or I simply wake up half an hour earlier. See, the thing is that the Lord really knows our hearts and what we need, and it’s amazing to see how He opens up time when we actually make the effort to get up!
Another way of finding time is to utilise the time that we do have. For example, if you have to wait for your kids at school or sport, take the half an hour that you do have, for you. Read a few pages of your book or simply get out of your car, find a spot outside to sit and just breathe in the fresh air – it will do you wonders.
I think that we’ve become so hooked on being busy and organizing things that when we do have the time, we just don’t use it wisely. We’re on our phones replying to all the messages that we haven’t had time for during the day, scheduling meetings or coffee dates or dinner appointments for the next two weeks. But, if you schedule time for all this admin at the beginning or end or your day, you’ll have time while waiting for your kids to sit outside and just breathe.
We’re masters at organizing things and schedules for our families, yet somehow when it comes to scheduling time for us, we’re beginners…. The point is never to be selfish or to come to a point of neglecting our families. The point is that we need to make time for ourselves to breathe and to be you, so that we will be able to be attentive and present to our family and others.
Superwoman doesn’t exist. At least not in the long run. When we try to be everything to everyone, we end up burning out, with absolutely nothing to give and no strength at all to pull ourselves up again. We end up being nothing to nobody. The day only has so many hours, and in that time, it is crucial that you also take time for yourself. If you don’t, things will start falling apart around you real soon. I don’t mean to be negative, I’m just being real.
Taking proper care of yourself, lies at the core of the stability of your family.
I would love to continue this conversation, so let me know what your experience has been, in the comments below.