That’s how I feel at least. The demands of being a mom and teacher to my kids, plus the maintenance of owning a home and a dog, often times leaves me toppled over. That’s when I resort to re-organizing my schedule to see where I’m blowing my time budgets. Still, no matter how I try to spend within my means, I’m still exhausted.
So I’ve decided, rather than look at my schedule and see if activities/assignments/chores are properly allotted, I need to make sure I have a nice inflatable pillow at the end of my rope so that when I topple over (because I will!) at least I will have some cushion.
Build Margin to Life, not Balance
1) Work in 90-day intervals
Busy schedules leave me drained – there’s just no way around it. Sometimes life is just fast paced no matter what you do – or don’t do. For the long-term, we’ve found we can handle about 90 days of intensity. Whether it’s an extra work project for Adam that requires him to frequently leave earlier or stay later or a sport season, 90 days and we’re ready for a break. It’s time to schedule a camping trip or weekend visit to my parents in Arkansas to intentionally change gears, slow down and re-focus on our family without the natural distractions of daily living. In other words – a comfy place to land.
2) Unplug and freely enjoy the time off
I can feel guilty for needing time off. I think “If I was stronger, like Marci, I could handle this load without getting tired.” Faulty thinking, I know, but honest. I felt guilty just this week about buying a $50 pillow so my neck and shoulder wouldn’t feel disjointed each morning due to improper support. I’d buy it for someone else no problem, but for me, I feel the money is better spent elsewhere. Jesus often took breaks. We all need them. Here is your certificate to a buy a comfy pillow to land or sleep on, even if it’s $50!
3) Set margin on a weekly basis.
It begins to affect our family when we’re going different directions more than two evenings a week. Sometimes things come up and we do, but on a consistent basis we stick to this. For when we let it slide, attitudes decline, mom feels rushed and grumpy, and dad feels lonely and neglected. Look at the week ahead. If you see it filling quickly with appointments, school activities and extra loads of laundry, why not intentionally leave a day free of hustle to allow yourself some pillow time?
Even with our evenings at home, my days can be packed full. Last week was one of those. Seeing my Friday was completely clear, I did something I don’t normally do – left it that way. I needed a day to stay in my grungy, around-the-house clothes, and have permission to NOT be focused on anything. I was able to spend some quality one-on-one time with each of my kids, instead of dragging them around like dead weight. It was wonderful!
So when life’s plates don’t all spin evenly – when days are full of good stuff but just leave you exhausted – look for a soft place to land. Curl up with a good book beside the lake, or in a quiet room. Grab a cup of coffee with a friend, share lunch with your hubbie because life is more than just keeping your balance!
But don’t forget, if you plan on getting real comfy, you might need a friend to help you up when it’s over!