Friday, May 20, 2011


If you're a mom and you have any inclination or opportunity, you really should come to a Power of Moms retreat someday if you can! I'm off to bed, but here are my notes for tomorrow. It's my version of a presentation done by Saren's sister, Saydi, at the retreat last month. I'll never get through it all. 

(Totally random, but my friend who is going with me just emailed to say "What if it's the end of the world tomorrow and we're stuck in Park City?" I was like WHAT?? and she told me to google it, so I did. How FUNNY! So I guess if the retreat goes well, that means I'm not saved!)

I’m going to spend a few minutes today talking about the importance of having margins in our lives as mothers.  
There’s a wonderful book out there called, “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives” and I take this idea of “Margins” from that book. 
What is MARGIN? 
Remember in school how your teacher stressed over and over that you needed to be sure to leave margins on your page?  
It would make the paper look neat and enable the reader to get a clearer, uncluttered message.  
So it is with our lives as mothers.  We need to make sure we build margins in our lives. 
Margin is: uncluttered space and time in our schedules, minds, and hearts that enables us to feel, think, love, reflect, reminisce, anticipate, and enjoy.  Freeing up this kind of space opens us up to those not urgent but utterly important things that can’t be planned. 

It’s ironic that I’m speaking about this today since I just had the most out of balance week ever:  
  • husband out of town
  • youngest got sick
  • end of year craziness: projects/teacher appreciation week
  • that time of the month
  • cold and rainy
  • result? cake for dinner, messy house, staying up way too late, letting kids do whatever they wanted and run me over
But in a way, the past week makes me uniquely qualified to talk about margins, because I was reminded once again just how important they really are!
With all that we juggle as mothers, our lives can quickly become overloaded and we can start to feel frazzled, unbalanced, neglected, overworked, resentful and unhappy.   
Motherhood is not the season for perfect balance.  Let’s face it, we are going to be giving a lot to our children and our families in this stage of our lives.  
We can, however, avoid perpetual overload by restoring margins to our lives.  
How do you know if you don’t have enough margin in your life?  If at least five of these things resonate with you, you may need a little more margin in your life.  (I’m afraid I can identify with more than five!) 

  • I’m not enjoying things fully
  • I don’t have much time to care for my own needs.
  • The people closest to me aren’t feeling loved by me
  • God would have to shout to get my attention
  • I resent people who ask for my help
  • I don’t have energy to deal with unexpected things
  • I feel frazzled
  • I don’t feel present
  • I feel trapped
  • I live on caffeine
  • I’m often irritable
  • I worry a lot
  • I don’t feel like I’m doing the most important things
  • I’m always busy but not fulfilled
  • I get frustrated when the phone rings
  • I take antidepressants
  • I avoid people when possible
  • My brain is tired
  • I forget things frequently
  • I feel like things are slipping out of control
  • I have trouble making decisions
  • I’m jumpy
  • I have trouble falling asleep at night
  • I hate having to get out of bed in the morning
  • I’m in survival mode
  • Sometimes I have so much coming at me that I freeze
  • I have high blood pressure, chest pains or acid stomach
  • My neck muscles or lower back is tense
  • I get headaches
  • I use food to calm myself
  • I don’t care about eating
  • I get frequent infections or rashes
  • My hands perspire
  • I clench my teeth
  • I lose my temper suddenly
  • I drive aggressively
  • I shop compulsively
  • My kids seem to be in the way of what I’m doing
  • I can’t seem to get ahead

Can you relate?  I sure can!  And it’s not a good feeling.  It doesn’t help us as mothers and it certainly doesn’t help us feel good on a personal level.  
But what can we do?  There is just so much on our plates as mothers, and so much of it seems like it can’t be helped.  Or can it? 
Ideas to create more MARGIN in your life:

1) Simplify your activities/commitments/responsibilities

(In other words, learn to say NO! )
Make a time map: You need to guard yourself and your family.  Only let things get on your schedule if they are fulfilling and if they help you toward your goals as a person and as a family. 
I often meet mothers who I sense feel a need to prove how busy they are. Busyness proves worth in their mind. (Case in point: Dads and doughnuts. Do we really need endless extra programs like these at the schools? I often feel like we are just creating more work for ourselves as mothers than necessary.)
It’s a crazy kind of cultural pressure that doesn’t exist in all cultures. We receive messages from our culture that we should be busy, using every minute of our time efficiently for some magically purposeful purpose. The message is that if we can’t do everything and if we’re not always busy, somehow we’re not as good or as productive as others. But the truth is, to have a truly meaningful life we need to do less, and feel/love/think/experience more.
2) Simplify your possessions and your wants
  • De-clutter your home. Minimize your possessions as much as possible.  (This makes life with young children way easier.) 
  • Surround yourself with people who support a simpler lifestyle.  Ignore other people’s lifestyles.
  • Practice contentment. How much time do you spend shopping or thinking about acquiring things? "You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need never satisfies you." (Mary Poppins: Enough is as good as a feast.) We often want our lives, our homes, our children, our bodies, or husbands, our relationships to be different than they are, but contentment is accepting and loving what is. 
  • Contentment with material things enables us to be divinely discontent about more important things. 

3) Simplify your choices and decisions
  • Set time limits for making decisions. About clothes, paint colors, big purchases, weekend plans, etc. 
  • Simplify daily routines, traditions, meals, 

4) Give up perfectionism (Especially the perfectly clean house.) 
  • Brian Kershisnik “Balance comes in neglecting everything a little.” 
  • Don't spend your children's childhood cleaning up after them.
5) Limit your accessibility.
We are always on call for our families and the world:   

      • Cell phones
      • Email
      • Chat
      • Text
      • Voice mail

Plan time in your schedule when you’re not accessible:
a block of time each day/week for you to plan/process/pray/meditate  
Make a rule that you don’t answer the phone, text, check email during these times. A time when you’re inaccessible so that you’re available and present for your family.  

6) Limit Incoming Information (Information Fatigue Syndrome) 
  • Decide which sources of information make your overload worse and which are inspiring, useful and enlightening.  
  • Limit or cut out those things that don’t fulfill a purpose
  • Tune out ads and blogs that make you feel discontent

If you made it to the end: CONGRATULATIONS!  That's all I've got for now. It's a little rough with no wrap up, but I'll figure that out tomorrow . . .

1 comment:

  1. Your presentation was awesome and I am so happy to find it all in print here so I can come back to it-- better than my notes! Margin is a big the-time-is-now idea for me, so I am happy to have a word to identify it and a plan or suggestions to make it happen better! Great job today!


Related Posts with Thumbnails