The Margin of Motherhood

Are you trying to fit in 100 things at once?

Are you seriously busy?

Is your schedule fully booked?

Are you always late?

Is there a niggling feeling that you never have enough time?

Do you wish you had 20 more hours in your day?

Is a good sleep becoming an optional extra?

Do you only text because you don’t want to have a conversation?

When you have a conversation do you get a hundred texts? Are you are a mother?

As a wife and mother of four children with a home to maintain, a home business to run and homeschool lessons to supervise and teach I am busy. Then I can add in the extra responsibilities to my extended family and church. My life could run me ragged and it wouldn’t care.

But each year I get a little better at “fitting it all in” and it’s not just because my kids are getting older.

Yes! boundaries are good

People often think it’s because I set good boundaries; in other words – I’ve learnt how to say “no”. And that is definitely a part of it. I have pruned down my to-do-list of what I will do and I’m learning not to feel guilty about it. I don’t get involved in everything at church –I’m selective. I don’t go out as often as I’m invited. I don’t let my kids go out as often as they are invited.

And I have learnt to set a margin

I am not a scheduler. I’m a big picture girl and in my life I know that there are many things that I haven’t thought about finding time to do. So I have an equation in my head that I apply and it’s think what you have to do and how much time it will take and then double it; for me that works.

Giving up to achieve your goals

I know when people just tell you to do less you probably just switch off because I know that you don’t want to be doing as much as you are doing. However I encourage you to pull back and assess what you are doing and how you can give yourself the time you need.

Andy Stanley calls setting a margin, giving yourself breathing room and I thoroughly recommend these talks. You’ll need 30 minutes for each talk but they are well worth it. These videos are the most wonderful sermons on making room for your life. I encourage you to listen to them.

Read essentialism if you need some help deciding what’s gotta give.

Planning for peace

Frazzled days can become a normal experience if you let them. However when you leave some margin or gaps of spare time you can leave room for the unexpected: a call from someone who is in need, a longer wait at the checkout, a child who wants help with a particular activity. Margin allows you to say yes to the unexpected!

John Mark Comber also has some great encouragement.

Permission For Mother Time

When you’re homeschooling, caring for your family is a 24/7 job. If you’re not cleaning the house, preparing meals, or doing the washing, then you’re probably supervising homeschool lessons, running kids around or organising the family schedule. And of course there are the commitments outside the home as well. It never stops!

It’s not uncommon to see a homeschooling mother who always puts herself last, even going to the doctor, eating healthily or having friends can be pushed aside for family needs. However there is a great difference between looking after yourself and being a selfish homeschool mother  and homeschooling when you are sick or stressed out. And we need to make that distinction and give ourselves permission to look after ourselves. Being the family lynch pin can be very exhausting. And without some intentional strategies it isn’t long before we can find ourselves running on empty.

Unrealistic homeschool expectations are often at the route of many of our frustrations and in my early days of homeschooling I found myself quite vulnerable to them. I learnt I needed to give myself permission to set boundaries.

Finding Mother Time With Kids Always There

These days it easier to find time for myself than when I had babies and toddlers . Sure my kids are older but I’ve also become older and learnt how to make sure I find the time to recharge my batteries.

Let Me Teach You A Saying

I have a little saying that is very liberating. When I say it I am reminded that I make choices in my day and I can be intentional with how I spend my time. Unfortunately Super Mum guilt trips are always competing for attention but this little saying helps drown those out. So what’s my phrase? It is this –I give myself permission; this is how I use it.
10 Things I Give Myself Permission To Do.

  1. I give myself permission to stop work each day. Just like your family have a knock-off time I set one. I use that off work time to pursue some things I want to do.
  2. I give myself permission to let the house get a little messy. Let’s face it a Super Mom’s work is never done, and if we got everything clean in our home that we knew needed doing we would never rest.
  3. I give myself permission to say no. We don’t have to do all the things asked of us.
  4. I give myself permission to have a rest or even a day off. Sometimes you really need some time out. It’s not a sin to have a sleep instead of doing the dishes or to spend a day by yourself. Plan it!
  5. I give myself permission to read books that nourish my mind and soul.
  6. I give myself permission to watch a movie and read books just for fun. BBC period dramas are a must in my repertoire.
  7. I give myself permission get an education also. While I’m teaching the kids I also need new ideas and encouragement.
  8. I give myself permission to have friends and spend time with them. If you don’t feel like you have any friends make time to find some. We all need friends.
  9. I give myself permission to have an interest that isn’t about the kids.
  10. I give myself permission to have a Sabbath rest day and for our family that is Sundays. On that day there’s time for Church and rest. There is no school work, no washing, no major cooking and no cleaning.

Give Yourself A Mother Time Permission Slip

I know that it’s often easier to read about taking time out than it is to actually do it.

Can you give yourself permission to make some time for yourself?

Here are some wise words from a veteran homeschool mum of seven kids.

“Do not let the daily grind of laying down your life make you forget what really makes you come alive, because that is what your children need MOST – a mother who is truly alive to God, to them, and to herself.” Interview with Elizabeth B.

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