What To Do With Margin

I recently accumulated a little more margin in my life.  Our house is unpacked and decorated.  We started using free Walmart online grocery pickup (life changer!).  Our son is a little older and is now up and awake longer times during the day.  And we have a few commitments in our routine that I feel good about but not burdened by.

So what do I do with this free time that was once spent unpacking, driving into town and grocery shopping, and run by a little one's multiple nap time schedule?  Let's just say time can be taken away very quickly if I am not careful. 

Just a small amount of time has been gained and I see how easily it can all slip away if I am not intentional with how I use it.  Simple things like social media or adding to our calendar start making me feel overwhelmed when I am not paying attention.

So I have been trying to take a breather, take a step back, and focus on how I want to move forward before I just jump into the next thing.

I'm all about lists these days and I started a simple journal this year where I keep all my thoughts.  It has been so handy to come back to things I wrote down so I can remind myself of my goals I have for myself and our family life.

Below my goal list were these two simple verses:

// Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no." - Matthew 5:37

// Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. - Proverbs 22:6

Right now I have a great sense in being very careful with what I commit to.  Over the past few months I have said yes to a few things that I later regretted.  I followed through with my commitments but I kept telling myself I needed to be more careful with how quickly I said "yes".

For now it is better for me to say "no" and change my mind later than to say "yes" and regret it.

The second verse was a reminder of my role as a mother to my son and to look at some of my day to day choices as a bigger picture.  Some of our choices of when and how we are doing things with him are reflective of our overall family goals we have and not just in the now.

Our priorities for our family are for our marriage as well as the raising of our son.  This helps to let go of small milestones he is going through - to not hold so tightly to them and him as a baby.  But to know that the choices we make today are for the benefit of our entire family and our future.

By clearly knowing our hopes and goals for our entire family I am less swayed by emotion, pressure, social obligations, or whatever else may get in the way.  I am not perfect at it, but the simple act of having it written down for me to come back to is huge in helping me follow through and focus.

So what do I do with margin?  I protect it.  I keep it.  I allow for a chance to breathe and rest.  And then I choose wisely what and when that time and energy should get filled.  

I want to be a present wife.  I want to be an attentive mother.  I want to be a faithful friend and daughter.  I want time to be creative.  I want time to learn and grow.  And I want rest so that I can be these things.

Realistically it is a challenge to be all of these things all of the time.  But I definitely can keep them on the forefront of my mind as a reminder of what my true priorities are.