Making Space in Our Schedules

For a girl who normally works part-time with an occasionally extra shift here and there, a few photo sessions sprinkled in during the week and volunteer time taking the rest of my “work” time, last week kicked my butt. I crammed all my work, plus extra, into seven days. Sure, I get eight days off now for a family trip, but I was a hot mess after my long stretch. Working early morning and long days, enjoying a holiday and attempting to snuggle with my girls whenever possible before falling asleep, lead to pure exhaustion. I was able to finally reflect on how loosing blank space in my schedule depleted my resilience.

Listening to a book about carrier choices and finding what we are driven and passion about has been helpful this week to reignite my focus. In the initial chapter of You Turn, by Ashley Stahl, she talks about blank space in her calendar for self-care, regrouping and finding herself again. In all honesty, I had kept most of my calendar a blank space yesterday. My house being a disaster, I rescheduled plans to entertain friends at my house. We met for ice cream instead. We are headed out of town so my girls are out of their minds with excitement and anticipation. My girls missed me during my long stretch of work, so they were glued to me. Don’t get me wrong. I love them and I love being with them, but when I need a few minutes to find my space, my two little mini-me daughters don’t understand this.

Add on top of my needed space, my disaster of a house and my exhaustion from 72 hours of work in 7 days, my girls were in moods. I apparently was also in a mood. By the time I sent them to bed I had asked my oldest to stop talking so many times…something I rarely do. Her birthday is two months away and you would think we had told her she would get the mood. My youngest threw a few fits. We had to rise to the occasion for her dance class (first one I had attended and she had been too nervous to go in without me). We managed to go shopping, pack our bags and get chores done, but the space I had intended turning into chores. I was even more exhausted by the time I sent them to bed. My husband asked why I sent them to bed so early (summer bedtime is more relaxed) and I replied, “the day just needed to be over”.

I know I am not alone. We can talk a good talk about boundaries and self-care, but some days it just isn’t possible. I am learning more and more that resiliency is a good talk when we don’t have to go home to little ones or a relationship which needs our attention. As I get into her book, Stahl talks about boundaries between work and life, and life and work. Being able to guard our emotional health as we put everything into our work. I am eager to learn more about this as I work through her book. Finding the balance between who we are and what we care about while choosing to keep enough boundaries is something I need to keep learning.

Today I went for a walk first thing to clear my head and make sure my stress cycle could be complete. I put myself together (put some make-up on) and went through the schedule with the girls. I asked my babysitter to stay later so I could have an hour to myself. I started the day with a healthy breakfast, and finally, didn’t miss the coffee I used to start my day with. My outlook is better and I am ready for the day. I’m excited about the work I do have today, and I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with you.

Resiliency is a work in progress. Some days, however, just need to be over. It is not because it’s lousy to live. It’s just because we are tired and grumpy, and we can’t seem to turn it around. Chalk it up to a day and plan to restart the next one with a new outlook. Find gratitude for what you do have. Tell a friend or the people in your house something you love about them. Start fresh and plan some space in your calendar to be with yourself. Figure out how to make it happen and keep the appointment. You are just as, if not more, important than everything else on your schedule.

Let’s keep at it together. I’ll let you know how I’m doing with it! Have a great day!

-ST

Published by Stephanie Trowbridge

Follower of Jesus. Artist. Wife. Mother.

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