Do you ever feel like there is so much to do, and you literally spend yourself out doing and doing, until you look at your spouse or your child or your own face in the mirror and think, I have absolutely nothing left?
I find myself there repeatedly. Especially in this season of being pregnant and exhausted, plus balancing marriage, motherhood, and work, there is this feeling that there is so much to do, and no time to do any of it. For the first six months of this pregnancy, I had no energy at the end of the day. None. I felt accomplished if I managed to make dinner or put in a load of laundry. Heck, I just hit week 30, and I still feel that way.
I could make pregnancy my excuse, but I tend to burn the candle at both ends anyway. If I wasn’t pregnant and falling asleep earlier simply because that’s when my body shuts itself down, I would be spinning myself out staying up late for one reason or another – could be a project around the house, cleaning, freelance, or other work.
Right around the middle of January, after too many moments of reaching that point of nothing left, I began to realize that something had to give. And just in time, the every-amazing Jessica Turner released her book, The Fringe Hours.
Women tend to be natural givers of themselves. We give to our families and friends; we nurture relationships; we give of our talents and abilities; we give because we see a need. So many reasons. We give until we spend ourselves out. The Fringe Hours is about what happens when we give until the well is dry and why it’s so incredibly important to carve out time for nurturing our own hearts through self care and making time for our passions.
I am so grateful for this book. Reading it along with the Bloom book study helped me re-center and reprioritize at a really crucial moment personally. I needed help. I needed someone else to call attention to my blind spots and give me permission to make changes that I already knew I needed to make, and I needed some wisdom and ideas on how to get the ball rolling in areas that I struggle with over and over. I also needed the encouraging word. Because yes, no matter what roles and responsibilities any of us may have, we still have God-given gifts and callings and talents that should be nurtured.
The honest truth is that making life changes is never easy. Figuring out how to prioritize self-care is hard, but it’s really, really important, and worth every bit of effort. The one change I’ve made that is sticking is getting up earlier so I have some morning quiet time all by myself for devotions, prayer, reflection, reading… just, quiet. For me, this is between 5 and 5:30 am. I have to be in the shower by 6, so getting some “productive” time in or exercise as well isn’t exactly feasible — or at least, it’s not happening yet. That’s okay, though — I’m finding that even just prioritizing quiet time every morning is making an impact on every aspect of my life.
It’s a starting point. I’m more aware of fringe moments and being prepared to take advantage of them. I have a list of other ideas as well — some are working, others, not so much. Every woman’s life is different, and whether everything works or not is somewhat beside the point — just the exercise of trying things and making time for self-care and my passions is incredibly valuable.