Life’s Margins Make a Difference

By | January 15, 2011

When I’ve looked in my house this past week, you know what I’ve seen?

Lots of kids—mine and others’. Lots of strewn mittens and coats and scarves. Hunks of wet, cold snow. Christmas stockings still hung by the chimney with care. Boxes of tissue and bottles of hand sanitizer.

We’ve spent this past week as many others across the United States have: snowed in with restless children, fighting colds, and trying to accomplish something in spite of all routine and schedule being turned upside down.

You know what? Aside from being a little behind on some work projects and rather overwhelmed at being talked to and touched all day long by my clingy kids, I think I hung in there pretty well.

Contrary to what my Facebook friends may think (and if I can’t vent on Facebook, then what good is a Facebook page anyway?), I know it could have been worse.

The reason it wasn’t is because I had some “space” built in for interruptions.

To truly give your new year a fresh start, you must:

9. Create margins.

I had a few things in place that worked for me this week.

I’ve created a buffer of wellness.

Yes, I’ve had a cold. But I can remember when colds would knock me out for two weeks. We’ve had our home toxin-free for almost four years now, and I know our winter health is a primary beneficiary. Now when I get a cold, I tank up on Melaleuca’s Activate immunity supplement (part of my winter survival kit prize), guzzle Melaleuca herbal tea, and suck down oranges. I’m better within 2-3 days now.

I’ve created a buffer of simplicity.

So this is still a work in progress, but this year’s Christmas decorations were minimalistic. Their staying up a little longer than anticipated was not much of a big deal because our house didn’t look like Rudolph had thrown up in it.

I caught a quick interview with organizing guru Peter Walsh on Oprah’s show last week. He spoke about the importance of living with less and how children always react with obvious delight when the clutter is cleared. I’m planning to check out his new book, Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less.

I’m creating a buffer of work/life balance.

I have a wonderful job as a part-time copywriter for a local marketing firm. Mainly, I work on projects as the deadlines dictate. My work understands that I am primary caregiver to my three kids and if school’s closed or someone gets sick, I probably won’t be able to make it to the office. But—when there’s a pressing deadline, they know I am willing to go the extra mile to get it done. I love the balance this job affords me, based on relevant circumstances, and not some employee manual.

I’m also working to put more passive income streams in place on line. The more I can beef up this buffer, the more freedom I ultimately gain.

Where do you need margin? What buffers are working for you right now?
In what areas do you feel pushed to the very limit?


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Mary Bernard is a Nashville-based writer and mother of three. She's worked in a variety of corporate and creative environments, but none is more comfortable than the dining room table in her own home. Mary loves to help moms discover God's unique call to look in their own houses for their priorities, passions, and provision.

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