Making Time For You, Inspired Reading: The Fringe Hours

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: The Mom Creative Blog

 

“One always has time enough, if one  will apply it well.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are you like me? Do your days move at warp speed, and by the time you catch your breath it’s midnight? Adulthood can feel like one long string of obligations, especially for women.Beginning in childhood, society says put yourself last. As kids, how many of us played with dolls that cried or needed their diapers changed? Before we knew ourselves, we learned to care for others – starting with the toys.

Even in the 21st century, with more women in leadership roles, our culture continues to revere a kind of femininity rooted in service and selflessness. Yet moments spent alone pursuing those passions that nourish our souls rejuvenates us. We become better mothers, wives, friends, siblings and professionals. Why? Because there is time to see us fully – not only the roles we fill. I know, you’re thinking, who has time to write poetry, paint, or hit the gym for yoga class? I’m running a household and managing business obligations.

Well, the truth is you and I have more time than we realize. While reading one of my favorite blogs, (in) courage me, I discovered a new book, The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner, mom, blogger, crafter and marketing professional. I wanted to know more. Where are these hours? How can I discover and maximize them?

Fringe hours are small pockets in our days – early mornings before the house is chaotic, lunch breaks, nap times (for stay-at-home / work-from-home Moms), or evenings after the kids fall asleep. These are opportunities to transform mundane moments into periods of creation and growth.

How do we get there though? Well unlike other books tackling time management, Turner doesn’t start out by giving us a system to implement. She urges digging deeper with some critical questions: What stops us from putting personal time at the top of our lists? Do obligations to everyone else feel more important? It is vital to examine these self-imposed blocks.

The late writer James Baldwin wisely said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Balance, then, is at the core of fostering time for ourselves. I hear you mumbling. Who ever achieves this? Well, one of the lessons I am beginning to learn is balance changes all the time, its constant shifting and negotiating, but without it, life swallows us. Here balance is defined in a way rarely heard: “emotional stability (how does what we are doing make us feel) + a satisfying arrangement of elements.”

Essentially, is the calendar full of draining responsibilities, or have you found a way to make self care a priority in the midst of it all?  Oh, yes. Its one area of constant push and pull for me (and I am sure lots of you, too); giving ourselves permission to enjoy me time minus the guilt.

There are clear areas of focus on the road to a more fulfilling life, Turner insists: “Understanding self-care habits and identifying your passions and available time are just the first steps to living a life that prioritizes you and your needs. Once you commit to this lifestyle, embracing additional practices such as prioritization and accepting help can make a huge difference in your well being.”

“Busy people get things done.”
Trudy Leocadio (my very wise Mom)

This is a book full of actions, daily steps we can begin taking to discover fringe hours (track your days for one week) and maximize them (learning to say no, and being prepared to use unexpected time, i.e. long waits at the doctor’s office by keeping your journal, iPad, etc. on hand). Each chapter concludes with a few sentences of motivation to elevate our spirits and assure us others join us in the journey. There are gems of wisdom like this:

“You can organize your time in such a way that prioritizes yourself. Sometimes this means saying no or skipping dishes. Creating boundaries with our time and in our relationships is an important and healthy way to live a life that models self-care.”

I urge you not to stifle your gifts because you wear so many hats. We all deserve a full life, one where creativity, joy and freedom flourish. Getting to this place takes some work, and once we are there, it’s about maintaining boundaries, and consistently reminding ourselves that we matter immensely. But it’s worth all the struggle and organization. God did not create us to blend in to the world, but rather to ignite it with our light and purpose. Your legacy matters. Start building it, minute by minute, today.

Connect with the video series of The Fringe Hours on YouTube.

Originally published in Beautifully Said Magazine, the September issue.

Inspiration for Your Ears: From Podcasts on Blogging to Empowering Videos

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I’m always learning, and I love to share! So this is the beginning of a series called “Inspiration For Your Ears.” Each Saturday I’ll post inspirational content I discover online.

Here’s what I am listening to this week:

Gabrielle Blair (Design Mom) talks successful blogging, motherhood, mental health & living with intention.

My BFF and blog contributor, Shannon, recently turned me on to the awesomeness of writers / coaches Abiola Abrams and Amanda Elise. They have put together amazing videos about stuff like clearing clutter to make room for abundance and manifesting financial breakthroughs.

A thoughtful conversation on She Does Podcast (which highlights creative women in all forms of media) with actor and writer Caitlin Fitzgerald (best known for her current role as Libby on “Masters of Sex”).

Must-Read: Smart Women, Smart Choices by Hattie Hill

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I am convinced, great books find us. Oh the euphoria of connecting to words which resonate so deeply with your own experience. A few weeks ago one of my best friends, Shannon (former Live In Color co-editor) blessed me with two books. One of them, Smart Women, Smart Choices: Set Limits and Gain Control of Your Personal and Professional Life by Hattie Hill, is transforming the way I think about lots of stuff.

Hill, an entrepreneur, international speaker and consultant, lived the lessons of this book, and after the dissolving of her first marriage, she reflected inward: “When did I cross the line from smart, independent woman to one whose cape was so weighted down with others’ concerns that I could no longer fly? In fact, I could barely walk.”

It’s taken me years to admit this to myself, but I am a pleaser, easily placing other people’s needs before my own. Yes, I know it’s detrimental, but until now, I had no concrete language for understanding these choices. With each section of Smart Women, Smart Choices, Hill helps me confront pieces of myself.

We meet women who do it all, and fit into various roles: “the juggler, ” “the achiever,” “the doer,” etc. Yet each shares a common trait, in addition to caring deeply for others, they carry them, shouldering more than their load with co-workers, friends, children and spouses. Oh, how well I relate!

Hill, though, is not satisfied for us to simply observe similarities, she demands change. At the end of each chapter there are questions and exercises. Clearly, we must do our work.

I am ready. For me, 2014 is about clarity, and doggedly removing obstacles which impede growth. Currently, because of my own busy life, I read a little at a time. Here are some of the passages that stand out:

Superwoman is a myth. No longer is stronger, faster, better, the formula for success in living a meaningful life. Women must discover a new way of meeting the overwhelming demands of modern times and that requires new choices.

We need to differentiate between carrying and caring.

Caring is an act of love. Carrying is a misuse of love.

Control is the illusion that we can make everything happen to perfection if we keep a firm grip on the reins. We really don’t trust anyone to get the job done but ourselves. As we take over the controls, either subtly or overtly, we begin to carry.

Loving starts with ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, we cannot love one another.

Live In Color! – Emelda