(my finds from the weekend)

My Facebook status from this weekend read something like this:

Tommorrow- me, myself, and I- coffee and thrifting. ♥ Much needed breathing room!

I had the most “likes” I had ever received on a status update. I got the giggles in the middle of a dusty antique booth as my phone kept making its’ “alert” sound notifying me of another email…realizing how many people were liking the status. I couldn’t decide if that was because you all like thrifting, coffee, and antiquing, or if you all simply resonated with the idea of breathing room.

Later that day, I walked in my wreck of a laundry room turned office- glanced down the hall to the completely non-functional basement/play room, panned over to the garage that was overrun with boxes (from work)…and got inspired. An hour and a half, two hours later, and my entire downstairs space was well on the way to order and usefulness. All I had needed was the chance to change my perspective for a bit- able to come back to this truly pressing problem with clear vision.

It’s making me think. As an artist, I crave margin, white space, and breathing room in what I create, and it feels very strange to me- the work is incomplete or cluttered- if there isn’t plenty of it. I’ve never, ever, felt the need to apologize for that. It’s not like I hand someone a piece I did and say- “I’m so sorry, I just felt like this big swath here was necessary.” It sounds a little ludicrous, actually- to say something like that to a buying customer of your work! Chances are, the reason they are even remotely interested in it is because perhaps they crave margin, whitespace, and breathing room too, and the piece ( I would hope) blesses them with some of that.

Why then, do I feel such shame in needing margin in my life? My job as mama is miles above in importance to my art, and the results are eternal, not fleeting paint on paper- and if I need margin in my art—how much more do my children and I need for me to have margin in my mothering?

I have to back up here a bit. The whole downstairs thing has been weighing down upon me for nearly the entire summer. When we moved into this house in March, I was three weeks postpartum, still quite ill, (and would end up remaining so well into the middle of July), and honestly, could not fathom the wheres and whatfores of how to arrange the new spaces. Most of our rooms sat in a barely unpacked state for months as I struggled to find my footing. It wore upon my creative soul. I delight in nesting and making my space beautiful; to live with blank walls and spaces that did not work for my family was akin to torture.  It affected my work. I could never find what I needed for work- I could never find clean clothes- I couldn’t find any serenity with the tumble-down-ness of the upstairs because we practically lived right on top of one another, all day long. But every time I walked downstairs, I’d just get overwhelmed, and that would discourage me more- needing to do something but not really knowing how or where to start.

All it took was a morning trawling antique stores and flea markets and one cup of coffee. It is making me wonder what other things I’ve shoved up against time and time again that just need a little perspective. And this isn’t about time away from my kids either. I think it is a state of mind, margin in mothering- a place where things have room to breathe. Room to think. I think it goes as much for the children as it does for me. I am really good about making sure that Isaiah gets some quiet nest time because the lack of such is so glaringly obvious as to not be ignored. I am not so good at helping the other kids find that space because they can deal with it if it doesn’t happen….but I am not sure that is a true statement though, because it does “show”…in the long run.

Sonya did a post about Charlotte Mason’s schedule the other day that has woven itself into my thoughts about margin…ways of resting through out the day, both for my children and for me. What are you doing in your days to find margin?


One response to “Margin…”

  1. I love God’s timing… Just today, a friend and I prayed for more “margin” in each other’s lives. For most of us as artists and writers, we don’t get the opportunity to steal away to a studio, so we have to carve out room and time in the same places where we care for our families. It’s hard.

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