After a late night on Friday (we hosted guests for supper), we all slept in (needed margin). This meant a slightly stressful rush to get out the door Saturday for swimming lessons. "Getting out the door" at our house means breakfast cooked and eaten, chickens let out, fed and watered, dog out, fed and watered, cats fed and watered, swim bags packed, lunch made and packed... you get the idea. We had exactly ONE hour to mobilize and accomplish that together. It was tight, but we did it. I took the time to prepare myself a coffee for the road (NECESSARY MARGIN!).
Megan's lifeguarding class is 2.5 hours, so we dropped her off first and I took Paige and Reece to buy a birthday gift for a friend whose birthday party is on Sunday. I resisted the urge to run an additional errand as it would have swallowed up the margin that I desperately need. We made it back to the pool for their lessons with time to spare (margin preserved). I drank my coffee while watching the kids swim and had fun texting my husband who is working out of town. It was a nice "visit" while he was on a coffee break (margin).
The kids each ate their packed lunch as they finished lessons and I purposely chose to drive everyone home after swimming in order to give us all a quiet hour before the rest of our busy afternoon unfolded (again, intentional margin carved out). The kids ate a platter of fresh fruit and each took books to rest on their beds for quiet time. I quickly tended to a few pressing chores and then sat to savour a hot cup of tea in peace (more margin).
Rejuvenated, we headed back into the city for an afternoon of kid fun! Paige and Reece attended a Halloween craft/story program at the library while I returned our week's books and chose another bag full for the coming week. I sat for the remaining 30 minutes in the library and read (more margin).
We then headed to a Halloween party hosted by the children's piano teacher. They all got to play a spooky piece, decorate cookies, and play games. I had volunteered to help the teacher out as I live too far away to go home and come back to pick the kids up (while not exactly restful, it was fun!).
On the way home, I drove Megan to her friend's house for a sleepover then brought Paige and Reece home for supper and bed. The oldest 2 boys (men, really) were out at their respective activities and quiet descended upon the house as the dark of night took over. I lit the fire, curled up with a book and the cat and EXHALED. I read for 3 hours and revelled in the peaceful still of night....a truly restorative and restful evening after a busy day.
I've cut my screen time in half and I'm reading more. I'm more relaxed and feeling way less stress. I have "found" more time for crafting and sewing and other activities that I previously "had no time for". I notice things that previously went by unnoticed.... My attention span is longer and I am not restlessly flitting from one activity to another. I'm a better, more attentive parent. All this benefit for cutting screen time in favour of carving out margin.
Best of all? The richest reward of seeking margin is peace and quiet on the inside...
....something we all could use a little more of :)