A few years back, my husband and I were processing the word margin and how since it creates an edge and border to something, then it is also a form of action that is to be cultivated. As business owners, the margins found within schedules have to be an intentional investment to balance out the work and family life flow. It can be a challenge at times to carry out multiple roles in life and figure out where to lay those edges that give boundaries and settlement of spirit.
A way that we have found margin for our yearly seasons is to invest in a “family spring,” where no organized sports are part of the rotating weeks.
It grants us months where our yes/no commitments are able to have a wider range to them, and we are able to implement true rejuvenation and investment in activities that include team building, togetherness, and adventure. It’s a space in the year where we pause together and we invest in different ways to know one another, to be seen, and to allow that investment of heart to also speak into quality time with our community. Family margin season is like a sabbatical amidst the busier flows in other months where we remind ourselves of what truly matters so that when the fast pace comes, then we still stay centered in that flow.
If you are always running on full cylinders, then when do you refuel? For your family, it may not be a full season you are able to set margins to your schedule and it may be those break times amidst the transitions where you can find your pause. Those days/weeks/months can be a lens that is wide open to see what borders give you rest, position, and presence.
Investment in family season is a time when we give the effort to develop confidence in our individual contributions, nurturing authenticity for family togetherness, and support for mind, body, and soul.
Here are some tips that we consider and put into action as we invest in this margin-setting season:
Sunday family meetings (this is a family ritual we do through all seasons).
- We set this space on the calendar, where at the same time and same day every week, we are sitting down and look at activities we have committed to within our week. This gives us the space for creativity to rise as kids voice things they may want to be part of the family meal plan. This season allows for longer cook times and more-involvement-in-the-kitchen kinds of dinners and meals. It’s a fun season to try out those recipes and food-theme nights you can’t always get to in busier seasons.
- This is where you can build in different hobby nights that fit your kids and have a weekly family schedule that gives engagement in those areas (art/painting night, cooking night, hobby night, music night, discovery night, etc).
- Part of meeting time is also relationship building. We talk through any tensions that may be present between any of our relationships and we give space at the table to speak openly with love and extend forgiveness and grace. This helps build into the family habits to stay on the same page together and give peace into our home in a deeper way.
Create movement days.
- Our kids are definitely outdoor adventurers and love playing hard and exploring outside, so that is a natural response for them when they have the hours to do so. This season gives way more simple, child-play moments during the afternoon/ evenings that are a fun reprieve together.
- We plan out family movement days, typically on Saturdays and sometimes weekdays, where we invest in hiking, biking, playing a family sports game, etc. and just letting movement be a connector.
- Date nights – Some seasons are difficult to set aside time to engage in date nights. We do one-on-one date times with the kids, so with spouse dates, it gives us movement to have the margin to rotate them out consistently and more often. We have date night designated weekly and we rotate out who’s turn it is.
- Marriage weekend – In this season, we invest in a marriage retreat weekend time together where we pour into our relationship in intentional, uninterrupted ways.
- Family trip adventure – For the last two years, we have gone to Red River Gorge for some cabin time and family adventure reprieve. You can make this fit within your budget as it’s also a great camping weather time but with sports games being off the weekend schedule, it gives movement to plan for some different day trip exploration together and a weekend investment trip together.
- Community/service days – This season grants our “yes” to spend more quality time with different people and say “yes” as helpers. It’s a refreshing season to feel more “yes” moments received within our margin and allow investments for others to be a fueling part of our season.
- This is a season where we get to support friends who have different things going on and on the sports fields and pop around cheering teams on when we get to check out some sports games together!
- Spring cleaning – This gives us some margin days to schedule out project time at our house and deep clean areas that help the summer/fall months feel prepared and ready to be lived in, even with more momentum on the schedule.
Do you have a season in your year that you are in this family investment time? If not, do you have some break times that you can be intentional to set margin together?