I have been following Jessica Turner's blog, The Mom Creative, for quite a few years now. She is real and honest, has very similar interests to mine and I always find her to be encouraging. In fact, she is a regular contributor to the (in)courage writing community has a real gift for writing. She works full time, has just expanded her family to three small children and is always sharing really great crafting and general lifestyle information n her blog.
When I heard Jessica was going to write a book about how she "Does it all" (hint: she doesn't). I was beyond thrilled, because although I know there is no woman (person) that can do it all, all the time - she seemed to have a pretty good handle on how to mix her busy work and home life with her passions such as blogging, crafting & memory keeping. I was even more thrilled when I was one of a few hundred to receive an advanced reading copy of the book to review and provide feedback.
Let me tell you, she most certainly did not disappoint. Jessica's new book, Fringe Hours: Making Time For You is set to release to the public today and I would run, not walk to get your copy. The whole book is filled with practical and encouraging advice about how to make the most of your day. In this book, she doesn't encourage us women to get up earlier just to be more productive, but rather find pockets of time to pursue the passions we already have inside of us that will improve the overall quality of our lives, and in turn the lives of those around us. Those passions and pockets of time look different for each of us, but after reviewing this book, I am certain that each of us can attain a new level of fulfillment by being fully present in those Fringe Hours vs. wasting them.
The book is beautifully structured and written and in each chapter there are questions listed along with space to provide your answers. It is almost like a book & journal in one. I love that Jessica's goal was not solely to get you to read her book, but take the time to slow down and honestly consider its content. Ironically, I had to get very creative with my Fringe Hours just to find the time to finish the book, but it was a good object lesson and eye opening for me just how many "want to" things I could get to in a day as well as choosing which "need to" things I could let go for a bit.
I tend to be a go-getter and a perfectionist about a lot of things. Working part time, blogging, volunteering, raising three (almost four) active children with busy schedules, remaining attentive to my husband and our home takes more hours in a day than either you or I will ever have. Historically, I have been the woman that sacrifices sleep in order to get it all done or runs at break-neck speed for extended periods of time and I am always the one to suffer. I put myself on the end of a long list of priorities and have considered "self-care" a selfish notion. What I am learning, and Jessica is sharing, is that self-care is not only unselfish, but essential to living a life of joy and peace. My family, friends and social circles will reap the rewards of my life well lived if I take some time throughout the day to nourish me.
The whole idea of Fringe Hours is not have a "me first" attitude, but to be okay with "that can wait" from time to time. If I have to let the dishes sit overnight so that I can craft in the evenings, my morning will be better for it and the dishes will be much less daunting. If I have five or ten minutes while I wait for an appointment, my time will be much better spent by pulling out a book that I love than burying my face in social media and zoning out. Fringe Hours really are about prioritizing the things that nourish you. Taking advantage of those small pockets of time as well as occasionally rearranging your schedule a bit to spend hours or even days focusing on something you love can be extremely beneficial. Whether it's training for a running event, getting monthly massages, having coffee with a friend or just spending an afternoon wandering second hand stores alone, these acts of self-care are both necessary and beneficial.
Reading this book has encouraged me to slow down and really think about my day. More often that I'd like to admit my crazy type-A perfectionist approach to life has left me wounded, bitter and tired. My body shuts down and there are real, tangible health issues that leave me down and out and the emotional toll isn't any less devastating. You can't serve water from a well that has long since dried up. The tag line for Jessica's blog is "a life well-crafted". That is the type of life I want. One that has room for all the people I love, doing the things we love.