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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

making time for YOU - book - The Fringe Hours

This book has been on my "To Read List" for a while now and I finally got to it… in the best timing, too! I needed to take some time to sit and read something all about making time for ME. The fact that I read this book while sitting at the like, watching my kids play with their aunt and uncle, was so fitting. ME time, Fringe Hours, CAN fit into our busy mom lives. It's true.

This is a MUST read for all moms! The Fringe Hours is all about finding those spare minutes and time in your busy motherhood days to take care of YOU, the busy mom who thinks she couldn't possibly take time out of cleaning, cooking, driving, caring for and being the Super Mom that she is. Spending time on me, the busy mom? I couldn't possibly. Well, this book's wonderful author, Jessica Turner, says YES, you can. And I totally believe it.

I've always lived by the notion that "you have time for what you MAKE time for." If it's important, you'll do it. If it's not a priority, if you don't MAKE it a priority, it'll be last on the list. 

You know I'm always telling you about this on my blog and especially on my Instagram @themommystories where I started the #momMEchallenge last year, encouraging you to take time out to take care of yourself or do something JUST for YOU instead of always being everything to everyone else. We need to practice self-care. I've told you this, and now I've found this AMAZING book here to guide you in HOW to do that, despite how busy you are.

I'm SO happy to feature this book on my blog! I highly encourage you to pick it up ASAP and put your feet up, pour some lemonade, and just relax, soaking it all in.

Book image from

The Fringe Hours - Making Time For You
by Jessica N. Turner 

The author first did a survey including women from every state in the country, of all ages, experiences, etc. She includes survey responses in the back of the book, which were interesting to read. This book is not just a how-to, but it gives great suggestions on exactly where you can find some more time in your day to put yourself first.

I love everything about this book! It's very inspiring, hands-on, easy to read, and practical, yet motivating and uplifting. All moms need a good read like this. This is THE book of the year for moms, I swear! 

Turner stresses that if we do not care for ourselves, then we cannot be good caretakers for our children and families. "…because I work hard to remember my own needs. Because if I lose sight of myself, the results are a downward spiral that ultimately impacts all the other areas (and people) I work to serve." (page 43) 

Women tend to be the caregivers to everyone - not just because there are kids around, but it's just in our nature to be the ones doing it all and giving all of ourselves in the process. Turner referred to this phenomenon as "pleasing everyone to the point of emptiness," (page 41). I'm sure we ALL can relate to that.

It's important to remember we can only do what we can do. And taking care of ourselves FIRST will help us to do what we can do better. 

"Life is not perfect. You are not perfect. But you are a glorious creation, and your life is meant to be lived with joy. Some days you aren't going to get your makeup on, you will burn the cookies for the school bake sale, and you will spill wine on the rug. In our mess, God makes us strong. In your glorious imperfection, you can still shine beautifully bright. Embrace that truth. Stop trying to be everything for everyone and start investing in who and what really matters." (page 50) 

I loved the chapter about "Eliminating Guilt and Comparison." That is SO something we moms need to do! It doesn't make sense how awful the mom judging can be sometimes. Turner explained that one reason why women don't spend time on themselves is because they feel guilty, like they are "supposed" to be doing something else to keep up with Mama Jones. 

"As women, we often let guilt control what we do. We become controlled by what we are 'supposed' to do, instead of embracing the fact that it's okay to leave the vacuuming for another day so we can go for a run." (page 56) 

I've felt this so many times. For me, it was about crossing off that to do list, not because I felt like I had to keep up with other moms, but because I had to keep up with this busy life and if I stopped for five seconds or really 30 minutes then something bad would occur. I think I was worried the ground would come out from under me if I spent time on whatever I wanted to do, like I'd never catch up again. I felt this way when we had our first son and he was crawling around. I was diligent about sweeping the floor every.single.night. Or else. My husband could not understand why I could not just leave it and come relax and watch TV instead.

When our second child came, I realized I could NOT ever keep up like I used to… and that is when life became so much easier to manage - by letting things go because quite frankly I was forced to, and by making sure I had ME time. I realized that I NEED ME time. I could not be the good mom I was with #1 child when #2 came along because I was twice as tired, losing steam, and just could NOT keep up like before. And that's OK. I never feel bad about that now. I wish more moms could realize that this is OK. I think that is what Turner's book is all about, and I believe it really will help moms get to this realization. 

"Self-care needs to be included in what you should be doing. It is not a privilege. It is a necessity. For many women, every time they choose themselves over the laundry, the dishes, the kids, work, or their husbands, they feel guilty. This is an awful way to live." (page 56) 

Turner offers many specific ways in which we NEED to start taking care of ourselves, and exactly how to do that. 

"You are never too busy to make time for what you love. It's just a matter of prioritizing - evaluating how you spend your days and dedicating time for what you value. It something is really important to you, you will find a way to fit it into your life." 
(page 83)

So what are fringe hours anyway? 
Turner refers to fringe hours as "those little pockets of time throughout the day that often go underused or are wasted altogether. If not intentionally redeemed, fringe hours slip through one's fingers like sand." (page 84) Surely you can find some moments like this in your day, right?! 

Here are a few ways Turner suggests to start to find some time in your day:
  • Say NO. Don't take on so much, don't commit your time in every single moment. Leave time for you. 
  • Get up early - before kids are up. This was a big one Turner said she does. She said she used to wake early when the baby wasn't sleeping through the night, so now that the baby is sleeping, she still gets up earlier than the rest of the house to do her writing and other crafts. 
  • Ignore cleaning at night after kids are in bed. It can wait! 
  • Decrease things that distract you like social media (do you need all those apps anyway? unfollow people on Facebook, etc.)
  • Stop comparing yourself to the moms on TV or at school or on Pinterest. You don't need to "keep up" with anyone else. Your lives are different. 
  • Remember what matters: kids won't recall how clean the house was, but they will remember how you spent time with them or that you were a happy, patient mom from getting time to yourself. (page 83). 
  • Prioritize. Do what is important to you. 
  • Be prepared - the author explained how she loves sending note cards (something I used to do and totally intend to do again now after being inspired by Turner's ideas!). She keeps blank note cards in her purse so that when she's waiting for an appointment she can write a note out to a friend. She keeps a book with her in her car so if she arrives some place earlier than she needs to be, she can read even for 5 minutes. 
  • Utilizing every minute - even standing in line at the grocery store, reading for a few moments will help you get caught up on the books you love. 
  • Shift your focus from "I have no time" to "there is time to be found," Turner wrote on page 87. 
  • Be efficient- even on the busy days, find some time for you. 
    • "Every day, even on my busiest ones, I do something that I love, just for you. Finding even five to fifteen minutes for myself translates to me being a happier me." (page 155)
  • Ask for help! You can certainly find more time if you ask your partner to help out with chores or teach your kids to sort their laundry. 
  • Let it wait/go. It can WAIT. It's OK. Get to it later. 
"Making time for yourself is incredibly important. When you pursue your passions regularly, your life perspective will gradually shift. You will slowly begin to see life with eyes of optimism and gratitude, because you are living full of hope, wonder, and joy." (page 91) 

"The goal of using your fringe hours well is to take time to do something that rejuvenates your soul." (page 92) 

Turner suggests a starting point for figuring out where you could find some time in your day for yourself is to track your time and how you spend it now. 

"We are all busy. The heart of the fringe hours is finding underused pockets of time in your schedule and utilizing them for yourself. As you begin to practice self-care in small increments, you will likely begin to carve out larger chunks of time for yourself as a regular part of your lifestyle." (page 114) 

It's important to avoid the excuse that you are too busy. Everyone is busy. We all could say that. And it's true. We ARE busy. But not TOO busy to care for ourselves in small increments. If we continue on this path of not caring for ourselves, not filling ourselves up frequently, we will run out of steam, be impatient and exhausted, not be the fun, cool, productive mom we want to be. I firmly believe this, and am so grateful that Turner has finally put this into a how-to guide book for moms to get on the bandwagon of caring about themselves as much as they care about their families. 

"Our days are busy. But that doesn't mean we can't make ourselves a priority. Every one of us has fringe hours available to us. We just need to uncover them. And it's important that we do, because practicing self-care is essential not only for your own well-being but for the well-being of those around you as well." (page 129) 

Turner offers many questions at the end of each chapter in her book that help guide you to figuring out what is preventing you from spending time on yourself and exactly how you can find more fringe hours in your personal life. 

She provides three core questions that help guide you to more fringe hours and time well spent: "Do you choose joy? Will you celebrate your victories? Are you thankful?" (page 241) 

Turner does such a great job encouraging moms to go out there and do something for yourself. I felt like she was my personal cheerleader, helping me see that YES I DO have fringe hours, moments in my day where I can spend time on myself. 

"Making time for you is healthy, invigorating, inspiring and necessary. Crack open that book. Go for a walk. Paint that blank canvas. Breathe in the world around you. And whatever you do, savor the beauty of what makes you uniquely you. You are worth it." (page 247) 

My favorite part of the whole book was on page 249, The Fringe Hours Manifesto. Such a great belief system to focus on as a busy mother. It's not impossible to feel like you put time into yourself. You are allowed to enjoy moments to yourself. It doesn't make you a bad mom, in fact it makes you a better mom! 

Turner wrote about things that we believe in the Fringe Hours Manifesto:
  • that we need to make time for ourselves.
  • in letting go of self-imposed pressures. 
  • that pursuing our passions is life-giving and life-changing. 
  • that spending five minutes doing something we love is better than wasting that five minutes. 
  • in giving thanks.
  • that life is not perfect, but beautiful. 
(Page 249) 

This was a wonderful book, well-written, inspiring, motivating, and at the same time easy to follow and grasp onto the concepts outlined in it. I really think this book would make a wonderful baby shower gift or for a mom who is about to have her second child or a mom just going through a tough time. It's a great read! Such an important message that we need to care for ourselves before we can care for others. 

Remember to follow me on Instagram @themommystories with the #momMEchallenge, and now let's add the #fringehours to encourage Turner's ideas also.

If you post on Facebook or Instagram, or comment here on the blog below with the #fringehours and #momMEchallenge showing me a picture or explaining what you have done lately for YOU, to take care of your body, mind, emotions, health or just sanity, something you've enjoyed, etc. I'll enter you into a drawing for a FREE copy of The Fringe Hours book! I believe this book is so powerful and helpful to moms that I'm willing to send you a copy that I purchase myself. Enter the contest by August 2nd! 

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