Life in the Margin

19 Nov
Life in the Margin

I was so busy last week, I never had time to mop my kitchen floor. I won’t get into the details (not of the busy-ness nor of the dirty floor), but suffice it to say, it was all my fault. Let’s blame my artistic (okay, flaky) mind, shall we? I simply forgot something very important, and I had to get it done—fast. Some of you may be thinking, “You have a job, a house, a husband, and three teenagers. Aren’t you always that busy?”

Nope, I’m not.

Nothing raises my anxiety more than having too much to do and too little time to do it. And when the things on my list affect other people—like the editing jobs that piled up last week—my anxiety goes through the roof.

I like to have breathing room in my schedule. Despite the fact that I spend a lot of time in my pajamas (one of the perks of working from home), I’m not lazy. I don’t watch TV or hang out on social media all day. No, I write fiction, critique friends’ manuscripts, edit novels, and write blog posts. And I usually have time to make dinner, take the kids hither and yon, visit with friends, and check in with family.

Last week, when my 13-year-old wanted to chat, I had to say, “I’m sorry, buddy, but I have to finish this.” When my husband told me about something that had happened at work, I barely glanced up from my laptop screen, offering the occasional, “Uh-huh” in response.

And what did I miss? Conversation. Connection. Life.

Life happens in the margins. (Tweet this)

At least a lot of it does. I really enjoy my work, but I love my family. Sometimes, work will get crazy, but if my life becomes so busy that I don’t have time for the people God has blessed me with, it’ll be time to rethink what I’m doing. Because my husband, my kids, my extended family, and my friends—they matter, even more than mopping my kitchen floor.

How about you? Do you have trouble keeping margin in your schedule?

Do you have any tips on how you manage to keep margin in your schedule?


Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. She is the author of two books, Faith House and One Christmas Eve, both Christmas stories. Read excerpts and find out more at her website.




Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Parenting, Robin Patchen, Writing


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10 responses to “Life in the Margin

  1. Pegg Thomas

    November 19, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Good reminders, Robin! My house often goes neglected in favor of family or friends. I have no problem with that! But I can fall into the pattern of putting other things first if I’m not careful.


  2. Jericha Kingston (@JerichaKingston)

    November 19, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Oh, this is timely, Robin. I confess, I have trouble with this one. Sometimes I wake up earlier to do the necessary so I can move on to the significant.


  3. Candice Sue Patterson

    November 19, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Yep, this is me. Always trying to figure out how to better manage my time, but I haven’t discovered the secret yet…


  4. Linda W. Yezak

    November 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Family does come before mopping floors. And scrubbing toilets, and vacuuming carpets, and dusting spider webs off the ceiling. That’s why I love ’em so much. They keep me from having to do things I don’t want to anyway.

    Good post.


    • Pegg Thomas

      November 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Good point, Linda! But I tend to let other things get in the way, even church, sometimes!


  5. Quid Pro Quills

    November 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I’m with you there, Linda. Whatever it takes to avoid that vacuum. I tell my husband the most beautiful sound in the world is the sound of the vacuum cleaner running in the other room.


  6. Quid Pro Quills

    November 19, 2014 at 10:35 am

    My problem is that I’m so careful about scheduling my time that when something threatens to get in the way of my schedule, the temptation is to fight it. But when that “something” is a conversation with my teenager or lunch with a friend who’s struggling, then I’ve missed the boat. I try so hard to leave room in my life, but sometimes, I just blow it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Normandie Fischer (@WritingOnBoard)

    November 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Excellent reminder of what’s important, Robin. Thank you!


  8. rpatchen

    November 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks, Normandie. I’m laughing a little, because I’ve been so busy this morning, I haven’t been checking the comments. Will I ever learn?



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