3 Steps to Creating Breathing Room
by Stephanie Pletka
One day I received a call I’ll never forget. It started with me lying in bed fifteen minutes longer than usual, having hit the snooze button one time too many. I was pregnant with Baby Number Four and had pulled a late night at work. My body couldn’t take another step. My husband’s job had him traveling overseas for weeks at a time, and the responsibility of caring for three littles had taken its toll on me. I felt exhausted and hurried. The more I ran late, the more I ran late. My life was firing on all four cylinders in a perpetual state of disarray. After dropping off two toddlers at pre-school, I received a call from the teacher.
“We need to talk,” she said.
“Were my boys hurt? Is everything ok?” I asked. “All is well, but I’m worried about you.” “Me?”
How did she know me, my situation, my story?
What concerned her enough to have a conversation?
Without judgment, she noticed I was consistently frazzled at drop-off. I had paid late fees almost daily at pick-up for skidding into carpool fifteen minutes late, and that was the least of my worries. I was negotiating the sale of my business to be a stay-at-home mom, and I was about to turn into a pumpkin (minus the glass slippers). I couldn’t help but cry. I needed someone to notice and reel me back to safety. The chaos of my life was whirling out of control, like a rogue spin top. I needed to create a space for breathing room.
I had created my own marketing brand, my own public relations campaign, and it wasn’t pretty. We all have a perception that we’ve created of ourselves, whether directly or indirectly. People see us as the one who’s always late, the exhausted mama, the drama queen, the adventurer, the traveler, the go-getter, the entrepreneur, the one with all the kids, the mom with the best snacks, the one who’s always put together, or the one who never goes anywhere because they have a dog. We know these people. We may be these people.
We all create our own marketing package. What is yours? Mine had exhaustion written all over it.
During this unusual downtime, let’s create steps to give ourselves Breathing Room, to set ourselves up for success. As a family, we’re a team.
3 Steps to Creating Breathing Room:
1. Prepare the Night Before – Have the young ones lay out their clothes, depending on their various ages and stages. Young kids want to be helpers. Show them what the morning should look like when life is at a slower pace. Create the routine now. Clothes laid out, hair and teeth brushed. There’s nothing like missing that one shoe under the trampoline, to catapult your day into chaos.
2. Create Margin – The space between the road and the cliff’s edge. If I wanted breathing room, I needed to carve out space to breathe, rather than relying on my adrenal glands to pump out the last bit of juice to reach my destination. Give yourself 20 extra minutes (don’t look at social media; it magically eats 15 minutes that seems like 18 seconds). Pad yourself, in case you need to fuel the car, or there’s traffic on the 101. Your preparation and extra margin or lack of it, will be the decider in your attitude for the day.
3. Self Care – This may look like a bubble bath or eating a snicker’s bar in the closet by yourself. Hey, we’ve got to take it when and where we can, right ladies?!
When you own the morning, you own the day. Breathing room affords us a place to rest, re-strategize, and regroup. You were made to thrive, to dream, to create, and connect. No more burning the candle at both ends. What does your marketing package say about you?
Stephanie Pletka is a writer, speaker and entrepreneur whose passion is to help women live an authentic life. She uses her infectious storytelling to connect with and empower women to take control of their lives. A Southern girl who loves the great outdoors, Stephanie and her husband hit the road for a life of adventure. They homeschooled their four kids and ran a tech company while traveling to 45 states and 9 countries. They now reside in Scottsdale, Arizona, exploring the beauty of the West. For more information, visit StephaniePletka.com.