Why I Need White Space In My Life; And You Might Too
It’s no secret I became a mama a little over eight months ago. But what I haven’t shared much of is the instant and internal change that happened the minute my sweet baby was handed to me. It’s been monumental and admittedly a bit frightening to have such a shift in who I thought I was/am but now that we are getting more than a few hours of sleep a night, hindsight sure is 20/20. Life these days is a delicate dance between holding on to old parts of my life I loved and treasuring the new parts that fit just right.
So I’ll share this with you. Before having Lachlan and even becoming pregnant, I thought I would one day be the modern day picture of power and success. I would be profitable, influential, and innovative. That’s a pretty impressive bill to fit, right? These are all things I craved for and wanted. Pre-motherhood it actually felt like I may have been on my way to fulfilling most of those traits because I worked really hard to make it happen and felt like those attributes were well within my reach. And truthfully they are things I still strive for. But. And it’s a big but right now, those things have shifted down a little on my list. And so it goes that my priorities are in a different place not because they have to be but because that’s where I want them.
I was recently selected as a Grand Rapids Business Journal Forty Under 40 winner. I’m still unsure of who nominated me but humbled to be worthy of such accolades. To join the ranks of such distinguished and prestigious people in a community I didn’t want to move to six years ago is a cool accomplishment. Last week when I had my headshot taken I was asked to answer one question on camera. The question was, ‘What are your responsibilities as a business leader in Grand Rapids?’ At first it felt like a heavy question and one I wasn’t prepared to answer but as quickly as my world changed when Lachlan was put in it, the answer came to me.
As a business leader in Grand Rapids I have a responsibility, especially to younger women, to show that it is possible to have a profitable company, pursue your passions wholeheartedly, and build a legacy with and for your family. I want to be a part of the generation that supports and encourages women who want it all. Whatever your ‘all’ is I want to stand for having it. I said this to the camera in a voice that was far from reporter-worthy (my college professors would have cringed) and with Lachlan sitting on the carpeted floor a few feet away from me (I prayed a little that the carpet wasn’t too filthy) but I said it and meant every word.
My ‘all’ includes lots of white space. Not because I’m lazy. Not to have more work-free weekends. Not because I’m entitled. But because the white space makes me better. I have more in my well for those who matter most to draw from. I have more creative ideas, more laser focus on my commitments, more motivation to live life fully, more care for my clients and work, more intention, more self care and more LOVE to give with white space in my life. White space doesn’t mean frequent vacations or sleeping in. White space doesn’t translate to frivolous spending or a perfect existence. It means breathing space to have my all as best I can. To make hard decisions with clarity, to use my gifts to serve others and bring joy to the world in a small way, to create beautiful things often, and to love fiercely on the little person I call my son and the big person I call my husband. My all is BIG when listed out like that but I have the perfect amount of white space to fit it in nicely.
Whatever your ‘all’ is, you deserve to fight for it. You deserve support and resources and whatever it is – coffee, therapy, a nap, a mentor, prayer, new shoes, a babysitter, an all nighter – to get there. It doesn’t mean the pursuit of all is easy or direct but it means it’s worth it. I’m rooting you on every step of the way, warrior.
Photo by my dear friend, Sam.