Tuesday, November 18, 2008


My friend Dair recently said to me, “You have to come over to see my new woman space!” Her husband had just built her a beautiful paver patio in the backyard and she was spending her limited free time to herself out on the patio with a glass of wine and good friends. Or just herself and her glass of wine. A space just for her. Her woman space. When she came to see my house for the first time, I showed her my woman space. It was a closet on the landing of our staircase. It was a rather big and awkward closet with a window in it, so I had taken the door off and painted the inside and moved in a bookcase and desk and file cabinet and put up a shelf and had it wired for my phone and computer. My own woman space! “I love it!” Dair had exclaimed. And so do I. I love it.

Many times throughout the day, I pop in to visit my woman space. I’ll come in to answer the phone and just sit back in my chair for a few minutes while I chat to a girlfriend. Or I’ll come in to check my email. Or look over my mail. I put all my projects that I hope to accomplish in there…some of which I actually get to. I can’t describe the feelings that flood over me when I pop myself into my desk chair and turn on my computer at my desk. I’m surrounded by bulletin boards that have pictures of my family and friends on them….pictures I took with my best girlfriends on evenings out together or on our little weekend trips we’ve had…my wedding picture and a picture of John and me that my son took….drawings that my kids have done for me for Mother’s Day or just “I love you, Mama” days. Bible verses that inspire and encourage me. I have my cds in there and an old boombox. It’s a little messy in there, and sometimes I have to make a space on my desk through all the papers just to set down my coffee cup, but I love it. I feel happy and content and productive in there. In this whole crazy house, where we are often on top of one another or voices layer voices asking Mama for one thing or another, I have a place that is mine. A hideout from the craziness sometimes. A place where I feel that I can actually be productive in a house where most days feel very unproductive..

I come in here and I am efficient. I am creative. I am somewhat organized. I feel on top of things and that I can accomplish things that are important to me. I am rejuvenated. The rest of my day I spend doing things that are far more important usually, but it’s harder to see the results of my efforts with them. The laundry gets done, but by evening, the hamper is full again. I clean my house from top to bottom and by evening, it’s usually a pit again. I feed my family but go figure, they are always hungry soon after! I try and teach my kids, but it will take years to see if any of the lessons took hold in their hearts. But in my woman space, I can have a checklist and go down the list and actually get some things done and checked off! I can clear papers off my desk. I can book appointments, pay bills, write thank you notes! I can see progress.

Sometimes I catch my kids in here. They like to look through my desk, look at the family photo albums that I keep in here (because I am forever hoping to get them updated!), and draw on my computer paper. I remember doing that when I was little too. Maybe that’s why I still get so excited in office supply stores. I loved looking through my Daddy’s home office, peeking around in his desk drawers at all the little things organized in their boxes. I can understand the draw.

My woman spaces have transitioned over the years I’ve been out of my parent’s house. Usually, for me, it is associated with my desk. I was given a desk when I was in sixth grade and I have it still. It has taken up residence in my dorm rooms, my bedroom, the dining room, the kitchen, the laundry room, an alcove off the kitchen, and has now finally retired to the garage. It’s been replaced by a swanky new desk in the closet renovated into my space. But wherever it sat previously was considered my woman space.

I think that every woman could benefit from having a little corner of her home which belongs to her…a little place where she can sit down and be reminded that she is still, under all the other hats she wears, a woman. A thinking woman. Someone who has ideas, thoughts, priorities, needs. A woman space. It can be a desk, a chair set aside for reading her favorite books and magazines, a spot on her patio that is private for her, a corner where she practices her yoga, a kitchen stool next to a drawer with her organizers and coupons and address books within it and a place she rests her coffee cup on top of it. Any place where you can take a few seconds of your day to quiet your spirit and remember who you are and what you want out of your day. My friend Jill had a chair, a big comfortable chair with a reading light above it where she sat every morning while she read her Bible. She said she would put on a little music sometimes too and sit and meditate or pray or just soak in the music or what she had just read. That was how she started her day. Another friend Ronna has a little room off her kitchen with a tv. She told me when she puts her kids to bed, she liked to come into the room and read or watch tv with a big buttery bowl of popcorn every night. That was how she ended her day. A little ritual for her sanity. Or my friend Chenoa has a desk where she thinks all her great thinks and organizes her day or writes in her journal. It is in her family room but separated by a screen she made out of old, rustic doors. It’s just enough privacy to feel like her own little world for a while. That’s her woman space. Dorthy has a spot in her basement where she goes to paint. That’s hers. I gave my daughter Lily a vanity a few years ago. I had always wanted one and so, as most things go, I gave her one of my dreams. But she keeps clearing out the vanity-related items like hair bows and brushes, and replacing them with pens and pencils and papers. “I want it to be my desk, mama,” she says. She is already feeling the need at eight years old for her little woman space.

Do you have a woman space? A corner of the world where you can get away for a little private time? I hope so. We need them. Take a few minutes to look around your house and carve out a niche for yourself. Even if it just your front stoop or a chair on your patio, take the time to make a place just for you.

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