About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. Jessica,
    I have to admit that reading your schedule makes me tired lol. You remind me of me….I used to be super busy in my 20’s, very busy in my 30’s, pretty busy in my 40’s….you get the trend. I don’t know if I burned myself out, or if God, in His infinite wisdom, said, “Bev, you gotta pump the brakes a little.” I still head up a non-profit Foundation, but I don’t write nearly as much as I’d like to and my house needs a good cleaning. My focus has become: spend time with God and in His Word, have time for others, and soak in simplicity. I find I can’t be too busy and intentional at the same time. I’ve also learned that taking care of myself isn’t a sin….it’s Biblical (for all of us who put everyone and everything else first). I applaud how you spend time with your family….these will be the times your kids remember.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. Great tips and great questions at the end.
    The practice that keeps our ship from sinking is communication. My husband and I try to talk things over, almost a “state of the union” for a busy season, and I can always tell when we skip that step, because chaos ensues.
    Thanks for this calm discussion about busy-ness. Although it is unwise for us to run on over-load all the time, it is inevitable that there will be season in family life that are full and demanding, and a little preparation can make all the difference in how we emerge on the other side.

  3. Thank you for sharing. Our children are ages 11, 8 and 6. Our 11 and 8 year olds are wanting to branch out into sports. Of course they don’t want to do the same sport. That would be much to convenient for me! My husband works long hours and travels a lot. So, we guard our weekends like priceless jewels! The weekends are our time to just BE together.

    • I’m right there with you, Lucretia! We try to commit to a very reasonable amount of activities, but times three kids, that still adds up!

      Sunday naps and movies, Legos and books, and family basketball in the backyard help give us the weekend time to connect and recharge. Thanks, Jess, for the great encouragement to be intentional and remember that the simple things really do add up in a meaningful way. xx

  4. I am glad to hear that someone’s family runs smoothly. I confess I felt jealous that nothing seems to be out of place, like kids having any issues, fatigue from working and cleaning your home, shopping, cooking dinners, making lunches, breakfasts, eashi g floding clothes, dusting, dealing with leaks, stuffed toilets, trips to the doctors, socializing for you and your kids! If you have help it woukd be encouraging to others to state that. Otherwise it sounds like you and your husband have sunny, obediant, flecible, co operative kids with narry a “no” in the bunch. You and your husban work so well together that you both vacuum, do the dishes, dust out the closets, take the kids to doctor’s appointments and you each can get off wirk to attend to these and say dentist and eye doctor appointments. Your suggestions are great but you had to sense that it not the whole picture. How can you for example consistently do movie night when you have five loads of laundry to do and you had to work extra hours that week? Its i teresting that you asked for (hinted) for others to make only encouraging comments. You must sense that there is something “too perfect” about your depiction of your family. I say this because I seriously doubt the majority of peoples’ lives run as smoothly, absent of friction and issues. The only people i know whose lives resemble yours are those with help – either paid or extended family that are trustworthy and capable. And if no help then the marriage eventually suffered because the two function more as task managers and roomates then as intimate husband and wife. I apologize if any of what I am saying offends you. It isnt intended as such. It just does not feel like encouragement but more like the wizard in the wizard of OZ. The truth us behind the curtain. That’s what I want to be encouraged by.

    • Hi Juju, I’m Matthew, Jessica’s husband. When I read your comment, I wasn’t offended in the least, mostly because you’re right—a 500-word blog post certainly doesn’t detail a complete picture of our life as a family—how could it?—500 words is hardly enough space to make a thought-provoking point or offer good advice, let alone express the whole truth in detail. That said, I’m sorry that Jessica’s post felt triggering for you. While I can’t speak for you, I do know that most of us engage blog posts and other social media posts through the lens of our own experiences, and sometimes people’s advice or words or stories can conjure up our own pains and cause us to feel all kinds of emotions.

      That said, everything Jessica wrote is true. While we’re not always perfect in our execution, these ideas do serve as our roadmap for how we manage through busy, overwhelming times.

      Jessica’s suggestion to “encourage each other in the comments below” was not a deterrent for negativity, but a call for people to post their own ideas and stories for surviving busy times. It was a conversation starter, not a sentence laced with the expectation that what she said/wrote was untrue or “too perfect”. That assumption feels unfair, honestly—and a bit passive aggressive.

      That said, I don’t know your story or why this post hit you the wrong way, but rather than simply ignoring your critique, I’m commenting because I want you to know that your thoughts have been read/heard. I can assure you that there’s no wizard involved in our homelife, just a couple of humans trying to do our best. Peace to you.

      Matthew

      • Matthew, thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful reply. I appreciate the way you champion your wife, support your family, and offer your friendship to this community. Blessings.

    • Juju,

      I appreciate you being here and that you know (in)courage is a place we can be honest, raw, and definitely imperfect. We hope this is a community where we can share in each other’s real pain and sorrow, as well as celebrate each other’s blessings and champion their sweet spots, all for the sake of encouragement and deepening friendships in Christ.

      I definitely feel where you’re coming from in the sense that it can be SO helpful and refreshing when someone says, “This is the way I’m struggling,” and your own spirit says, “Me too!” and it becomes the gift of shared experience, feeling less alone in the thick of it. We have lots of writers who regularly do that here on (in)courage.

      But I also appreciate when someone approaches the goal of encouraging and refreshing her sisters by providing really practical life application, and I think Jessica has done a great job of that today. Like she alluded to at the beginning of the post, Jessica has always been wired as a do-er — she thrives with a lot going on and has a higher than average capacity to do a lot of things well — I’ve seen this behind the scenes and she is truly amazing! So when I read this post, I want to cheer my friend on and celebrate the unique way God made her! Our lives may not look or feel the same — raising my hand here as a working mom with laundry to catch up on and kids who spent the morning fighting — but I’m encouraged by her tips and reminders that the simple things really can make a meaningful difference in thriving as a family.

      I hope we can use this online space to take what works for us, leave the rest, and always choose to think the best of one another.

      With gratitude,
      Becky Keife
      (in)courage community manager

    • Juju,

      All families have trials & busy times. Sometimes the busy season lasts a long time. They can be hard on a person keeping up with all that needs to be done. The women here are just offering advice on how to handle a busy season. Everyone can’t do the three things Jessica mentioned. There may be other things you can do to maintain a harmonious family life. You & hubby could maybe sit & snuggle on couch & talk, may be the whole family could go for a short walk. Eat dinner together & discuss the days activities. May God bless you & give you the peace & calm you need in your life.

      Blessings 🙂

    • hi juju, i can totally hear where u are coming from and i dont believe that u are tryinging to be intentionally negative. i too struggle with work, small kids and its hard when there is so much stuff to be done. i thank u for ur honest opinion and understand why u wrote what u did. not everyone will understand unless faced in tough circumstance and just trying to get throigh each day!

    • Hello Juju,

      I’m just responding tonight because I was at work today and wasn’t able to write sooner. I appreciated how the community responded and was glad my husband was able to write in a timely manner.

      I did want to add that I said a prayer today for you and others who are struggling. A busy life is NOT easy, and I promise it’s not wizards and rainbows at my house. That said, tonight I decided to take a long hot bath with a book instead of folding the laundry that has been in my dryer all week. 🙂 It’s been a full week at work and I needed to take care of myself way more than doing chores.

      I hope that you can find a way to carve out some time for you in the days ahead – even with 5 baskets of laundry.

      Peace to you,
      Jess

  5. Thank you for sharing ways to stay sane during the busy seasons of family life. We are a blended family, so there are even greater schedule complications as our kids move between two homes. Communication is KEY! Like above, we take a look at each week to determine the demands. We attempt to have dinner together daily, with as many members who are present on the particular evening. We connect and come together during the prep, eating and cleanup. I’m pretty militant about keeping our extracurricular activities minimal because we value the time at home – but of course there are demands from work, school, social activities and the norms. When I look at the big picture, I get truly overwhelmed. So, I’ve learned to take it one week, one chunk at a time.

    Our school begins again next week!

  6. Jessica,
    Thank-you for sharing a piece of your family’s life. It was a pleasure to read. Family time is important to us so with all of life’s chaos appreciating spending time doing simple but meaningful things like, yard work, walking the dogs, going to the beach, or family dinners together help to make things all that much better. We also try to respect that we have separate interests allowing time for them too. But I think what’s made the bond grow even stronger is, praying together.
    Have a blessed day all,
    Penny

  7. My ‘motto’ – I use this term very loosely – is that the laundry/dishes/vacuuming ain’t goin’ anywhere, it will still be there in the morning. Believe me I’ve hoped for magically laundry folding fairies but they don’t exist up here in BC, Canada! 🙂 That being said – I’ve come to terms that being “behind” on house work isn’t the end of the world and spending time with my children whom are growing far to fast for my liking IS very important. Our kitchen table is usually a pile of craft supplies on one side and we just shove it off to that side when we eat dinner together as a family. But our kitchen is where we seem to gravitate, they will craft while I make meals and we can have conversations and be together. I feel life doesn’t have to look magazine picture perfect to create happy memories for my children but it took me a few years to relax about this idea. I always liked having an organized home before kids. Now that mine are older we will have cleaning sessions where we all do it together and honestly even that has been fun and memorable. Thank you for always being so open Jessica – really enjoy your blog and look forward to your new book! 🙂

  8. It’s great if you can do that, all the activities, but it will burn you out eventually. Sometimes, we have to prioritize and a lot of women are totally overwhelmed. Praying as a family is the best advice. And the self care is for the whole person, spirit, soul, and body.

  9. Love these great tips for living intentionally, Jessica! My favorite is pray together. It’s so important in this crazy, busy life we lead to connect with each other and with God every day. Blessings to you!

  10. Jessica,

    It sounds to me like you really enjoy your family and you work hard to find the balance for everything a busy family involves. My kids are adults now and I am watching my oldest daughter start her family and I see her working hard to juggle it all with a newborn right now. Thank you for your advice today for moms and families.

  11. Jessica,

    My life was really busy for a number of years. Working full time & caring for aging parents can take its toll on you. Getting late night early morning calls to run to ER gets old. Things have slowed a little, but I have gotten more involved in church activities. I am helping my hubby care for his parents. Dad has stage III bladder cancer & step mom has heart & other health issues. Add to that hubby & I have opposite schedules. He works weekends (3 long 12 hr shifts). I work part-time Mon-Friday. We snuggle on the couch each night. Sometimes watching TV & sometimes just talking about life. When he gets time off work I ask for a “date” day. Spend most of day with me. I am blessed with a hubby who helps cook some & do laundry & dishes. The biggest thing we do is talk about each other’s needs & help fulfill them.

    Blessings 🙂

  12. Dear (in)courage community after reading Jessica’s uplifting post and all the comments I want to share two beautiful things the Lord has taught me. He prepares for us the works we have to do every day, we have to learn to walk in these and only these works. You fell extremely joyful and peaceful when you can do it. Every day I pray please Lord help me to do today what I am supposed to do and do not do what I should not do. It will take time to develop spiritual sensitivity, and you will know when you are out of track, is like a path in which you walk every day. Order will begin to appear where caos was. And the road will begin to be smoother. You will no longer be a Martha, and you will become a Mary. We can have peace and be peaceful in tumoltuous periods.
    The second thing is about pace. When you manage to be in that perfect rhythm that is a state of balance, you will end your day in peace and joy. I assure you that your day may not be what you plan or desire but you will be more like the Lord and less than yourself. God bless you all.

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