Help With Your Mother's Rule

Help With Your Mother's Rule is a forum for women who want trouble-shooting help with their Mother's Rules or about any aspect of the 5 Ps of the married vocation.

Ask Holly: This blog is composed of your questions. Contact me at the address listed on Holly's Helpers page and I will respond. Please share your unique ideas as well. The more ideas and experience we share, the more successful every mother will be in designing her own unique Mother's Rule.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Maybe I Can't Do It All?

Dear Holly,
I have tried for the last couple of years to balance everything on my plate:
- Four children 7 and under
- Homeschooling
- Working 15 hours a week
- Exercise
- Housework
- I lead a Rosary group
- everything else!!!!

No matter what I am doing, I feel like I should be doing something else!  If I am at work, I should be with the kids.  If I am homeschooling, the house is trashed.  If I am cleaning, I should be working out.  If I take time to work out, the house left a mess!!  I have cut out so many extras that I wanted to do for the kids: homeschool activity day, Library classes, etc.  I know that somewhere in the world, there is a mother who can handle my schedule, but I can't!!  I have read your book multiple times.  I know what to do, I just don't feel like there is enough time to do it...... People do ask me, "How do you do it all?"  I tell them, "I don't, I am a disaster!"  (at least I am honest!)  Is there a way to "Do it all?"


  1. I know exactly how you feel - you write "No matter what I am doing, I fell like I should be doing something else." I have experienced that many times myself. It comes from being overloaded.

    You make a statement that "I know that somewhere in the world there is a woman who can handle my schedule..." . I sincerely doubt that. Because from looking at your invoIvements, I certainly agree - you "cant' do it all."

    The most important thing to realize is that there are only so many hours in one day. If you, in fact, sat down and wrote out everything you are trying to do, you will find - "will" find - that you do not have enough hours in the day to meet your scheduled activities. I would encourage you to do just this - I did it myself last fall, and was shocked to see how much time my daily activities are taking now, due to different circumstances in my life, and how I simply could not do it all - how I had to cut out GOBS of things - both small and large - to make room for a recollected fulfillment of my daily vocational duties. And given the never-ending re-occurance of a multiplicity of invitations to 'get involved' in so many things, this restriction seems to be something that needs regular reflection in my own life.

    If you look at 3 hours of homeschooling a day, and 3 hours of employment a day, and 3 hours of combined housework a day (minimum)with no time in between to get set up or travel or tidy or anything - you are working over a full time job just in these activities - your 3 occupations. Given that we sleep for 8 hours, that leaves you 7hours a day - let's look at this:

    prayer 1 hour - leaves 6
    cooking & eating meals 11/2 hour min - leaves 4 1/2
    exercise 1 hour - leaves 3 1/2
    personal hygiene and shower 1 hour a day - leaves 2 1/2

    That leaves you 2 1/2 hours a day for everything else - from spending time with children, to your relax time (even nuns get 2 hours a day), personal time with husband, talking on the phone, responding to email, internet or tv use, visit with a friend, errands, doctors appointments, gardens, personal reading, sewing, baking, Church, etc etc etc...

    In my personal opinion, you may not be taking seriously two of your most significant professional occupations - homeschooling and housework. We've been taught to minimize the housework, and we also think we can homeschool without much time or preparation or thought and planning put into it - but this is the home for our family and the education of our children, and both tend to take serious time, use much energy, and we need down time, time to rest, recreate...

    Your 15 hours of additional work on top of this, given the ages of your children and your home commitments, seems very unrealistic to me. Is there a way to reduce your cost of living to not need the extra money? Or, reduce the time spent working outside, to reduce the time spent away - say, work only 8 hours, on Saturdays and have the children babysat, so that you can establish order and a peaceful pace during the week? From experience - we can't be perfect at everything, and we can't go on full-speed forever - your health will be compromised, as will your family and marriage.

    I'd encourage you to seriously examine your present commitments, write them down, put them in priority according to the 5 Ps, and go from there.

  2. Just want to offer a bit of encouragement and say of course it isn't possible to "do it all", nor does God ask us to. And I don't think He necessarily will help us to run ourselves ragged to the point where we don't have time for Him--He will allow our lives to become so uncomfortable that we're forced to do something!

    It's not wrong to prioritize, nor does it mean that you'll never be able to work, teach classes, etc. etc. For everything there is a season. Hang in there, mama.

  3. Thank you both!
    I am still re-evaluating this week. I did call off work tomorrow and will be having a sitter come over so that I can get the house back in order.
    I also have a Dr appt today to address disturbances in my usually normal cycle. My NFP couselor/dear friend feels that stress has thrown my hormones off balance.
    Holly, you are right. The homeschool and housework are what suffers and those are my two most important jobs. I mean to do them, but don't realize how much time other things take in my life. Time management is a HUGE problem for me!!
    I am working on all of this.....

    1. I am Pregnant.

      -original poster

  4. So - the Lord is clearly indicating to you a direction, a focus in your life. Don't be afraid. Embrace it. It is a holy and worthy calling. Ask to see this.

    And congratulations!

    1. Thanks Holly!
      We are happy about it, but guarded. I had four healthy pregnancies and babies in 4.5 years. When I learned of a fifth pregnancy last year, I was overwhelmed, and actually wrote to you: SOS, another new baby on the way!
      I lost that baby. It was horrific, two months along, I developed a subcorrionic hemmorhage. 5 ultrasounds in 10 days showed that the baby was healthy, but the environment was violent. The miscarriage was inevitable. We were, obviously, deeply upset. So just this week, I got a positive test. We are very happy, but now know that 2 pink lines don't always mean that a baby is coming. To heaven, yes, but not into our home. I do feel encouraged about this one though. I had mentioned before about a problem with my cycle- the problems were caused by low progesterone. I am now on a progesterone cream help this. I feel that this diagnosis is Divine Intervention because with low progesterone, miscarriage is very common. I pray all day long for God's Blessings on this baby!!!

      Everything will be just fine. My sweet 7 yr old daughter has prayed for a baby sister exactly 4 times a day for months and months! She prays before each meal and before bed. ( she has 3 little brothers ). I truly believe that this is God's answer to her angelic, little prayers.
      I will probably have to continue to work, but I would never prevent a life because of being gone a few hours a week!
      This is not a failure of NFP. This was a loving choice to be open to life. We both knew the risk that we were taking. My husband is truly joyful, as am I!!!

      Maybe my problem is not with the 5th P....
      It is most likely with the 1st P-- While I am a huge advocate of the Rosary ( I lead a group in my church ), I am hit or miss prayer-wise in my own life. Alot of my day is, "Dear God, HELP!!!" rather than formal devotion. He want my time to love and adore Him, not just to call out for the spiritual life-preserver as the ship is going down. If I spend the time with Him to start with, I won't be in such bad shape in the first place-

      Please pray for us!

  5. Yes, I think you've got it! Prayer comes first. Always.

    And I have prayed most of my children through the miscarriage stage... I've had 3 miscarriages myself, so I know the feeling. Prayers and many novenas to St Therese the Little Flower...

  6. That is a sign if I ever heard one!! I have had a girl's name in my head for years, the middle name is Therese!!!
    Googling Novena.......

    Thanks, Holly!