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Time Management: What questions would you love to have answered?

I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently asking “How do you do it all?”

Well, the truth of the matter is that I don’t do it all — and that’s the only reason I can have three young children, homeschool, keep up with a large blog, stick to a budget — and still have time to read, have a clean and organized home (most of the time!), get enough sleep (most nights!) and go on dates with my husband.

I’m speaking some on balance and time management at The Relevant Conference next week (can’t wait to meet some of you there!) and since so many people are asking for my practical suggestions on time management and how I manage to accomplish what I do, I thought I’d share some of what I’ll be sharing at Relevant in a series on time management here, as well.

However, in an effort to make this series as helpful as it can be, I wanted to open up the floor for requests. If you had a specific question you’d like for me to address regarding time management, what would it be? Email me with your question or leave it in the comments here.

I plan to begin this series near the end of October and will be posting one post per weekday until it is finished (no making you wait a week or two or 15 for the next installment as I’ve sometimes done in the past!) No promises that I’ll have a great answer to your questions and am pretty positive I won’t be able to address everything regarding time management in the series, but I’m hoping to make this series as comprehensive and helpful as possible based upon what is working for me.

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210 Comments

  • Shannon says:

    Don’t forget to tell them that you have someone come in to do your cleaning and laundry!

    • Crystal says:

      I’ve been doing most of our laundry again; I finally got a good system in place! 🙂

      My mother’s helper comes for five hours a week and is such a blessing but she doesn’t do all my cleaning by any means — just helps with a few cleaning projects, like some of the vacuuming and mopping the floor. She also often babysits while she’s here so I can run some errands or go on a date with my husband.

      I highly recommend that any mom with young children consider having a mother’s helper or a once-a-week babysitter. I used to be one for other families and am now so thankful to be on the other side of the equation. It’s such a wonderful thing to have a little assistance each week while my children are young.

      • Stephanie says:

        @Crystal, You mean you don’t sit back and sip on herbal tea and wave your magic wand and ? 😉 he he, just teasing!

      • thriftymom04 says:

        @Crystal,
        What do you think is an acceptable amount to pay someone to do this? I would have no idea how much to even offer. I know we can’t afford it now but it’s something I’d love to consider later. Does she come all at one time or several days for a couple hours each?

        • Shauna says:

          @thriftymom04,
          I am also very interested in hearing about your mother’s helper. This is not something that I have even considered before but sounds wonderful! How much do you pay? How old is she and where did you find her? How often does she come? etc. etc.

          • Crystal says:

            Ours comes once a week. She goes to church with us and we observed her servant’s heart and initiative and asked her based upon the character we’d observed. She’s been a huge blessing to our family!

            If she’s young and you’re just going to have them watch your children in the other room while you cook or go to the store and help you with your children, I know some people pay around $5-$6 per hour for this. If you’re going to have your helper do deep-cleaning or laundry or babysitting, etc., then I’d say somewhere around twice that.

        • Amy says:

          Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. A person must legally be able to work in the United States.

        • Jennifer says:

          @thriftymom04,

          I don’t really think that applies to all situations. I used to babysit many moons ago for 2.00 an hour. Of course at that time minimum wage was lower, but I wasn’t yet of the age to get a public job. Even now I know of many that aren’t the official working age that work for around 5.00 an hour .

        • Carrie says:

          @thriftymom04, I agree that no one’s going to be prosecuted for paying a teen under minimum wage for babysitting; in fact i have a 10-year-old who helped out by playing w/ the kids sometimes in the summer who accepted $3 an hour happily. (She was not left alone with them.)

          Currently I’m paying a mother’s helper/sitter $12.50/hour in Chicago, for 18 hours a week. Sometimes I’m here, sometimes I am not. Since the kids nap, go to gymnastics class, etc., while she is here, she has ample time for light housework and helping me with dinner prep, i.e. washing and chopping veggies.

  • Kerry D. says:

    I am looking forward to this series!!! I teach part time– 8 classes a week, each one at a separate time and location, three kids, two dogs, husband, and feed (23!) horses three times a week to defray the costs of my daughter’s lessons. I feel perpetually overwhelmed, and any unexpected event results in chaos.

    For me, keeping focused on “separate” things is difficult–I might remember the kids, classes and specific commitments but forget to water the tomatoes for three days, for example. Everything might seem to go smoothly but then I pay the bills a few days too late. (ouch!) You get the idea.

    • anonymous says:

      @Kerry D., I would suggest that you recruit help from your husband, if he is willing. I do not work outside the home so all of the kids/domestic stuff falls on me, but if I did work, as you do, I think it is only fair he should help also. I know some husbands are away a lot or work such long hours that they really can’t, but if there is any way yours can, I would ask.

    • Jennifer N. says:

      @Kerry D., I also keep a crazy schedule and tend to forget things. My remedy for bill paying is to set up the Web Bill Pay through my credit union. What a time saver! No envelopes, no stamps, no need to schedule a time to write out all the checks and address envelopes, no need to take anything to the mailbox! I love it. I stopped even using my mailbox for years until I started signing up for free things just this year.

  • Aubrey says:

    I’d just like to know how you keep young kids entertained all day, have time to play with them, and keep your home clean and organized and have dinner ready.

  • Megan says:

    You always say you don’t do it all, you’re not perfect, etc., yet you homeschool, take care of 3 very young children, cook, clean, coupon, blog multiple times per day, go to conferences, sleep 8 hours, go on dates, freezer cook, and a myriad of other things…what’s left? I don’t say that in a snarky way at all; I think you’re amazing! I just want to know specifically what things you’re referring to when you say you “don’t do it all.” What have you pushed aside? Because to me, you do seem like Wonder Woman.

    • Anna says:

      @Megan,

      Don’t forget the exercising she’s been doing too!

    • Crystal says:

      Oh goodness! I’ll share my very long list of things I don’t do and I think it will make you feel *much* better. 🙂

      • Dana says:

        @Crystal, Crystal, that was going to be my comment/question. What things (as your budget as opened up) do you NOT do? What are not priorities (sp!) right now?

        • Lynn says:

          Yes, thank you for being transparent. Sometimes some of us forget you have the mother’s helper (not that there is anything wrong with that!) but for those who don’t we may wonder why we can’t get 5 hours of uninterrupted work in.
          Do your dh’s work clothes go to the dry cleaner or do you (or he) wash and iron everything?
          The title SAHM means different things for different people and sometimes I think we get confused and try to compare apples to oranges. Some SAHM are completely on their own, at a distance from family and without paid help. Yes, they can network with friends from church, etc., but again I think some young moms get discouraged when they think some women can do some much more as SAHMs without realzing that they really aren’t doing it all on their own.
          Again, thank you for being willing to be transparent and tell what you don’t all do as well.

          • Crystal says:

            I so agree that it’s important to realize everyone is in different situations and we can’t compare ourselves to others — though we can definitely learn much from others!

            I thought I should clarify that I’m usually teaching school, or cleaning or running errands with the girls when my mother’s helper is here. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had five hours of uninterrupted time since becoming a mom! 🙂

        • Lynn says:

          Thanks for the clarification, but that’s still 5 hours with someone else helping somewhere. I didn’t mean to imply you were eating bonbons and sitting with your feet up for five hours :-). My point was not that it was uninterrupted but that it was 5 hours with extra help that a lot of people forget you have and when they see “all you do” they aren’t putting that into the equation and wonder how come they can’t do it all. I’m not criticizing your help, you’ve worked hard to get it and afford it. I just know some busy young moms get frustrated when they wonder what they’re doing wrong, when they aren’t.

    • Laura Jane says:

      @Megan, Great question! I’ve been wondering the same thing.

  • Alli says:

    How do you stay motivated? I feel like I can go days being productive and feeling accomplished at the end of the day, but then some days when I don’t have a full schedule of things I HAVE to do, I find myself completely unmotivated to do things I should be doing.

    • Kelly says:

      @Alli,
      Yes, how do you make yourself keep going? Maybe that’s more of a self-discipline thing, but if you have any tips for that that seem relevant, I’d love it.

      • Leah says:

        @Kelly, Yes, I also would like to know what you do on days you don’t feel like doing anything. I often have days that I have a long to-do list, yet am completely unmotivated to do it. And yet other days, I accomplish a myriad of things with lots of energy. What do you do on your “off days?” Thanks so much!! 🙂

        • jaclyn says:

          Yeah, I’ll agree with this one! I find there are days where I can keep going and get more done in one day than I sometimes do in a week. But these days are few and far between!
          Do you ever just wake up and think to yourself, “I don’t think I’ll work out, follow my cleaning schedule, homeschool, (fill in the blank) today”?

        • Jenel says:

          I would also like some insight on this issue! I need to be more consistently motivated so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed from getting behind on all that needs to be done.

  • Jennifer says:

    I would love to see an example of your schedule and know how much

  • Jennifer says:

    I would love to see an example of your schedule and know how much free time you have as I don’t see how you get any “down time”. I’ve tried to do my days with less than 30 minutes of “relaxing time” and just find my productivity slows down significantly as I’m worn out. How do you avoid this? Also love the “mother’s helper” idea! Wish I would have done this when I had 3 kiddos 3 and under. That has got to be a big help!

  • Sheena says:

    Wow! Five hours of week of help! I couldn’t even imagine being able to afford having someone come in and clean/babysit five hours every week! You’re so lucky!

    • Ginger says:

      @Sheena, As Dave Ramsey would say, luck has nothing to do with it. She keeps a tight rein on the budget so as to free up the resources to have a helper.

      I wish I had a mother’s helper…. and I don’t even have any kids! 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      @Sheena, We are very blessed and I know that not everyone is in the position to be able to afford something like this. Because I bring in a good income through working from home a few hours each day, it’s a luxury my husband and I decided to budget for as it frees me up to have more time to be a wife and mom. In addition, it’s a way for us to provide some income for a wonderful young woman in our community. Overall, it’s been a huge win-win in this season of our lives!

      • Rachael says:

        I’ve read many times, though, that for a working mom, having help come in is a huge boost to your career. It gives you extra time and energy to devote to doing things that are important. Although we can’t afford help now (I’m a full-time student), we are planning on hiring help. Many things I need to do myself, but there are many things that someone else can do just as easily.

      • Carrie says:

        @Crystal, I agree with home help as a career boost. I look at it this way — no one says “you’re so lucky that you can afford daycare for 20 hours or 40 hours a week.”
        Like Crystal, I’m fortunately that my schools lend to working part time from home, which gives a parent the opportunity to choose: Would I rather pay someone to do childcare so I can work, or would I rather pay them to do some of the cleaning so I can work when the kids are sleeping/busy? Or some combination of the 2?
        In the end, it’s not just a luxury. It makes good financial sense to outsource some jobs if we can find ways to earn more per hour than we are paying out. (Heck, even if I wasn’t netting anything after taxes and paying the mother’s helper, it would still be worth it for at least a few hours a week!)

        • Mary says:

          @Carrie, You know what, this is really giving me something to think about. I used to have someone come in to help around the house, but I quit when we had to tighten up our budget. I am just now started to bring in a little income, I may move that expense up a bit higher on the priority list, because we sure could use some help around here!

  • Rose says:

    Yes, I have a hard time with entertaining my kids and then trying to keep up with my chores. I also will have gaps where I am not sure how to swing from one task to another. For example- I can send my son off to school and do school time with my daughter, but then she gets bored. And I have things on my mind that I need to get done, and sometimes I will get caught up idling (sp) doing things that are unproductive, ugh. Well I hope you get the point.

  • Anna says:

    I would like to know how you fit in time for reading. I can barely fit in a devotional/quiet time with God, so any extra reading gets thrown out the window. I love reading, but with two little ones 3 and 4 and being pregnant with my third, I feel like I barely keep up with things as it is.

    Thank you for being willing to share. Sometimes I think of your site like a mentorship program on motherhood.

    • Rebecca says:

      @Anna, I completely agree! Crystal, you have helped me so much to learn how to be a stay-at-home mom! I am so excited for this series!

      Thanks for all you do!

    • Valerie says:

      @Anna, I agree. This site has helped me so much in some of these areas. I don’t get as much done yet as Crystal perhaps but I feel a lot more organized and productive than I used to be and I spend more quality time with my children. Thank you so much for the resources and ideas you have given me to help me accomplish this. May you be blessed by God.

  • Mrs. B. says:

    I’d like to ask for tips on finding an effective mother’s helper…….we tried one this summer who failed miserably. I think it was because she’s too young—plus her personality is pretty contentious/oppositional/negative/hypercritical.

    We really agreed to it as a favor to her family, who thought it would help improve her behaviors at home.
    They’re a sweet homeschool, Christian family, nice other kids, etc., etc.

    We turned down another friend’s suggestion for a helper because she’s in public school and the kids would have to say goodbye to her at summer’s end.

    What’s a brief checklist you’d advise when getting one?

    • Crystal says:

      @Mrs. B., I’d suggest looking for someone with initiative, maturity and a servant’s heart. Our helper went out of her way to help us at church and other events — without being asked — and offered to come over and help one day after Silas was born. Based upon that experience, we felt comfortable asking her to start coming long-term.

      I’d suggest maybe asking a potential helper to come over one afternoon to babysit or just help with a project as a one-time thing to see how it goes. Don’t commit to anything long-term until you’re sure they are a good fit.

  • Mrs. B. says:

    Oops! Forgot to say thank you sooooooooooo MUCH!!! 🙂

  • Cherith says:

    I’d like to know any helpful thoughts on how to juggle everything when you’re sick. I know most of us get sick every now and then…I happen to have two chronic illnesses, so this is a more frequent issue for me than most. Thanks in advance!

  • Sierra says:

    I’m wondering if you have a set daily or weekly schedule that you stick to in order to keep you on track. Can you share that with us?

  • Brooke says:

    What are your thoughts on shopping for healthy foods with coupons? I can’t find hardly any coupons for good, wholesome food! Thanks so much!

  • Alysia Merriman says:

    I’d love to hear your opinion on how to get hubby to help out with things. Both my husband and I work outside the home (yes, him full time and me only part time), but I still feel like when he gets home, he relaxes. When I get home, I get started on the much harder job of running our household. My days off are spent getting caught up on all that was neglected while I was working. I do think of myself as the more traditional wife who should be doing the bulk of the housework, cooking, childcare, etc. However, I’m starting to feel like I’d like more of an equal share in the household work. Sometimes I just do everything myself because it would take me longer to explain to him how to do something, than if I were just to do it myself! What household things does Jesse take care of? My husband does the “man” jobs (lol) like taking out trash, mowing the grass, etc. And he does things that i specifically ask him to do like, “honey, could you please throw those sheets in the dryer?”, but I feel the burden of FIGURING OUT everything that needs done, while he can just wait to be told what to do. I could go on and on here, and I don’t want to husband bash-I do appreciate him a ton, but I’m feeling overwhelmed!

    • Stephanie says:

      @Alysia Merriman,
      Most women seem to do the second shift and that often includes the planning which is often so time consuming and draining. I think the key is realizing that there isn’t time to do it all and prioritizing. I would love everything to be perfect around the house all of the time but it just isn’t going to happen!

    • Annie says:

      @Alysia Merriman,
      Amen, sister! I could have written your comment myself. My husband and I both work full time for the same company (I work first shift, he works third). I try to take it easy on the hubby, as working an off shift has really affected his energy level and alertness, but I feel overwhelmed by everything that has to get done. Our time together is already limited and I hate having to spend it doing “chores”.

    • Shantique says:

      @Alysia Merriman, While I’m blessed with a husband that is much better at housework than me, I think sometimes men “act” like they don’t understand or they do it wrong on purpose, so they won’t have to do it at all. I think the biggest key (and this is for both sides) is to figure what you each are good at and enjoy doing and try to split the chores that way. Of course this does not mean that you won’t end up doing things you don’t like but maybe if you each have SOME stuff you enjoy along with the MUST DO’s it may take the sting away. Also, sometimes we have to let go of doing things “MY WAY”. I know I did this a lot with my hubby when he would try to pitch in with caring for our first baby. Tables turned when he was out of work and kept the kids home part time, now he is back to work and more care falls on me, and he is always telling me how he did things and it irritates me…now I know how he felt!

    • Dawn says:

      @Alysia Merriman, I even take out the trash and mow the lawn, so be grateful for what your husband does and remember to tell him thank you!

  • Jessica says:

    I think it would also be helpful to hear some suggestions of how we can get similar things done without the help of babysitters, mother’s helpers, parents, etc. My husband has been on half salary for over a year, and was just laid off in this fall. We’re “just keeping our heads above water” so we can’t afford the help and haven’t lived close enough to home to use our relatives. We have a 15-month-old toddler and I’m 7 months pregnant, so I’m looking for ideas of how to still get things done once I have two little ones around. I also wonder when you find time to read! It always seems like something’s not getting done when I’m reading.

    Thanks for your blog! I read it every day. You’ve been giving us lots of good ideas and encouragement as we struggle though half salary and unemployment. We’re in youth ministry, and you are really helping to support our ministry. 🙂

    • @Jessica, You sound like we did/do most days!

      I have a chronic illness, run a website and have 4 kids. The only babysitting we get is for our Anniversary and Valentine’s day and doctor’s visits (about 2x a month so I can go to the doc). We have basically no help so I know what you mean.

      For us, most days I consider it a victory if everyone is feed, dressed and I can keep everyone from causing trouble until hubby comes home from work! 🙂

    • Rachel says:

      @Jessica, in regards to a mother’s helper, you might be able to find a girl who will work for nothing a few hours a week. We have a couple familes at our church who homeschool and want their girls to learn homemaking, including childcare, meal prep, cleaning, etc. You could also teach them something (sewing, baking, car repair, whatever) in return for their time.

      • Jennifer C. says:

        @Rachel, We also have a mother’s helper who comes about once a week. Definitely every other week. She is homeschooled and her parents left it up to us whether we wanted to pay her. The felt like learning homemaking, childcare and just learning to serve were part of her schooling. Especially since one day she’d be doing that for her family without pay!! We have had others come to help, but really over time felt she had the most initiative and our kids really love her and look forward to her coming. I’ve had some other girls come who were just not the right fit for our family. For those looking for a mother’s helper…it may take some time to find a good fit for your family.

    • Crystal says:

      We didn’t have any help for the first 3.5 years of having children (no family, no babysitters, etc.), so I definitely know how you feel and I hope to address this in the series. It’s hard!

  • Amanda says:

    I would like to know how you manage your time with homeschooling – your schedule, planning (both for the coming week and the next year of homeschool), how you handle the two younger children while teaching, etc. Thanks!

    • Rachel says:

      @Amanda,
      I would like to know what Silas does while you are teaching. I have an 18 month old and whenever I get the craft stuff out for the 3 year old she becomes needy and wants all the attention so I have a hard time helping the 3 year old cut, glue ect. We try to get her involved in the craft but she is not interested.

      As for a mothers helper I live in a college town and we have college students who work in our church nursery who are more than happy to babysit and are evem CPR certified. The going rate here is $10.00 a hour. I had one all summer and just stayed home to get stuff done or have some one on one time with a child. If you don’t think you can afford one the next time you eat out consider if you liked the meal better or would like someone to come for two hours a week. I decided it was worth my wild to not eat out all week so I could have a helper 2 hours a week.

  • Jamie says:

    i would like to know if you are a night person or a morning person by nature. i am a night person and i feel like while that was super conducive to college life and studying to earn a 4.0, it’s just not conducive to being a work at home, school at home mom. at times i try to adjust myself but mother nature kicks back in and i’m doomed. staying up late, dragging out of bed, needing naps more than my boys, too tired to make dinner…and then at 10pm i kick it in gear. i just don’t like the cycle and don’t know what to do.

    • Denise says:

      @Jamie,
      I totally agree! I used to be a total night person. My husband gets up super early for work so I would clean and catch up on TV after he went to bed. However, with two kids under three, I am EXHAUSED!!! I try to stay up after they go to bed to get stuff done but usually I am so tired I go to bed too!

      • Dani says:

        @Denise, I’m with you! I also have two kids under three and by ten I am so ready for bed! I hate it really. Half the time I over sleep too because I am so tired.

  • Carrie says:

    I would love to hear about how you can find good “mommy helpers”. Do you just suggest asking neighbors? Asking other moms? I didn’t know if you had any good suggestions how to “pick” a helper. also, what do you have your helpers do? I have 5 children, all 5 and under. I stay at home, along with running my own business, and now blogging to help my friend with saving money. I love my life, but it would be nice to have some extra help around here once a week.

    • @Carrie,
      Carrie..I was a mother’s helper for years, and typically met my families through church. I especially loved helping moms out with their kids when I was in college. It was so wonderful to be out of the dorm and be in a home and family setting with children. It was a blessing to me to get to ba able to be with the moms and kids, and I pray it was a blessing to them as well. To find families to help out…since I went to college out of state and did not know anyone!…I called a few local churches and would speak to the nursery coordinator or children’s leader. They gave my name to some families….I also gave my name to the leaders of different ministries on campus, such as campus outreach, RUF or campus crusade for Christ. Typically campus ministers are young and have small kids, and know lots of great families. Within a few weeks time I had regular families. You could contact some youth/college ministers and see if they know anyone! And if you have a local MOPS group….other moms are usually the best at referring! Hope this helps!

  • Leah says:

    My question is: What do you do for relaxation or entertainment…What do you do on your down time to refresh yourself? Do you watch TV? I’m guessing not. 🙂

  • Kelli says:

    I’d be interested in knowing how you manage your time on the computer. I’ve started blogging this past year, and am really liking it, but I am quickly seeing that it could suck up all my time if I let it. In addition, you seem to be well-read on other blogs, so I’d be interested in knowing how you manage that entire area of your life.

    • Emma K says:

      @Kelli,
      I’ve wondered that too. Because I try to limit my time on the internet but I can be on too long. So I’m curious how you get so many good posts and deals up without spending a lot of time on the internet.

    • Christina says:

      @Kelli, I would like to know this too. How do you balance family and work? Working at home is especially challenging since it is “always there”. How much time you spend blogging? and how do you fit that into your schedule?

      Right now, I feel like if I concentrate on my house/family, I don’t have enough time to devote to blogging and growing my business. And if I concentrate on blogging then my house and family time suffers.

      How do you balance it all?

  • Sarah says:

    Woo hoo for Harrisburg, PA! Hope you enjoy your time here. Are you taking the family? If so, be sure to check out this site a few gals from my MOPS group put together on things around the area. http://freecheaporfun.blogspot.com/

  • Kelly says:

    Ummm…I feel sort of ashamed to even be asking this. It’s really none of my business. Alas, curiosity is getting the best of me, and I’m going to ask anyways (with a red face). I’m wondering if you would ever be willing to give us a sample run down of your weekly schedule. You know like a day -to-day, here is what I did with my time kind of thing.

    Our situations are vastly different. I’m a full-time working mother of two (16 months and 5 years). While God is teaching me to be content, I still struggle with many things. Lately my heart is aching because of a lack of time with my husband. We work two different shifts. While this helps on the childcare end of things, I feel like it takes a toll on our marriage (A traveling music ministry also consumes significant time for him on the weekends.) Even though our situations are different, I’m sure there are principles and techniques that I (we) could still learn from you. 🙂

  • Alison says:

    Do you get enough sleep? I find I can get more done in the short term if I skip sleep, but I pay for it later by getting sick or run-down/burnt out.

    • Crystal says:

      @Alison, I so agree! I’ve learned that if I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep almost every night (and I shoot for 8 hours), I don’t function well and end up sick. It’s amazing the difference an extra 30 minutes to an hour of sleep every night can make!

      • Bethany says:

        @Crystal, HA, that’s if your kids will LET you sleep. My kids are 3, almost 2 and 7 months old, and I’m lucky to get 2 straight hours of sleep in at night. Someone is always waking up for some reason or another. I get about 6 hours average, but never without at least 4 or more interruptions. But I find that if I just get up and get going on things and not drag my feet, (and have a coffee IV) I can get through the day just fine. It’s just a season of my life, and I know it won’t last forever!

        • Crystal says:

          Have you read the The No Cry Sleep Solution? It had some really helpful ideas and insight which have helped our children sleep better at night. No book has all the answers and I totally understand that there are just season when children just don’t sleep well, but if you’ve not read that book, you might find some encouragement in it.

          Are you able to nap in the afternoon or go to bed as soon as your children do at night? Those have both helped me during those up-every-few-hour seasons.

  • Angela O says:

    I am also curious how you manage computer time. I remember earlier this year you mentioned how you had revamped your schedule upon getting some time management tips–I’m curious what those tips were. What tips/suggestions have you learned that help you the most in making the most out of your day?

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Crystal, I read so many blogs of various women doing amazing things and I feel a tug towards trying to all of those things, which is completely unrealistic! No one is good at everything so I ask: what do you NOT do? Recycle? Deep-clean the house? Car maintenance? Please tell! We’ll feel better when we realize that you really don’t do it all!

  • Allison says:

    How do you do your clothes shopping for your family?
    Do you have any suggestions for managing it all for people who don’t have lots of friend/family connections nearby?

  • celia says:

    I would like to know how much time you spend one on one with your children, reading or playing etc as opposed to cooking, cleaning, blogging etc. I have one baby and sometimes I struggle with meeting my home obligations and feeling I should be with him every minute instead of folding laundry or planning menus.

    • Carrie says:

      @celia, I don’t know how old your baby is but when my 2 year old was a baby, I sat on my bed crossed legged with her laying down in front of me but facing me and the clean clothes all around me. While I would fold clothes, I would talk to her, make faces, kiss her, etc so I was doing two things at once. Maybe you could think of ways to include your baby with some cleaning. With my older ones, I remember putting them in their swing in the kitchen and talking to them about what I was doing while I was cooking (“Now, Mama’s stirring, etc). Even though that wasn’t “play” time, they were still seeing/hearing me and learning the nuances of the English language all at the same time.

      • Bethany says:

        @Carrie, I did/do that with my kids, too. Trying to get them involved in as much as possible around the house is a great way to interact and teach them basic skills from an early age!

      • celia says:

        @Carrie,

        Peter is 7 months, I did try putting him in his high chair and narrating dinner while I cooked, which worked for the main course but he was fed up by the time I got to sides and dessert.

  • Julie says:

    Do you have any suggestions for single-child households? Sometimes my son is content to help me or to play by himself, but other times he needs someone to play with. We have few other children living nearby, so I can’t really send him next door for a little while when I have a big project to tackle.

  • Allyson says:

    I’d also love to know more about your day to day schedule. How you fit in cleaning your home, homeschooling, preparing meals, blogging, and still have plenty of time to play and read to your children.

    We have a 3 year old, 2 year old and 8 month old and while I try to involve them as much as possible with chores and cleaning the house if I walk them through every aspect it takes forever. Also, I deep clean two rooms each day per my husband’s request. Do you simply dust, vacuum and keep things picked up? I’m just wondering because I’m barely getting everything done now and I’m trying to figure out how I’ll fit full-time homeschooling into the day.

    Also, I feel like if I don’t get the house chores done in the morning that they end up lasting the entire day. However, this is also my most energized part of the day, so I feel like doing just housework is somehow short changing my children. Even if they are with me I feel like I should be playing with them and going for a walk, etc. I’m I just feeling guilty for no reason? I’d love to know what you think.

    • Carrie says:

      @Allyson, What do you mean by “deep clean”? According to my definition of deep clean, I haven’t done that ever and we’ve been in this house for 13 years!! Maybe it’ll get done when the kids are gone.

      • Allyson says:

        @Carrie, I guess I should have clarified “deep clean” as it can mean different things to different people. I meant that I put everything away, dust, vacuum, sweep/mop, wipe down windows, walls, etc. I do not move furniture (except in the living room {hardwood floors} where dust loves to collect under chairs and end tables. Does that make more sense? It’s not simply a tidy up and vacuum.

        • Carrie says:

          @Allyson, Okay, it sounds as if your definition is pretty much the same as mine, and like I said some things have never been done in the 13 years we’ve lived here. I’m doing good if I get to tidy up do one load of laundry, one chore (bathrooms, dust, vacuum, mop or kitchen counters/sink), cook one meal and do the dishes each day. That is my goal for each day and if I meet it then I’m so pleased with myself I’m smug. What you are doing each day is my dream of how I wish I was and probably, at this point in the game, won’t happen until the kids are gone.

    • Heather says:

      @Allyson, Deep cleaning every day? With 3 kids that young? I’m amazed. Even if I wanted to, I never could have managed that with an 8 month old. Your baby must be pretty easy! Still, you may want to discuss this with your husband. Perhaps if it is important to him, he could do it.
      While not easy to do sometimes, a “mom-goes-away-by-herself” trip can work wonders also!

    • Nicole says:

      @Allyson, Bless your heart! With the children so young, there’s no need to deep clean the rooms like that every day. Perhaps, you could prepare a nice meal and approach your husband with some good ideas about spending more quality time with the kids, and have a much more lenient plan to clean! My kids are 8, 5, 4, and 1, and there’s just no way to fit in such a rigorous cleaning into our schedule. Sounds like perhaps you just need to be able to approach your husband the right way and at the right time, and hopefully have your responsibilities ease up a little! God bless you in your effort 🙂

    • Tawra Kellam says:

      @Allyson, I’m sorry but that is a totally unreasonable request from your husband.

      With kids that young you are lucky to get the dishes and laundry done. I think he needs to be a SAHD for a few days and let’s see how much he gets done.

      I was gone for 5 days and my hubby said “I will totally understand if the house is never clean again!” and he had my 12 yr. old and 11 yr. and mother old helping him!!!

      Really, you do not need to be doing all that! Stop at least today and give yourself a break!

      • Allyson says:

        @Tawra Kellam, My husband has stressful responsibilities each day so I try to give him the clean home he desires. He does not demand this, but I know it’s what he prefers. He is good at extending the grace I need!

      • Julie says:

        @Tawra Kellam,

        I thought the exact same thing! I know for a fact that raising three kids, trying to keep a house spotless and healthy food on the table, clothes washed and put away can be stressful at times. And when you throw others demands on top of that and don’t have “me” time that can be stressful as well. And “when momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

    • Bethany says:

      @Allyson, My kids are almost the exact same age as yours, and I also try to keep my house as clean as I can, only because both my husband and I are kinda neat freaks. (lol) The only way I’ve found for this to be possible is to do little tidy-ups all throughout the day. For example, if I’m heading to the kitchen to make a bottle and there are a few dishes in the livingroom, I’ll grab those and throw them in the dishwasher while the bottle is warming. Doing little things like that throughout the day has helped me a lot in keeping my house clean and organized and still be able to enjoy being with my kids. I also have them pick up their own toys before we go to another room, or before we go on a walk, etc, to teach them that you pick up after yourself. And I also wait to do any deep-cleaning that needs my full attention until my kids are napping. (I know, by the grace of GOD alone, all three of my kids nap at the same time. It’s a precious gift and not of my own doing! lol)
      But I think it’s fine to be cleaning around your kids as long as they see that Mama is cheerful and happy and enjoying the day, not stressed out and grumbling to get things done…which is hard, I know!!

  • Davonne says:

    I’d love to know what your laundry system is, as well as when you exercise. I feel that those are my two biggest issues right now, and can’t figure out how to get our laundry piles under control, other than when my mother-in-law comes over to wash and fold some for me.

    I remember you mentioning in the past that you go to bed shortly after your children do, and also I’d like to know how you nurture your relationship with your husband. When I go to bed right after the kids, I feel like I never see my husband by ourselves, but when we stay up late to spend time together, we sleep too late in the morning so I don’t get my Bible study/exercise time in before our girls wake up, and then it just doesn’t get done. (Or I wake up early anyways, but then am so tired that I am not very productive throughout the day.)

    I am so thankful that you’re going to do a series on this!

    • Carrie says:

      @Davonne, Try to exercise with your girls. I did this with my 10 year old and she’s a great dancer now.

      • Carrie says:

        @Carrie, Let me clarify, I did step-aerobics and hand weights to Cathe Fredrich on Exercise TV. I had two steppers so my daughter and I each had one (since we started this when she was 3, she wasn’t coordinated yet and it led to some hilarious moments) and while I used the 5, 8, and 10 lbs hand weights, she used 1 lb weights. I truely believe that this helped her with dance where she had to get her body to move to the names of the moves the instructor was calling out. If nothing else, turn on some music and dance with them!!

        • Davonne says:

          @Carrie,

          I exercised with my oldest daughter when she was smaller, but my younger daughter tries to climb all over me the ENTIRE time and it has not been working out at all lately! (Although when I do crunches and she climbs on my belly, that is a pretty great workout, ha.)

        • Carrie says:

          @Carrie, Davonne, I’m trying to respond to you but I can’t find a “reply” button at the bottom of your comment. Anyway, I agree with the other two women who replied about laundry, I do 1-2 loads a day. M – darks (reds, blue jeans, anything else really dark) and towels, T- whites (underwear washed separately but dried together with the other whites), W – regular color clothes, R – sheets, F – towels again. This makes it manageable for me and gets it all done so nothing is done on the weekend.

          As for the exercising, you mentioned the youngest climbing all over you. That’s why I said if nothing else, turn on music and dance. They love it and you get cardio. Slow songs hold her and slow dance with her, fast songs do traditional exercise move (jumpling jacks, running in place, etc) while she “dances”. As for strength moves, like you said, do crunches while she’s sitting on your stomach. If she’ll lay on the floor, get over her and do push ups where you kiss her each time you are in the down part of the push up or have her put her feet on your shoulders and she’ll think she’s pushing you up when you are in the up part of the push up. Depending on her size, stand with her laying down on your arms and do bicep curls and again kiss her each time you bring her to your face. Another exercise would be to hold her while you are doing squats. Again, depending on her size, it would not take many reps holding her to feel like you’ve gotten a work out. One last thing, exercise mags say that 3 bouts of 10 min exercise a day gives the same results of 30 straight mins. So you could do the above with her for about 10 min (5 dancing and 5 using her as your weight) 3 times a day.

    • @Davonne, Something that has helped me tremendously with laundry is to do at least a load every day. I start the washer first thing the morning, get everyone dressed and have breakfast and then it’s time to put it in the dryer. Sometimes it doesn’t get folded until the evening but I try to get it finished by the end of the day. Now, laundry is one of my least favorite things to do! But, I’ve found that I can fold one load in less than five minutes which is pretty reasonable. If I let the laundry go for a few days it takes at least 30 minutes (if not longer) so it’s more difficult to get motivated.

      • amy peca says:

        @Christine (iDreamofClean), i do the same thing… Everyone in my house has their own laundry basket…when the basket is full i do their laundry…then i am only putting clothes away in 1 room, instead of towels in closet, shirts in my room, etc…this makes great sense too considering my 2 boys are very close in size…I can’t ever seem to remember what was passed down to the youngest –all pj pants look the same….i know that basket belongs all to the same person—-what a time saver that is –because i know we all LOVE to put the folded clothes away.,,,,blah!

        • Rachael says:

          It’s hard to fit in a workout, but I go for daily walks with the kids in the stroller. Sometimes I take my brother along, who lives close by. This gives us time to visit, too. I also physically play with the kids at the park. Running after my toddler is a great workout and fun, too!

  • AD says:

    I’m interested in anything you have to say! I’m teaching a time management/money management class for a group of homeschool high school girls in early Nov. I’m writing the class right now, but I could use lots of tips!

  • Jaci says:

    What an exciting series! Time management is something I’ve been struggling with my whole life. It seems like there are a few reasons it is so difficult for me and one of them is that I’m highly distractable (I don’t think that is a word but you can gather the meaning…). How do you keep from being distracted? So often I’ll jump online to send a quick email and I’ll spend way too long – usually on blogs! Or I’ll be busy doing housework and the kids will distract me (a daily thing!). Or it’s my husband or a phone call, etc.

    This brings forth another question and that is, if you get distracted and get behind on your tasks, how do you decide what gets ‘let go’?

    I’m looking forward to hearing what works for you and maybe gleaning some tips! Thanks!

    • Allyson says:

      @Jaci, I’d love to knwo what gets let go as well. That is one of my biggest problem. When I get behind I gat overwhelmed and end up trying to get caught up on everything and none of it very well.

  • WilliamB says:

    One thing I’ve noticed in “good news” blogs is how easy it is for one to get the impression that it’s all good news. The blogger doesn’t mean to imply that it’s all fun and games and that she (it’s usually a she) does it all herself, and the reader probably knows better consciously, but the cumulative effect seems to be that readers (some readers? just me?) get the gut-level impression that the blogger has everything under control all the time. I would be interested to learn more about how/when you don’t, what you let slide, what help you get from outside – for family responsibilities, for the blog, and so on. Mention of this has come up, almost sideways, as when you said your husband hired help when you had post-partum depression (I’m delighted that you report you’re feeling better!).

    • Lynn says:

      @WilliamB, This is what I’ve been thinking, too.

    • Bethany says:

      @WilliamB, Yes, I’ve also wondered about the “bad days”, because we all have them. I’ve always been one to be organized and figure out what works best and stick to a schedule (you kinda have to with three kids 3 and under), but I have my bad days where I want to scream and throw in the towel. And as helpful and encouraging as your blog is, it would be nice to see that you do have those “I can’t take it anymore!” moments, too. You do, right??? 😉 haha

      • A says:

        @Bethany, I am thinking that most of us have days when we feel we could conquer the world (bring it on!) and days when it feels like the world just won’t stop conquering US. I think anyone who says differently is likely Pollyanna, or lying. Ha. When reading blogs, I think it is important to remember that we are all more likely to “pretty-up” our public image. As lovely as Crystal is (and I do think she maintains a healthy honesty about herself here), this IS a business and a money-making blog. Do you want advice from someone who appears to be just as overwhelmed as you are? 🙂 Probably not. There is that American desire to achieve perfection, which we assume others have attained, as yet another “consumable.” Personally, I like to think that (in the words of Pride and Prejudice– the movie) “I don’t think I know one woman who is TRULY accomplished,” but if I knew one, that would be “a fearsome thing to behold.” Ha! I hope you find comfort that most of us are just trying, failing, and trying again. Blessings.

        • Crystal says:

          I’m going to be sharing what is working in this series — and lots of my glaring failures, too. Because it’s super important to me that no one gets the impression I have it all together. As I always tell people, “I can only do a few things well.” I stink at a lot of things.

  • Julie C says:

    I’m guessing you get many invitations to go out of town to speak. How do you decide how many times a year you should travel? If I remember some of these times you went to see other bloggers and other times you went to a blogging conference ; you didn’t speak at the Dave Ramsey event if I remember that was another conference all together.

  • Nancy D. says:

    Crystal you are so amazing. It is a delicate issue to try to balance everything, especially with a website as large as yours plus 3 kids. My husband has been complaining that I am spending too much time “playing on the computer” with my http://www.supersavingmommy.com website which is only a month old, but I have been checking out other mom sites to see what they are doing so I can be a fast learner. I feel proud of myself for being my own webmaster, but I wish my husband would be more supportive and see that by having my own website it’s contributing to my self worth in feeling successful other than doing regular mommy stuff as a stay-at-home mom who used to be a teacher. Sorry for my rambling. I’m really proud of your accomplishments with your site.

  • Melanie Ford says:

    How do you carve out that time to spend in the Word and praying? That seems to be the hardest for me. Thinking about waking up early makes me even more tired! And during my toddler’s nap I usually am cleaning and just enjoying some down time.

    Any suggestions that you have? Is the answer really to be the first one to wake up in my house? 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      @Melanie Ford, Yes. 🙂 But, are you going to bed early? I find it hard to get up early if I stay up late. So I’d suggest starting with an earlier bedtime and then just setting your alarm 5-10 minutes earlier in the morning. You’ll feel more rested and refreshed in the morning, too.

      Have you considered reading the Word and praying *with* your toddler? I’ve done that sometimes when I’m in a season that I’m up a lot at night with a baby and find getting up early difficult.

      • @Crystal, I’d love to hear more about how this worked for you.

      • Melanie Ford says:

        @Crystal, Busted, I have been going to bed later each night since he started sleeping through the night. I usually make it to sleep around 10:30 to 11:30. Since he wakes up at 8:30, I tend to sleep right until he wakes.

        I have noticed that lately I will wake for no “apparent” reason before he does. I will lie there and not fall back asleep. I have wondered if it was the Lord nudging me to get up and spend time with him!

        Thanks for your insight and taking the time to answer this question!

  • Kim P says:

    I have seen a few requests for a daily schedule of sorts, which I would also be interested in seeing. I’m also wondering what your week-at-a-glance looks like. Do you tackle different chores each day? What does a day with your mother’s helper look like compared to a day without her?

  • Lindsey says:

    What’s the difference between a baby-sitter and a mother’s helper? I’ve never heard of a “mother’s helper” before, but I certainly like the sound of it!

    • Crystal says:

      Basically, a mother’s helper is just someone who comes in and serves a mother’s right hand — doing whatever tasks she needs done that week. Some people have them do cooking, deep-cleaning, laundry, running errands, doing crafts with the children, etc.

  • Holly says:

    Thank you for your fabulous blog! I’m putting in my request to see an example of your schedule. I find specific life examples very encouraging and helpful even when my situation might look completely different. Hidden in what might seem like the standard routine to you will undoubtably be a great lesson for me 🙂

  • Shauna says:

    I am interested in hearing about your day to day schedule. Where do you find the time to exercise, clean, homeschool, play with kids, cook, read, blog, shop…the list could go on and on? I am just interested in how you and all mothers fit it in. I just always feel like there is more then I can get done and I know that I do NOT spend enough time just playing with my kids. Then if I do play it seems like I have a hard time concentrating because I can see the dust on the shelves or the laundry is done.

  • Looking forward to this series! I think most of the things I’d like to see info on have already been addressed in the previous comments.
    I also want to encourage anyone who can to check out their local church to see if they have a mother’s day out program. If you can’t find a mother’s helper, mother’s day out programs are great!

  • Heidi Meier says:

    Definitely a sample schedule. I work from home and find it hard not to feel tempted to work when I should be playing with the children.

  • jane says:

    Hey Crystal! That’s so nice that you have a mother’s helper come in to help around the house and babysit. And it’s so sweet how you and your husband take the time to have date nights, which I think is very important! Since it’s not something you’ve really covered on your blog, just wondering what kinds of fun (and frugal) things you guys do on date nights? 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      We love Groupon deals for inexpensive date nights! Tonight it was bowling — thanks to Groupon! Last time, we went to a bookstore and browsed shelves. We try to do something different each time, just to keep things fun!

  • Melissa says:

    I would like to know if you have any tips/ideas for handling a husband’s erratic work schedule. Do you keep the same schedule everyday regardless or do you adjust depending upon his work hours?

    • @Melissa,

      Melissa – that has been my husbands schedule *at best* for the past 4 years! He is gone anywhere from 1-20 nights a month, we never know which days will be his “off” days and when they are off he can be called back in. He’s Army and we are SO grateful for the provision the Lord has provided through his job. It’s been rough though. The lack of routine on his part {tho not at all his fault!} naturally leaks into the family.

      For us it varies. There has been no perfect answer. Sometimes I adjust all our schedules to fit his. Sometimes I maintain our schedule regardless of his. The key, for us, has been to communicate. When I know his needs {and he knows mine!} we figure out, together, what needs to be tweaked in our schedule to make it work.

      What has really helped has been to have a mission statement and goals – it keeps us on track. So if breaking mine and the children’s schedule will result in something we have already defined as important happening, then we do it. 🙂

      It’s not an easy place to be and my heart hurts for you – this season of our life is ALMOST over and I am excited!
      I hope you find ways to make this season joyful and beautiful.

    • Nicole says:

      @Melissa, My husband’s work schedule is crazy erratic. We don’t know until the day before what his schedule is like for the next day. He works construction, so the weather is a factor, as well. Then, perhaps, a machine will break down, or something else comes up, so he works much, much later. Or, they will close major highways here in Indy late at night, or on weekends to avoid daytime traffic.

      All that to say: I have just learned to be ready for ANY schedule change! We have 4 kids under 8 yrs old, and I just have to mentally prepare myself for any schedule change on any day of the week. The most important key is the mental preparation. I am prepared that if we make weekend or evening plans, that often I must cancel or reschedule, or go it alone!

      Yesterday was a perfect example: He was only supposed to work 4 hours in the morning. I had a Home Decorating Party scheduled at my house for friends and family. He called at 11 am and said that someone’s equipment had broken down 2 hours away, and he was on his way there to help finish the job. I laughed and said, “Ha, ha, I know you’re kidding and you’re on your way home.” …he wasn’t kidding… So, I shopped, cooked dinner, and straightened up the house and went through half of my party with all 4 kids present, until he picked them up and took them for ice cream 🙂

      My advice, mentally prepare and be flexible!!! Be thankful for the work, make the best of the time he’s home, learning to balance his free time, your “away” time, time as a couple, and time as a family! Learn to say “No” to other people, when you have to! Don’t let other family members, neighbors, friends, or even an over-loaded church social schedule usurp all the family together time. If you’re not careful, you’ll have him helping a neighbor Monday night, you volunteering at church Tuesday night, separate church activities Wednesday night, work late Thursday and Friday night, 2 Birthday parties Saturday, then church twice on Sunday. And you haven’t seen him all week 🙂

      God bless you, as we all work to balance our crazy schedules!

    • peever says:

      @Melissa,

      My husband has an erratic schedule as well. He’s out of town a lot and works long hours. We never know his schedule more than a few days in advance, and even then, it can change at a moment’s notice.

      It’s been this way for over 10 years and my advice is just to do your own thing. I know now not to count on my husband for anything. Not that he doesn’t mean well, because he does, but things come up that are out of his control and I’ve been in a pinch one too many times. Thankfully I have a lot of family close by so I always line up family members to help me out – if I need to go to a meeting, to watch our youngest while I coach our oldest’s soccer team, etc. so that even if he doesn’t show up, I’m still able to meet my obligations.

      I keep a regular schedule with the kids and if he’s there, he’s there and if he’s not, he’s not. That might mean that he gets to eat a cold dinner or he might have to fend for himself. It might mean that he misses the kids at bedtime, but I’m not going to mess up our schedule just because something went wrong at work and he’s running late. It’s just not fair to our small children and I hate feeling frazzled and irritated with him for being late. I just set my expectations low and if he makes it home early or is able to help me out with something, then that’s an extra bonus. 🙂

      It’s not ideal, but it’s what we have to work with and I’m thankful for all his hard work that enables me to stay at home with our children.

  • lisa says:

    Crystal,

    I would love it if you would address outside of the home activities. Are your children at an age where they are involved yet in any activities. We try to limit these but with many children it is still hard. Even church activities or service activities which are great things can overwhelm our calender sometimes. Are you involved in any of these on a regular basis?

  • Tiffany says:

    I really struggle with homeschooling my 7 year old, having time for my 2 year old and 8 month old and then having a clean house on top of that. I feel like my house is always neglected. How do you find time to clean?

    • Julie says:

      @Tiffany,
      Tiffany- that is how it is at our house. I homeschool 3 of my four kids right now. I have twin 9 year olds and a 7 year old and a 3 year old. It is difficult to keep the 3 yo entertained while I teach the others. While I do try to include him in everything sometimes it just doesn’t work. Some times he wants to play and distract the other from their work etc. I just can’t seem to keep the house picked up either. Seems that as soon as one room is cleaned up another room is a mess! This not the least bit exaggerated either. Its not usually “dirty” but rather “messy”. I have “sort of” come to grips with it. By sort of I mean, I can let it go to a point then all stops and I HAVE to have my house clean again! Although, we all have our chores to do, I have to remind them ALOT!! I also feel that I need to do a more thorough cleaning then when a 9 yo can do. So, at this point I just do what I can and have to live with the rest not getting done. My kids are happy, have clean clothes on, and healthy food in their bellies, so I guess that is all that really matters in the end.
      It does bother me that my house is a messy, when my house is messy it weighs on me. It makes me anxious! Hope it helps to know that you are not alone!

  • What is the hardest thing for you in managing your time?

  • Kristina Butler says:

    I need help with organizing and cleaning. I’m a single mom, full-time student with a double courseload until 11/22. My house is a mess. The 12yo doesn’t get it and the 4yo does her best to help. The 12yo loves to cook, so that helps with dinner prep. BTW, I’m unemployed, so I spend hours each day looking for a job, doing an awful lot of homework, and entertaining a 4yo. P.S. I want to cut my cable off to save $$$, but I think my 4yo and I would go into shock.

  • Brooke says:

    When using coupons, is it necessary to have a coupon per each item, or can you use one coupon for multiple items?

  • Laura says:

    Crystal, I would like to know, not only how you structure YOUR day, but also how you structure your children’s day. I feel, for the most part, I do fairly well with getting my housecleaning and cooking done. (most days, at least). However, my biggest struggle is attempting to structure the day for my children (they are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2). By the way, I absolutely LOVE your blog. Definitely one of the best I’ve found. You have been an incredible inspiration to me!

  • dee says:

    I love reading all of your comments. I’m looking at this from the other end. My 5 kids (3 bio & 2 step that I acquired at ages 10 and 11) are all grown and gone.

    For the moms who would love a helper, but can’t afford one, what I did all those many years ago might help:
    When my youngest was still little, (my older kids were already in school) two other moms in the neighborhood and I took turns taking all of our kids for one morning a week. We each got two whole mornings a week to do whatever we needed to do. Granted, we had one crazy morning a week too. But the kids entertained each other. The mom on duty fed everyone lunch.
    When they were in preschool, we signed them up for the same school at the same time. We took all of the kids on our day.
    Then they went to half-day kindergarten. We did the same. The mom on duty put them on the bus.
    Obviously, we sent our kids to public school and didn’t home school. And, the kids had to get along. They spent a lot of time together. Thankfully, these kids adored each other.

    Also, a suggestion for “how do you read?” Audiobooks while you are driving, cooking, folding laundry, etc. Most public libraries have a pretty good selection.

  • Allie says:

    I have two little ones (5yrs and 18 months), work full time, am in graduate school (1 semester left!), and go to the gym at 5 in the morning to destress.

    I feel like I have three lives… the working me, the school me, and the Mommy me. How do I bring it all together? At times, I am so tired I feel like I am going through the motions instead of actually enjoying anything. How do you do it? (and yes, there should be a Housecleaning me too, but that falls to the bottom of the list). My husband works hard and is typically home around 8 pm each night, so he does what he can, but it isn’t much around the house.

  • Allison says:

    Do you do volunteer/charity work in your community?

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you! I’ve been hoping you would do a series about this for some time. I guess I would echo some of the other comments in that I would love to see a sample schedule. My biggest struggle with time management is trying to find a balance between “me” time and doing housework and other tasks. If I take a break, I seem to fall so behind in everything that needs to get done. I’d also be interested in knowing how to get more stuff done when my daughter is awake (not just during naps or after bedtime). I want to leave plenty of time for playing with her, but I’d love advice for how to incorporate some chores into our normal routine.

  • Stephanie says:

    In reading the comments about how much to pay a babysitter, do we have to hire someone of legal working age and pay them minimum wage? Is it illegal to have a 13 yo come over and help watch the kids while I clean or plan lessons and then pay her $6/hr ? Yikes!

    • Crystal says:

      If you’re just having someone work for you for a few hours per week, you wouldn’t qualify as their “employer”. If, on the other hand, you were having a 13-year-old come over and work for you for 25 hours per week at $6 per hour, then that would be a different story!

  • Joy says:

    I remember reading a post where you mentioned that you were working on “budgeting” your time. I’d love to learn more about that — do you sit down in the morning and allot a certain amount of time to chores, the blog, etc.?

    Others have been asking to see an example of a typical day’s schedule — I would like to see this too!

    • Crystal says:

      This is going to be part of the series — as this concept has revolutionized my life!

      • Stephanie says:

        @Crystal, I remember when you first mentioned budgeting your time, and although I don’t really know how that translates, I have taken this concept and have been amazed at how much it has helped me in identifying what to say no to , and what I can do. Turns out alot had to go, but I feel so much better! I can’t wait to read what you have to say on that topic!

  • Lori says:

    I’m curious what do you do with your other 2 children while you are homeschooling the oldest?

  • Nicole says:

    YAY! I’m so glad to see these questions and read other posts and I’m hoping to see just a basic time schedule of your day. I often wonder when you get time to take a shower 🙂 I have 4 kids under 8 yrs old, and would love to hear how other moms designate their time for different things. Looking forward to your post!

  • Tiah says:

    @Nicole, On a similar strain to Nicole I would love to know where time is budgeted to maintain yourself – shower, hair, makeup, exercise, etc. It seems in my life my looks tend to take a back burner and this doesn’t help my self-confidence or the family.

  • Elaine says:

    I would be curious how you stay on top of the good deals without spending too much time on the computer. I only check 2-3 blogs on a regular basis but often feel like I am not managing this area of my time very well.

    • Lynn says:

      @Elaine, I’m curious about this, too. How much time do personally spend posting the deals, etc. vs. writing articles and series? Obviously the essay type posts are your work, but the multitude of daily deal posts — do you actually spend the time posting all of them? How long does that take? You’ve shared in the past that you’ve come to the point where you can hire help to help with the blog (your friend Joy and your sister?). How many hours a month/week do they help out? Is it possible for someone to have this large of a blog and do it and everything else without help? I’m not trying to be critical of any outside help, but I want to be realistic.

      • Crystal says:

        I have a team of six people in addition to myself. I work around 25 hours per week and write all the posts you see on the main blog unless it’s a guest post or it’s the weekly drug store deals, Target or Walmart deals (I edit those, but my sister formats them for). I also answer some emails personally that only I can answer and oversee my team/set goals and assign tasks, brainstorm, etc.

        My team takes care of much of the behind-the-scenes work: answering the bulk of my email (if you write in, you’re more likely to hear from someone on my team, than from me. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to answer 500 emails per day! ;)), all graphic design work, vetting and formatting guest posts, arranging giveaways/advertising, taking care of all the technical stuff — which there is a lot of! — and formatting all the store deals on the store deal section of the blog.

        It is not possible to have this size of a blog and not have help — unless you never want to sleep! 🙂 Collectively, we put in around 70-90 hours per week. That number would likely be much higher if someone were to try and do it all themselves, because each person on my team has their own jurisdiction and they are really efficient and skilled at what they do.

        • Stephanie says:

          @Crystal, Wow that means 5 hours a day is blogging, 1 hour is exercising…that is 6 hours out of your day gone if you don’t blog on weekends. That is a large chunk of time! Now I am really curious, how in the world do you do it all? I can’t imagine 6 hours of my day being gone, in addition to homeschooling, and all of the other household responsibilities! I’d love to see your daily schedule!

          • Crystal says:

            I’ll share specifics in the series. I usually work 4-5 hours on Saturdays, and only 4 hours average on weekdays. So it’s really not that much as I usually get in at least 2+ hours of work before the children get up in the morning. And I truly enjoy blogging; it refreshes and energizes me to write!

        • Preparedmom says:

          @Crystal, Thank you for explaining that. I don’t think we all realize just how this site is kept running.

  • I too have several littles and homeschool…..plus the hubs works a tough job and is a full time student. Hired help is out of the question for us at this point…and a few years ago I found myself becoming jealous and critical at my friends who could afford to hire a babysitter to go on a date, have cleaning help or just have the ability to pick up take out on tough days. The Lord really convicted me of this….and showed me that attitude, plus a plan, is key! Each afternoon, the baby sleeps and the older children have REQUIRED quiet time. For 2 hours, they can read/draw/rest…so long as they do not talk and come in the kitchen or my bedroom. During that time I can have prayer, quiet time or catch up on sewing. So, quiet time is not the same as a mother’s helper….but it has made a huge inpact on our days! My husband also had the wisdom to set a “finished” hour. At 7:30 in the evening….if it is not finished…it is not finished. No longer do I stay up till all hours folding laundry. We have family worship, get the kids in bed and spend some time together. It has really given me a sense of freedom having a “cut off” time for housework….and I better budget in the day what is most important to be accomplished. I think having my husband “evaluate” the way our home runs and give suggestions has really helped. Having him set the “cut off” hour also helps….I know he is not disappointed if the house is not perfect and dust free. He would rather me feel rested and have a sense of the work being finished, rather than have the hamster on the wheel effect!
    I think there are a lot of mommas who are raising their littles without any extra help, and an attitude of thankfulness to have those precious children entrusted to my care….has really helped me a lot!

  • Sabrina says:

    Do you have a daily routine you stick to, or try to? And if so, what is it? And are your kids on a daily routine? If so, what age did you start that, and what is it? Even with you having a mother’s helper 5 hours or so a week, that really isn’t much time at all. I have about 5 hours a week (maybe) of uninterrupted time, if I can manage to get up before the kids (20 month old and 2 month old), and I don’t get 1/4 of my to do list done! My husband works a lot (50+hrs/wk), so it’s just me cleaning, cooking, caring for 4 kids (my sisters kids too) and working 20 hrs a week at my job. Being home with the 4 kids all day means I am doing nothing but cleaning up after them, litterally. they make messes faster than I can clean them up. And sometimes I can wash their dishes before the next meal, but that’s rare.

  • Mrs. B. says:

    Another mother’s help question, please ( I forgot this last time—I apologize):

    Not sure how much to pay someone…..what advice can you provide? Thanks so much. Blessings!

  • Allyson says:

    I guess one of my biggest issues is when something not in our routine comes up. I can get our normal things done most of the time, but what happens when my husband needs a 10 page paper proofread or someone gives me a bag of clothes for the kids that need to be put away. Or like recently, when I need to switch out all of our clothes for cooler weather options. How do you plan for and fit in unexpected extras?

  • Jaclyn says:

    This is really noisy but I’d be curious to know what “things” you keep or like how many of something you have. When I look around my house I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the stuff (physical things and then things to do). That makes me feel like why even bother and I walk away. It has kinda changed recently – on a post you mentioned that you didn’t have side tables etc. b/c they are junk collectors. For the past two weeks I’ve been selling my coffee table/side tables and all the decor I bought to put on them. Just that one little thing has made me feel better and I made some money for our vacation jar. The one area I am avoiding is the kitchen. I have so many cooking items and I am afraid to get rid of something b/c I may end up needing it etc. A lot of what we have was gifted to us (we got married 2 years ago) and I keep thinking well “what if I need that melon baller”? I do feel like we have too many plates and maybe if we had less they wouldn’t pile up but I just don’t know. What do you think? I want to get rid of a lot of stuff but not too much to where I have to go buy it again.

    • Dani says:

      @Jaclyn, Just chiming in here…. What works for me the best is the “have I used this in the last year?” method. If not pitch it. The things I know I use only once a year, for example the big santa tray for cookies, I put in the shed, but the daily things like the extra plates, if you haven’t used it in a year there is a good chance you won’t use it or if you do need it, something else could be used in its place. If you are only using it because its easier than washing the dishes at that time, then box half of them up and put them away somewhere. If a month or two passes and you realized thats the only reason you were using them, get rid of them! Same goes for clothes. Thats what I try to do. Even with the kids toys. The last time I went through my kids toys, I dumped everything on the floor (crazy I know!) and put the kids in the room. I kept checking every ten minutes and guess what, they played with the same few things. So, I got rid of most of the rest! (I did keep a few extra learning toys) To my suprise, not only did they not notice, they played with all the other toys. I learned that kids also get stressed by all the clutter from this day. Hope something from this helps! Good luck on your de-cluttering!

    • Allyson says:

      @Jaclyn, We recently got rid of all of our kids plastic cups. We wanted to go with BPA free options, but we also got rid of them so that dishes don’t stack up as much. One of our neighbors said that they only have enough plates, bowls, etc. for one per person. Obviously this wouldn’t work if you have people over, but we have moved all of the extra tableware to a very high shelf. I’ve found that I’d rather take a minute to wash a plate than pull over a chair to get the other plates down. My next step is to limit the silverware that’s in the drawer to one of each per person.

  • LK says:

    Crystal – I keep hoping you’re going to update us on your progress with the P90X exercise program, since keeping up with that much time exercising, 6 days a week has got to take a chunk out of your schedule for other things. Will you update us on that and your progress with it, how it’s working for you, too?

    I ask since I am considering starting the same program. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      I stopped with the updates because people were complaining about me talking about it so much. And I fell off the bandwagon this week because I’m prepping for Relevant. So I kinda gotta get back with it before I can sincerely tell you how it’s going for me. But it *was* going really well! 🙂

  • peever says:

    I’m excited for this series. I think all of us struggle with all the hats we have to wear. I feel like I can either be a really good housekeeper or a really good mom and it’s hard to find a good balance between the two.

    I have one in school and a 3 yr old at home. She’s down to just napping about twice a week so I’ve been having a hard time adjusting to trying to get stuff done around the house while she’s awake. I feel like I’m constantly trying to think of things to do to keep her occupied, other than watching tv, but of course she wants me to play with her. I try to do at least one educational activity with her every morning, but some days it’s hard when I need to be cleaning, or running errands, or meal prep, etc. Lately I’ve found that we do most of our educational activities in the car – like working on spelling her name, playing “the car game” to work on her colors, playing the “ABC game” to find letters on signs, listening to books on CDs, etc. Do you have any more creative ideas for still being productive and helping her learn at the same time? How do you handle your homeschool schedule? Do you have a set thing that you do at a set time on a set day? Like Mondays at 10am we always have music, Tuesdays at 9am we always do art, etc.? I’m not homeschooling, but I’d still like for her to learn as much as possible before she starts preschool next year.

    Like everyone else, I’d like a glimpse into a day in your life and what your schedule looks like. I’d like to know what things are priorities for you and what things you let go. I’d like to know how you stay on top of everything and stay motivated.

    Thanks for all you do!

  • Bonnie says:

    I agree with LK that a P90X update would be appreciated 🙂 Also, would you mind taking pictures of the different mix and match outfits you make with your minimalist wardrobe? I’m sure you’re probably so sick of questions about your clothes, but we are similar in size (and close in age), and we seem to have the same tastes, so it would be fun to see different outfits!

    • Rebekah says:

      @Bonnie, She did a vlog about her wardrobe just recently. You should be able to find in the archives!! It was really neat to see it, but I wouldn’t even know where to start to get mine pared down that far. My husband would love that though, especially the shoes!!! 😉

  • A says:

    I suppose I am hoping that the jist of this series is encouragement. I think comparing our lives and schedules can be much like comparing apples and oranges. 🙂 I think most women might do best just to ask themselves– Am I applying myself diligently to the tasks before me? Am I wasting time on things I know are not important? Have I made room to put people first and things second? Am I taking restorative, deep-breathing-Sabbath rest? What might I surrender for the time being, accepting that I am God’s child and that my essence is one of “sonship?” God delights in us, and I think our ceaseless toil to be best in every category under the sun must be wearisome to Him. 🙂 In addition to tiring to one another…heavens! I need authentic, life-giving, honest, sharpening relationships; women attempting superwoman status need not apply. Ha.

    One factor that I think varies widely from family to family is the amount of time dad is available at home for an extra set of hands. My husband works long hours– from about 7 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. on *most* days. He is also compensated well. Therefore, I have surrendered myself to the truth that it is best for my family to have a joyful, rested, contented mother and homeschool mom…and I DON’T coupon too much, spend hours finding the best deals, worry about generating more income, prepare every meal from scratch, etc. I also don’t necessarily hold to the belief that anyone is more righteous for doing “more.” I imagine that attempting to be the most-frugal, most-volunteering, most-scheduled, most-clean, most-organized, most-fit, best-dressed, most-creative-homeschooler IN ADDITION TO wife-of-the-year and supermom might be miserable for everyone in my life…including me.

    I find tremendous peace in the Titus 2 responsibilities for women, to be “busy at home, loving your own husband and children.” Clearly, even early church leaders knew that women had a special– and completely busy!– role to fulfill at home.

    Can’t we just ask ourselves:
    Are you doing the best you are able, where you are planted?
    If not, where do things need to change (gently, gently?)
    Is the goal to get more, more, more done or to do a few things really, really well?

    • Laura says:

      I think you make a good point here. However, I would still be interested in seeing Crystal’s schedule and how she manages her time. I also realize that my lifestyle may be different from hers and some of the things she does may not work for me. But… i don’t think that is Crystal’s point. I don’t think she is trying to get everyone to do things the way she does them. I think that by her doing this I’ll be able to take some good ideas (that work for me) from it. So, I agree with what you posted… (we all need to pray and evaulate those things in our lives) but, I think God can also use other people to help us. I’m excited about seeing her ideas… I may not implement them all in my life, but God may, as he has done many times before, use another person’s life to show me areas for improvement.

    • Crystal says:

      I totally agree and I think you just might be surprised that I won’t be encouraging women to do more, but to do less and *be* more. 😉 That is what true time management is all about to me: focusing on the big picture and the most important priorities — and letting the other stuff go! Stay tuned!

      • A says:

        @Crystal, That sounds lovely! And thank you…I am not meaning to sound at all grumbling, and I realize that allowing others to analyze your schedule must take a LOT of deep breaths. I’m just hoping women guard themselves and truly want to be Christ-like, not Crystal-like. (And honey, I think you are just lovely, so please don’t take that as a slight! I’m talking big picture here!)

        And Laura, I agree with you, as well. However, I think we ladies have an overwhelming tendency to look to other women as models, rather than looking to God’s word. I think we are terribly severe on ourselves, and become “list-checkers” to the max. Our seasons and situations are all so very different, and I think we are all hoping for the magic bullet that will launch us from reasonably capable to perfection. I am reading “Sabbath” right now, and the author mentions again and again that Jesus wasn’t much concerned with a daily to-do list or schedule, would often go off into solitude with announcing his intentions, and yet didn’t leave a single important thing undone. 🙂

        Blessings to you both.

        • Crystal says:

          I absolutely 100% agree. One of the reasons I stopped blogging on my other blogs and sharing so much about our personal lives was because I was very concerned that so many people were holding me up and seeking to emulate *me* — a fallible, very imperfect person — instead of seeking the Lord and seeking how they could follow His unique plan for their life. I’m constantly praying that the Lord would use things I write to point people to Christ, not me. And if there’s anything good in me, it’s only *Christ* not me — any loveliness, anything. Without Him, I’m nothing.

  • Tenille says:

    Wow-wee, I think you opened a big can of worms. You’ll be posting for weeks!

    I am seriously considering homeschool for my 4 kids. 3rd grade in public school has already taken an ugly turn for my oldest. So, can you spend some time talking about how you manage homeschool with the different ages? Any info would be great. Thank you so much for all of your posts, they are truly a blessing to me!

  • Aleda says:

    I feel a little out of place here as I’m a mom and grandma with just my husband and myself at home. I was laid off permanently in mid June and am trying to strengthen my at home alterations business. Part of my dream is to have time for the grandkids and I will be spending 10 days with 2 of them at the end of the month while their mom and dad have a week of crazy schedules. My question on time management is how to balance the sewing, cleaning (the house has to be “good enough” for customers), and “me” time? My husband has a 45 minute commute one way so he’s not much help before he leaves or after he gets home. Another question I have: does anyone know of a blog for me? I love this one but wonder if there’s anything that’s a good fit for me.

  • Stephenie says:

    I enjoy reading your blog, and also am new to couponing. I have three children 10 months, 3 years and 5 years. I homeschool also. I have been trying to keep up with deals, but I find myself spending lots of time clipping and organizing coupons, and looking online at blogs… I just wonder how you organize your time to organize your coupons and how you budget your time to find deals. I think a lot of things will improve as I get better at using coupons, but right now it seems like I spend a lot of time clipping and do not have enough return on my time investment. It takes a lot to pull me away from just the basic needs of my husband and children… as I’m sure you’ve experienced, too. Do you set a time limit? Is there a system that seems to work for you, i.e. which day of the week/time of day you look for deals and clip coupons? Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • Tracy says:

    My oldest child is 11 now, and I have learned a lot about balance in the past decade. The biggest thing that we moms need to remember is that everyone’s needs and family is different. A while back I spent a lot of time obsessing about another woman who seemed to have the perfect life & managed to get 3x more things done that I did. But then I found out that she has insomnia and never sleeps, her husband is often out of town, plus she has health problems. Me – I’m an 8-to-9-hours-a-night kind of gal (my kids are old enough that this is actually possible now!), so sleep is a huge priority for me in order to stay well, feel good, and take care of my family the best that I can. So I give up doing other things in order to get in bed at a reasonable time for me. I also know that many of my friends hire cleaning people, but we do not. So that means that our house gets cleaned on my schedule, with help from my kids, and it is what it is. It’s all about your priorities and doing what you can. Comparison to others is the best way to make yourself feel lousy. I love it that Crystal is going to share her time-management ideas with everyone. We can all learn from each other and then ask God for guidance on how best to organize our own lives. I know He has been faithful when I have had doubts on where to spend my time. Hope this helps!

  • Chris says:

    This is not a time management question but another if you so decide to address it some time. I was wondering how cutting sugar out of your diet has affected your health (other than weight issues). Thank you

  • Rebekah says:

    This is a major area of need in my life, so I’m very much looking forward to hearing HOW IN THE WORLD you do it all!! Thank you for all the sharing you do to encourage other moms. God has blessed you with this gift!
    I would love to see your schedule…details!! I’m trying to implement one here at home, but it’s hard to even know where to start to put one together when I’m feeling so overwhelmed.
    Also, how do you consistently get up as early as you do??? One busy weekend and I’m knocked off my schedule for days…it gets frustrating!
    Thank you in advance for all the work that went into putting this series together for us!

  • Becky says:

    I’d like to see something like “A Day in the Life Of…” Basic schedule, how much time you spend cleaning, blogging, homeschooling, etc.

  • Jessica says:

    I would love to hear how you do naps at your house. Juggling naps for different ages is a struggle at our house! What do you do with the older one(s) when you are trying to put the younger one(s) down for a nap?

  • Laura Jane says:

    I’d like to know how you limit your time on the computer. I just find it so easy to get sucked in to reading more interesting stuff. Or in tweaking things on my blog. Or doing things to try and get more readers. There’s never a definitive end, and you could always do more. How do you really make yourself stop once you’ve spent enough time. And early on, before your blog had steady readers, how did you find enough to build it up? And how do you feel at peace with what you are able to accomplish and stop wishing you could have done more?

    I second everyone else who wants to know what it is that you don’t do! I don’t even have kids (although I do work full time) and I’d be thrilled to accomplish half of what you do.

  • First of all, ditto to everything that’s been mentioned! 🙂

    In addition, though, how do you balance all of your errand-running needs? I find that I can spend half my week running here and there chasing deals – it ALWAYS takes longer than I think it will! Also, I find myself at the grocery store at least 2 or 3 times a week – even though I menu plan for a week at a time, and make lists! I just always seem to forget something!! Any ideas on that?

    Thanks! 🙂 I’m SUPER DUPER excited about this series!!

  • Mary says:

    Looking forward to some tips in an area where I could use some help!! I am reminding myself that we can’t all be good at everything! Crystal is GIFTED in home management. The good Lord has blessed all of us with some pretty wonderful abilities. Don’t forget about the special gifts that each one of you has!!

  • Erica says:

    Looking forward to this series. It’s actually ironic you’re writing about this — I just had an article published in an association newsletter on practical advice on time management within my profession, because everyone always asks me at work “how I do it all”! But work and home are so different for me, so I can use some practical advice for home, even if I (usually) have it together at work. (If you’re interested, my article is online at http://bit.ly/ce2MAg.)

  • Paula G says:

    I plan to homeschool my kids (currently 3 1/2 and almost 2) but I’m curious what I will do with the younger (more active and needy) child while I’m trying to focus and teach the older one. How do you handle this?

    Thanks for a great blog! I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts in this series!

    (Now my husband is starting the dishes so I’d better get busy with something before my guilt kicks in!)

  • Brianna says:

    I’d like to know how you define a clean house! I always hear various bloggers writing about how they keep a clean house–but they never say what that means to them. Does it mean laundry and dishes done, floors swept daily and vacuumed and mopped weekly, bathroom scrubbed weekly and everything else (windows, fridge and oven cleaning, washing walls, scrubbing baseboards, moving furniture to vacuum under, etc.) gets done once in a blue moon? Or does it mean everything is spic and span at all times, and every bit of the house gets deep cleaned weekly and your drawers are full of clothes that are neatly folded and organized by colour? Or something else? I guess I always imagine you and other bloggers I read to have houses that are constantly completely deep-cleaned, and that that is what it means to have “a clean and organized house”. I’d love to know what your standards actually are.

  • Mandi says:

    I am excited for the upcoming time management series as this is something I have been trying to figure out in my own life. My husband is in medical school and we have 2 kids so I feel as though I can kind of relate to where you were a few years ago! Here are a few things I would love to hear about in your upcoming series on time management.

    1. Schedule: What is your daily schedule? I have always wanted a glimpse into someone’s home. I would love to be a fly on the wall! Seriously, I think it would be great to see a REAL schedule for an entire week from someone who has 3 kids.

    2. Mothers Helper: You have talked about a mother’s helper. Can you tell us more about that? At what point in your life did you start using one? Is your mother’s helper young or old? What does she do? Are you home? How did you go about setting it up?

    3. Kids: How much time do you spend playing with your kids vs having them entertain themselves? How long do you spend out of the house with the kids ie: zoo, parks, museums, rec centers? What do your kids do while you are working or cleaning?

    4. Church: How do you help prepare your kids for church? I have 2 kids and trying to keep them quiet during church is a little daunting! What do you do? Do you spend time throughout the week preparing? (so I know this isn’t very much of a time management question – but I am sure it can relate in some way!)

    • Crystal says:

      You can read more details on my mother’s helper in the comments above. I just started using one after I had my third child & PPD and I’m normally home & working with the girls, etc. when she’s here.

  • Amy says:

    Crystal,

    I’d love to know more about how you manage your computer time in the day. Do you leave the computer open during the day and glance each time you go by, or do you have certain times you are on the computer? I struggle so much with getting “sucked in” to what’s on my email, reader, etc.

    Also, how do you maintain friendships with other women right now? Do you plan playdates together and socialize with other moms then, or do you make a point to have coffee or something (away from your children) with female friends often? How do you work friendships into your life at this busy stage?

    Thanks for your honesty and openness in this upcoming series. I’m really looking forward to it and think it will provide a lot of help for me!

  • Tara says:

    I’m very interested to read this series. I’m always looking for ways to get
    “everything” done. I have a 4 & 5 yr. old, one in all day Kindergarten, one in 1/2 day pre-K. there is a lot of driving back and forth because they don’t start or end at the same time, and i feel like i’m always interrupting a project to stop and get in the car. One poster said something about trying not to emulate someone else, but be the best God wants us to be (i’m paraphrasing). While I think that’s true, I also think it’s helpful to have specific details about how other people get things done. It may not all fit into your life or schedule, but there may be that one thing that you try and it could make all the difference in the world to you. When my youngest was about 5 months old, I was feeling very overwhelmed and couldn’t seem to get anything accomplished. I asked my neighbor , who had 2 kids that were the same age difference, 20 mos, but older, how she did it? how did she get things done? how did she spend enough time with both kids? Her answer was , “you just do it.” I asked other moms and even my own mom and i got the exact same answer, “you just do it.” I cried my eyes out, thinking “just do WHAT?” I struggled for a long time until I found a routine that worked for me. But i still feel like I don’t accomplish all I could in a day. So I’m looking forward to your series and like others said, I’d like to see a daily schedule and see how much time you spend on the computer. Like others, I intend to check for one thing on the computer and then oops, an hour has passed and now my day is completley off schedule.

  • Looking forward to it. Not because you’ll have all the answers for MY family but because it’s always exciting to hear what works for others in order to glean ideas.
    In response to some of the above: Concrete examples are always fun to see/read as long as on the receiving end we don’t try and force ourselves to follow something designed for another. It also doesn’t matter who you are or how organized and scheduled you are, you’ll have areas you struggle in! Crystal does, I do and every other blogger out there does. No one has all the answers 🙂

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