How do you people do it all? – Day 2

Brain Trust,

I need to know how veteran homeschool mamas do it all: schooling, groceries, house chores, keep order, and still have energy past 3pm? Help!

Needing a nap,


Dear Tired,

Well, Hyacinth, I wouldn’t say I run a well-oiled machine unless you consider an espresso maker a well-oiled machine. I have found myself wrestling with the same issues through the years. I wear rose-colored glasses, and even after 20 years of being a mom, I still hold onto the idea that I can get it all done. Believe me, I know how unrealistic this is, but the difference of 20 years is that I don’t beat myself when I fall short. A girl can dream, can’t she? So, Tired, here are some of my pointers in my attempt to get it all done (yet not burn out) and have more than enough time for the kids and hubby:

1. Expectations: These change with my seasons. There are seasons when I have limited my “out of my home” responsibilities to maintain sanity in my home. and there are seasons when I’ve added “out of my home” responsibilities to help me keep sanity in my home. We must know our season. I have lowered my expectations to only turn around in the next season and realize that I need to raise my expectations. It can be hard to discern your season, and for me, this is when I call on my husband or ask a close friend. For years and years, I didn’t sleep much because of nursing babies. Now that my kids are older and can dress, feed, and usually wipe their own bottoms and noses, I sleep at night. And I can do more.

2. Lists. I am highly motivated by lists. Yep, I’m one of those. I make lists so I can cross things off. I am a crazy romantic when it comes to lists, even though I rarely get it all done. Those undone items get bumped to the next day and I start over. Writing down my goals gets me moving and helps me clear the cobwebs. A list cries out to be conquered, and it’s funny how motivating this is for me.

3. Crockpot. We eat pretty clean and simply. But it’s incredible what a chicken roasting in a slow cooker or a bubbly crock of chili does to entice my family to gather at the dinner table. I see it reenergize their (my) weary soul(s). Create a weekly or monthly menu list that you’d like to try. A menu plan and ingredients in the fridge ultimately save me time and energy. Double your recipe and throw the other half in the freezer, and you get two for one. Voila!

4. Motivators. I do well with a goal in mind especially when there is a reward at the end. I find my kids do as well. I like family my family to get up and get their school work done. I give my kids incentives (note: I did not say bribes) to accomplish their work. One of our incentives is a mid-morning snack. The next incentive is lunch. (I hope this doesn’t create food issues later – always something to worry about, right?) The next motivator is free time. So at the start of the week we set a schedule, we work in music lessons, projects, library visits, play dates, field trips etc. I work hard to ignore my computer and the phone. My commitment and discipline is paramount. One of our consequences to not getting our stuff done is called homework. Homeschoolers hate homework.

5. Divide and Conquer. Train your children to do jobs around the house. Two-year olds are capable of picking toys and putting things away. Three-year olds can sort silverware and set the table. So and so on. Early on, I realized that my children could do more than I expected from them. Teaching and training takes a lot of time and work on the front end. My kids can help keep a house clean. I believe this is a fabulous opportunity to teach my kids to have a good work ethic. and one day it will pay off to make them great employees and future husbands and wives. And besides, I’ve got bonbons to eat. See point number six.

6. Bonbons. What refuels you? If Mama isn’t happy, nobody is happy. When I first started homeschooling, after about 3 months when the honeymoon was over, I realized that I was running out of steam. I was burned out. I began to feel sorry for myself… teaching the alphabet was wearing me out. I knew pretty quickly that my attitude was going to do some damage if I didn’t get refueled. So here’s my advice: Love life. Love yourself. Love your husband. Love beauty and don’t deny the things that fill you up. Grab coffee with a friend. Go shopping. Eat your bonbon. Exercise. Take a luxurious bath. Light the candles and put on the music. Turn off the computer and go to bed early. Read for fun. You are worth it. You a more than your nursing breasts! You are more than your lists of accomplishments, roles and duties. What fills your cup? Out of a full cup, we fill others. It is hard to pour out to your children and your husband when your cup is empty.

Thanks for the question, Tired!


Click here to read Hyacinth’s thoughts from yesterday!

Hear from Snow tomorrow, March 14th…

Read a load of Bull on Thursday, March 15th…

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