Saturday, March 6, 2010


I'm finding the balance of Wife, Mother, Homemaker, and Communications Coordinator to be completely impossible.

I'm trying to decide if the issue is that I have my plate too full, or that I am not prioritizing my obligations and utilizing my time.

So, would you share your thoughts? How do balance? Is there such a thing as balance when you have small children?


I know I'm in an unusual position. I'm working for a volunteer organisation, which to some would seem like "drop-able" job, but it's not. This job and Matt's job are the very reason we live in New Zealand. It's what we're here to do. But how am I supposed to give that job the attention it deserves, if I can't even get a few simple things done? I can't, and won't, leave the position because I've just committed to another 2 years in this position (visas pending).

But with that said, I am awake (nearly) every morning by 7am, take care of the girls all day, try to keep our small apartment from becoming a chaotic fire hazard, and somewhere in there I'm supposed to be getting work done. I'm awake until 12midnight 9 out of 10 nights, and Naomi is still waking once a night at the moment.

What's a girl to do? Where do the corners get cut?


I know I'm not the only one who struggles. At least I hope I'm not. Part of what keeps me sane, is knowing that I'm not alone in feeling the way I do. I know that when my baby is awake at an unreasonable hour, and being unreasonable, that there are mothers who have it worse in the sleep department - and you all have my condolences and my love at 3am by the way!


Not as if a book could "fix it all" but, is there a book that helped you take control (as it were) of your life?

Drop me a line. :)


  1. Hi Susie,

    I, too, worked in marketing and communications for my career, and I loved it. I even was given the opportunity to work part-time from home. From my own choice, I returned to work at the office (so I could keep my work and family separate). It took me a couple years to realise that my new ministry was at home. (

    I didn't find a particular book that helped me, but it was the Lord who gently led me on the path back home.

    Father is so good to his children. He leads us gently in the path He wants us to go. My advice would be to talk to Him about every part of your day, every struggle. You will find that He has a design for you and in leaning on Him, you will walk in His will.

    I don't doubt that you pray about this a lot. Now, just rest in His love and love those around you, and you will see what changes you need to make.

    Love in Christ,

  2. I struggle with this and I don't have any kids. So just know my thoughts and prayers are with you. I know something I think about sometimes is when I look back what do I want to have remembered doing during this time period. However, this is sometime hard to apply because I mean things have to get picked up and cleaned. But sometimes it helps my attitude or perspective. I'm praying you have wisdom.

  3. I know every last person on the internet has probably heard of flylady, so I am probably being redundant in suggesting her methods! But since you do not have large chunks of time to devote to anything with a baby and child's needs to attend to, her 15 minutes (or less) approach to getting things done could be helpful, especially if you can do some of your work from home. If you have something that takes 2 hours to do, 3 or 4 sessions during the day of 15 minutes can save you an hour of work later in the evening. Plus I find that it keeps me more productive, as you're fresh each time you go back to it and your brain works on it in the background while you do other stuff around the house or with the kids.

  4. oh Susie. i can't imagine having that much on my plate. I don't have any books on the topic, but my advice would be to get organized.

    Being organized is different for everyone, but for me, writing down weekly lists and schedules helps a TON. If I know what I'm doing and when I'm doing it, with room to roll with the punches, I feel more at ease and can handle my day with more grace.

    Labels and bins are effective for some *although they do NOTHING for me personally.*

    Also, try to assign your chores to specific days of the week - i.e. M,W,F are laundry days, Tues is for vacuuming, Thurs is for grocery shopping, Sat is for re-organizing etc... Again, you'll know what to expect and when, and it's one less thing you don't have to worry about when you're gonna fit it in.

    Make some meals on Sunday afternoons and freeze them for the week. Chicken pot pie, baked ziti, enchiladas, soup, and lasagna all freeze and thaw very nicely. Scratch dinner off your list of things to do on especially busy days.

    Your girls, husband and your job (since it's the reason you're in NZ) are your ministry and aren't going to be predictable. To give yourself the grace for your three most important roles, simplify and organize the rest. You are honest. You are genuine. And you are an inspiration. Keep at 'em, girl!

  5. Girl, I can only relate to the having a full plate part of this. I couldn't imagin adding kids to my plate-full :O but I don't know that God doesn't ever give you more than you can handle. Pray about how to use your time and how to manage it. It may sound simple but you would be surprised what God asks you to put first and how much time to do what. I love you girl, and I'll keep and you family in my prayers. Much love. :)

  6. Sorry, I am no help whatsoever as I have no advice would be based on thin air :D

    I do hope you get some helpful advice from readers and that you can find a balance you are happy with soon.

  7. With no advice to give, I'll just pray for you.

  8. You are a busy, busy woman for sure! I don't *work* at home, but I do have an Etsy shop, so I do have to devote some time to maintaining that during the day, as well as keeping up with 4 kids (sometimes 5 when my step-daughter is home) and taking care of our house.

    My best advice (after suggesting prayer - since that should always be our very first action) is make a list of what you need to get done and check things off as you go along. Also, try to fully finish one task before moving on. (Like, finish washing the dishes before worrying about laundry - otherwise you end up with a bunch of things that are only half done.) Yes, I suffer from "ADH...OOOH...SHINY!!" and am easily distracted, so lists and finishing one thing at a time helps a LOT.

    Preparing meals ahead of time and freezing, as suggested by another reader is a good idea as well.

    Last, but not least, ask for help when you need it!! Maybe there are some people from your church that could help out and sit with the girls while you do work for your job? I'm sure if Matt's not already helping with household stuff when he can, he WOULD help if you ask. Just be very specific. If I want my husband to do something, I tell him the exact thing I would like him to do (i.e., "Could you help me by washing the dishes while I do the laundry?"). Adding some "incentives" helps too. My husband knows that if he helps me around the house there is a far better chance for romance that night, because I won't be so tired from keeping up with everything by myself. :)

  9. well pretty much the one thing I can say is I don't have it down either, but just continue to rely on the strength we can find in Christ and laying down our burdens to him. Sometimes I think that he wants us to be in a point where we know we can't do it all on our own and HAVE to depend on him. All that moms (working, or stay at home) are to do can so easily be so overwhelming, it is just assuring knowing that we CAN get through and do a good job by relying on Christ for our strength and still able to find joy while doing so.

  10. Hey Susie! I'm a stay at home mom to 3, 3 and under, and even though I don't have a job on top of that, I struggle to keep the house in order. Being super organized just isn't in my blood naturally. So I offer you empathy.
    I want to try to do as suggested above, and organize my chores to days of the week. And make sure that you schedule in some time to relax ;) Good luck. I wish I had better advice.

  11. I don't even know you, so I'm sure this advice may be dubious, but I've got two kids almost the same age as yours and I work close to full-time outside the home.
    I've come to believe that "balance" in the tradtional sense is impossible here. I clean the house at night after the kids are asleep, which is really only for my own mental health: The house immediately goes to hell as soon as the kids are up. BUT I go to bed feeling like I don't live in a pig sty and my baby can crawl around without looking like a Swiffer pad.
    I also think that feeling like your head is going to explode is completely normal and not at all indicative that you're doing something wrong.
    All that from a complete stranger...

  12. Balance? kids are 9m and 2.5yrs. I work part time from home. I assign different chores to different days, have the kids play independently for a few mins throughout the day (usu abt 15 mins after each meal) so I can clean up, than have another 15 mins usually once in the 1st half of the day and once in the 2nd half of the day when I fly around like a mad woman and get housework done...while the toddler helps (he loves to wield the broom and the duster) and wear the baby to keep her out of the way. I do all my work when they are in bed. I never have a free minute, but somehow most of the important stuff gets pretty close to kids are fed, clean, and loved. :)

  13. I don't have any helpful suggestions, but I'm praying for you, that God would help you with priorities and expectations. Would ya pray for me too?

  14. I'm a working mother of 3 kids too. I work outside the house and had trouble getting everything done when I came home. Once I realized the importance of routines, my life became so much easier. I'm guessing you don't like the structure of routines but if both you and the kids know what to expect, it helps things flow better. Don't go overboard...maybe explain to Oceania that she'll have quiet coloring/tv/play time for 30 min at the same time mon thru fri while you get a little something done. good luck!!!

  15. Lauren is right about going to God with your concerns and He will lead you to your unique, personalized answer. Just listen.

  16. hey chick
    we met once, at MM at waihi beach and I was priviledged to gush over Joshua, and admire your spirit and love for your family. I have 4 kids and work part time outside the home, run a sunday school and spend many hours at school helping out ...juggling is tricky. I have found (for me) that a 15 minute chill time works wonders, and you will achieve so much more by breathing for a bit....I have used this time to teach my sons how to sit and sip peach tea with me, so we all breathe, and brushes up thier dining skills! FOr me, having set days to do things helps, and I do try to have all chores for the house done by lunch, I include the kids as much as they want to be, when the littlies go down for a nap I use that quiet time to craft/plan/work...I also devote an half hour a week to planning meals and grocery lists - it makes such a difference..... I cut off all work related things when my big girls get home from then I am a taxi/homework task master etc...and don;t do anything but family til the littlies are in cut off for work related stuff after this is time to put my girls to bed and chill for a couple hours knitting and whatnot - make a list of whats important to you, what YOU want to/have to achieve in a week and break it down into probably know all this, but sometimes its good to see it ;-)....all the best for the coming few days - you are doing an amazing job. Bless ya

  17. Oh, Susie, I'm so sorry. I know your job/ministry with the organization is the reason you're there in NZ, but I also know how hard it is to balance children & ministry - I was our camp secretary 10-20 hrs a week (just minimal pay) up until August, when I was finally able to stay home full-time. Now that I stay home and have two kids, and can never manage to have the house clean, I have no idea how you do it all! I liked the tips readers shared about having a list - I sit down each night & write out in a journal my to-do's for the next day, and also go back over my day & write down funny things the kids said or did or what we did that day because otherwise I forget to write them anywhere. I also liked the idea of having certain tasks for certain days - I have a certain day for vacuuming, another day for sweeping, etc. Laundry and dishes are every day, one load a day, to keep up. :) I will be praying for you, and with God's help, you can do it! He promises He won't give us more than we can handle!!!