I don’t know how you do it.

And by “you,” I mean moms who work full-time outside the home, manage a family, volunteer for ministry opportunities, and still keep your sanity.

It’s something that I’m thinking a lot about these days, because I know my days are about to change.

My work plate is filled and spilling over. I love what I do, and I love my students, and this is all fortunate because we can’t afford for me to quit! At the same time, by the time 5:30 rolls around and it’s time for me to head home, I am tired!

Make and dinner, walk the dogs, daily housework chores, find a few moments to read and reflect, work on projects for church and/or our adoption, find a few words to write, and the day is done.

How do I add in two children to the mix? Sports practice, music lessons, homework projects, church activities, creating special memories. My head is spinning with just the thoughts.

So, moms of the world, help me. Okay, even dads too. Give me some words of wisdom.

As a family, how do you balance family with two full-time jobs and church activities?

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7 thoughts on “I don’t know how you do it.

  1. We haven’t had much time with both of us working full time since we’ve had kids. When Connor was young, before Chris went back to school full-time, I taught full-time, and it certainly was a challenge. But the biggest challenge of working with a baby/toddler is trying to find time to spend with the child between when you get home from work and bedtime. When I taught preschool, from when Janelle was three until she was six, I worked outside the home in the morning, and kept afterschoolers at home in the afternoon. Two part-time jobs, but at least one of them was at my house, so I was able to manage a bit of housework while I monitored my charges, and could supervise homework before dinner time. Now I’m not working at all (although wishing I was a lot of the time), but I understand that the challenges would be so much more difficult to navigate! Our kids are both involved in extra-curricular activities, on top of church activities, so our evenings are packed. I wish I had sage advice to offer about how to make it all work, but I don’t. I think what gets most people through is that it all comes on gradually, but unfortunately that won’t be the case for you. If I were to offer any wisdom, it would be this: Get established as a family before you throw sports and music lessons into the mix. Your kids are three and four, so you don’t even have to worry about school just yet. Keep your evenings sacred together time, if you can, although I know Ken’s job makes that difficult. Then, when you feel you are all ready, add one “extra-curricular” at a time. Keep them in the same activities, if you can, so even those can be “together time”. Whenever I get overwhelmed by the idea of going back to work full-time without our family life falling apart, Chris reminds me that millions of mothers do it every day. But when I ask how, he is stumped too. When you figure it out, let me know, okay?

    By the way, I know you are going to be an awesome mom! You will figure it all out. God has called you to this, and He will guide your every step!

  2. My biggest piece of advice is to give up ALL your preconceived notions of how things “should be”. Prioritize your activities and be willing to give up things that just don’t need to be done. Remember you are not alone in the parenting thing.. Ken will be a HUGE help in ways you never thought possible. Your children will grow and be wonderful people because you love them and each other, not just because you offered them all the cognitive and social amenities Americans can afford. “Super Mom” is an ugly myth for which we should not be striving. “Godly mom” is much more attainable and has a much higher return on your investment. You can do this!!!

  3. I wish I could give you a piece of wonderful advice, but I can’t. I often wonder how moms do it too. In fact, when people ask me if I think about going back to work or if I miss it, my honest response is that I am too lazy-I know it is sad, but the thought of doing everything I already do and adding in a 40 hour work week makes my head spin. That being said, I think God gives you the extra energy you need, the grace to make it through the day when all is going crazy. And well, if you get held up at work or need a break or a way for the kids to burn their extra energy, just bring them on over-I have 3 kids that would love to have some friends over to play!

  4. You adapt… at first you don’t know what you’re adapting to… and once you get it figured out the kids change! 🙂 Of course yours won’t change as quickly as a new infant, but they’ll have their own learning curve adapting to a whole new way of life that will be more difficult than a new infant. Be you… be creative, be relaxed, be patient, look your children in the eye, tell them no when they need it but look for ways to rephrase the question so you can tell them yes as often as possible! Pray, talk to each other, talk to other moms with adoptive children, talk to other moms of 3-4 year olds… kids do weird and stupid and funny things all the time… I guarantee they’re not the only children doing them! 🙂 Dominic is 3 1/2 now and Olivia is almost 2… In that time I’ve consistently had them in Mother’s Morning Out here at our church on M/W and at another church on T/R. Dominic is in preschool every day this year so that helps a lot. They both still take good naps (most days) and so I can work from home in the afternoons. I have 1 day a week where I have help with the kids until 4 (and she cleans my house if they sleep!!!) They come to a lot of ball games and small group meetings which is HARD but very rewarding. Children bring a depth to your ministry with kids that is different… it changes how some students will relate to you. Working full time is REALLY hard but necessary for us right now… I’m just thankful that I don’t have a “real” job where I’m stuck at a desk from 9-5 and I can be flexible. …the first 6 months of Dominic’s life, my office in the youth center looked more like a nursery than a youth minister’s office! As I write this, there is a box of jumbo legos and a stack of books to entertain the kids if they have to be stuck with me in “mommy’s office” for any length of time. 🙂 You guys will be incredible parents! I can’t wait to continue to hear the antics of the Jewett house in the years to come!

  5. I sure wasn’t perfect at it–as you probably knew–but both the girls are essentially grown and seem to be more or less OK…
    I do remember being able to arrange my schedule, once we got past “babysitter” age, so that the hours between, say, 4 and 8 pm were family time. One night a week I did office hours in one of the dorms from 8:30-10:30–girls were (to begin with) in bed and I’d showered and changed…actually did wonderful things for my relationships with students…
    The Lord provided me with wonderful child care–start looking NOW! And see who in the church would have good leads.
    And, interestingly, this was one of two areas in my life where the Lord said a very clear “NO” to preparing by reading stacks of books. Parenting was to be walked out…
    As I was praying for Julia during that first pregnancy, the Lord let me know that I wouldn’t be perfect (He got that right!) but that I would be adequate.
    God is preparing you for these two and them for you…
    Prayers and love!

  6. You will learn what is most important, and what can wait. You will learn to step over toys to tuck a child in at night. (You may even learn to clear a path just for safety sake!) You will learn that your children can still thrive even if you’re behind on laundry or the house isn’t spotless. You will learn that your kids are more adaptable than you’ll first give them credit for. You will learn that they will love you no matter what the house looks like, or what you serve them for supper. You will be reminded often that God who put your family together will give you wisdom to help you make it through the craziness that often comes with kids. You will learn to love the craziness.

  7. The absolute #1 best thing I ever did was hire someone to clean my house once a month. With a once a month cleaning, there’s still plenty for me to do so I don’t feel too guilty (smile), but I can thoroughly skip cleaning the tub, get by with 0-1 toilet cleanings (though that is changing w/ my 3 yo being fully potty trained…think “spray”), & I can usually skip washing the floor. Mostly what it does is let me know the basics are clean, so I don’t even think about it.

    (More on this: I could cook all day, but I HATE cleaning. I find people generally take to one or the other. Cleaning depresses me, I’m bad at it, and my husband can clean the entire house in the time it takes me to unload the dishwasher. Getting a once-a-month housecleaner was 100% worth it!!!)

    Other things to help:

    –Carpools

    –Cooking ahead (some people like to make meals ahead & freeze. I often cook on weekends for that kind of thing. But more than that, I like having leftovers of a really great meal for a day or two afterward.)

    –Can you rearrange your work hours at all?

    –What can your two new kids do to contribute to the household? Taking out trash, dusting, emptying dishwasher, straightening rooms, watering plants….

    The biggest thing after the whole housekeeper bit was, for me, asking, “What do I really want? What kind of mom do I really want to be? Do I want to be a SAHM? [No.] Do I want to work full time? [No.] What gives me energy? [washing laundry, cooking, reading with kids.] What sucks my energy? [housekeeping, putting laundry away, playing with kids.]

    Not sure the rest of this is helpful. Just stick w/ point #1 & you’ll be fine. 🙂 But I do think every parent has to find his/her own rhythm & that it just takes awhile to adjust. I felt like I had a clue after about 18 months (that was true even though both our adopted sons came to us at different ages). Everything looked up after that point. 🙂

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