It’s that time of year… the time when we battle burnout. After all, the holidays are behind us and we’ve still got… well, months of school left. Listen today as I unpack some great wisdom on organization and scheduling from my book, “The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight.” Even if you’re not homeschooling, these timeless time management skills will bless and encourage you!
Mentioned in Podcast
- Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight, by Heidi St. John
- Sign up for my FREE Essential Oils class that will be from January 15th through the 21st
TRANSCRIBED PODCAST BELOW
Good morning everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast. Today is Friday! Woot-Woot! Moment of silence. We made it to Friday.
Today’s Friday the 11th of January. Today we’re gonna be talking a little bit to the mom who feels harried and and stressed out and burned out. It’s that time of year. This is the time when we battle burnout. So today I’m going to be talking about some ideas for wisdom and organization on scheduling from my book The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight. Even if you’re not homeschooling these timeless time management skills are going to bless and encourage you! So, stick around!
I’m reading the news! I decided that one of my New Year’s resolutions was going to be to stop reading the news. But you people keep sending me articles and I got to say – I’m battling. Boy you guys – in another life I’d run for office. In Washington D.C. on January 3rd, this came out of Life Site News – I realize it was last week, but this is going on.
Democrats wasted no time asserting their priorities upon taking over the U.S. House of Representatives this week, proposing legislation to fund the federal government which would at the same time reverse one of President Donald Trump’s earliest pro-life accomplishments.
This is off of Life Site news.
The federal government has been partially shut down since Trump, facing pressure from conservatives, decided at the last minute in December to reject a government funding bill that didn’t include $5 billion to begin constructing the southern border wall he campaigned on. While the media is filled with distress over the shutdown and uncertainty over whether Democrats or Republicans will blink first, most of the government was already funded and remains in operation.
Following her return to the office of House Speaker Thursday, Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi announced that her party would be “offering the Senate Republican Appropriations [Committee] legislation to reopen the government later today,” Fox News reports. The proposal would fund the Department of Homeland Security until February 8 and other federal departments until the end of September.
The bill has been a political non-starter because it lacks wall funding, however, and pro-lifers are warning that it would also repeal the Mexico City Policy (now called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance) that Trump reinstated shortly after taking office and later expanded. That would make foreign entities that commit or promote abortions once again eligible for foreign aid.
I’m stunned. I really am.
The plan would also give $37.5 million to the United Nations Population Fund, from which Trump withdrew in 2017 over its participation in China’s forced abortion regime.
You guys, these are leaders. Just let that let that sink in.
“This move shows the House Democrats are so radically pro-abortion that they are more concerned with pushing their abortion agenda on the American people than finding common ground to end the government shutdown,” Live Action president Lila Rose responded. While Trump and Senate Republicans “failed last session to pass a law preventing the American taxpayer from funding Planned Parenthood,” they “now have a duty to stand firm and block such outrageous attempts to have the American taxpayer fund and promote abortion programs across the globe.”
This comes on the heels, by the way, of a video that was made. I don’t know if I commented on it last week or not. A video that was made the first week in January by the woman who started the Shout-Your-Abortion movement where she interviewed children and talked to them about abortion.
She’s had an abortion and they were like – well that’s probably OK. I think it’s OK and she said – really, it’s just like having a bad dentist appointment. Really? Taking human life now is about a bad dentist appointment?
I mean I just I’m horrified that we have such ridiculous people in our government. I’m horrified that Christians didn’t stand up and prevent this from happening and we need to pray because as the Democrats have taken control of the House they are introducing all kinds of legislation that is anti-life.
I’ve seen Congress women speaking so disrespectfully about our president that I couldn’t even share the links on social media. And if I ever needed to be reminded that we need to be in prayer for our country – now is the time. So I want to just encourage you – be praying for our president. I spent some time in prayer this morning just praying for Vice President Pence. I know that he knows the Lord and He is the closest adviser to The President. And so, I’m praying that he would be an influential person in President Trump’s life. I’m praying for our president. He needs our prayers. I don’t understand this obstructionist mindset that we would rather see the president fail. Do I love everything he does? no.
But oh my goodness he really has been the most pro-life president that we’ve had in a hundred years. So, we need to be praying for him. I don’t know about you but I am. I’ve been praying for many many years that abortion would not only become illegal in this nation, that it would become unthinkable. Unthinkable that we would take the life of an innocent human baby. It’s unbelievable to me.
Also, in other news, I’ve got a new book coming out – Bible Promises for Moms – releases in March. I am really excited about this. It’s like a handbook. It’s your go-to take-you-straight-to-the-Word-of-God for every issue that you’re facing as a mother. God’s word is not silent on the issues that we’re facing.
Someone told me the other day that they loved a quote that they had heard and never know who said it. I wish I did because I love to give them credit.
But he said: Don’t tell me that God is silent when your Bible is sitting closed on your desk.
Don’t tell me that God is silent. He’s not silent. He cares about what we’re going through right now. For those of you who are following along with me in the Scripture Writing Challenge, today’s verse comes out of James 1:5-6.
If any of you lacks wisdom you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you. But when you ask you must believe and not doubt because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind.
I thought that was appropriate since I’m out on the sea on the open waters right now. My husband and I are speaking for the Florida Parent Educators Association. Today is our last day before we come into port, and this is our first cruise! I told you – we’re celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary all year until we actually hit it in September.
And so I thought – this is great. If you believe, then you won’t be like the one who doubts, who’s like a wave of the sea – blown and tossed by the wind. And where do we get wisdom? We get it from God. We talked about that last Wednesday for the MomStrong International Bible Study. And I told you I was going to come back on Friday and continue talking to you about priorities. We’ve been talking about them for the whole month of January. And I want to just frame it a little bit today to talk about them in the context of homeschooling. But even if you’re not homeschooling – these principles apply to you. So I’m going to read to you a little bit out of The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight. if you haven’t picked it up yet you can find it on Amazon, you can find it at HeidiStJohn.com – click on the store.
More frequently, I think than almost any other question I get when I’m speaking at conferences is – how do you do it all? How do you do homeschooling? How do you homeschool all your children? How do you write books? How are you blogging? blah blah blah.
Well here’s the thing. A couple of things actually that come to my mind right away. The first one is that there is a unique grace over my life for the thing that I’m doing. Just like there’s a unique grace over your life or the thing that God wants you to do. He’ll give you the grace to do it but it requires, on your part, that you seek Him for the wisdom that you need so that He can help you prioritize your time.
So this comes out of Chapter 1 in The Guide to Daylight. There’s a whole lot of great nuggets of information in here for you, but every single chapter is a different kind of daylight. So intentional daylight is chapter one, organized daylight, scheduled daylight, hungry daylight, discourage daylight, consolidated daylight, wasted daylight, and surrender daylight. Basically, I’m just talking about different aspects of surrendering your day to the Lord and the first part is about getting in touch with what God wants you to do — which is to learn to be intentional. So this is the first part:
‘Good morning Portland! 6:45 a.m. and traffic into downtown is at a virtual standstill this morning. Plan on taking an alternate route if you want to avoid the mess on I5 today.’
The voice of a local radio station personality woke me up from a deep sleep and I began to regret putting my alarm clear across the room. Is it already time to get up? Time to try this homeschool thing again? Time to see exactly how much resolve I could muster up to face another day? Daylight had come back again. I stumbled to the alarm clock and shut it off 6:45 A.M. and I was already feeling behind. Unanswered emails taunted me from my computer.
Which was a desktop, by the way.
And there on my side table side, a devotional book that I promised to read three weeks ago – was looking rather dusty. As I made my way to the shower I picked up the book, blew off the dust, and placed it back on the shelf where it wouldn’t remind me of all the things I wished I was doing, but wasn’t. As I walk past the dresser mirror I caught a glimpse of a pregnant woman I barely recognized. Whoever you are you better get a grip, I mused. I toyed with the idea of letting the kids sleep in for my sake. I wasn’t ready to face the day. Why was it so hard? I’ve been homeschooling for about a year and a half, and it was getting the better of me. This was certainly not what I had envisioned when the Lord so clearly changed my heart and directed my husband and me to bring our oldest daughter home from school – and begin the journey of homeschooling.
My kids didn’t look like the ones that graced the covers of those homeschool magazines. It seemed that just when I got something down in one area of the house, another would need improving. What about the mom I met at the homeschool convention this past June? I wondered how she was still breathing. She had something like 19 kids and I felt lazy for only having three.
There’s so much to do. Laundry called my name from several hampers in the house. I had no idea what I was going to do for dinner and forget about all the paperwork that was piling up in the office – bills to pay, forms to fill out. I was homeschooling all right, but that was it. The rest of my life was unraveling. I wondered if there was a better way to homeschool. Less stressful, more joyful, less burdensome, more life-giving. Often I found myself giving comfort to another mom and I felt in my own spirit.
I didn’t have much to offer. My time with the Lord was suffering terribly and in my heart I knew there had to be a better way. I had heard that His yoke was easy but I had yet to experience it. Something had to give. As I looked around my bedroom that morning I made a decision a monumental decision. Here it is: in the interests of self-preservation.
I decided to skip school for the day.
Can I get a witness?
After a few more moments of relative peace and quiet, and after savoring my morning cup of tea, I decided to go to the grocery store to clear my head. So I packed up the toddler and put my two older girls in the car. We headed into town even though I was feeling slightly guilty for skipping school. I figured the break would do me good however, and it was certainly better than the alternative – which may or may not have involved in-patient therapy. It was about 10:30 a.m. and we arrived at the grocery store. And in hindsight, I think staying home might have been a better idea.
‘Oh I could never do that.’ This was the wide-eyed response of the grocery store cashier. After she casually asked the children if they were taking a sick day from school.
The moment my children told her they were homeschooled it became obvious by the look in her eyes that she thought I was perfectly insane. ‘You got to have a whole lot more patience than me’ she stammered. ‘Because I’d have to be shipped off to the funny farm if I couldn’t put my kids in school. I don’t know how you people do it? How old are you? You must be exhausted. Well good luck. Thanks for shopping with us today.’
Well, maybe it was the fact that I was seven months pregnant with our fourth child. Or maybe it was the knowledge that I was going home to a messy kitchen complete with school books, pencils, markers, and papers all over the kitchen table. I’m not sure. But for some reason her remark stung more than they usually would. It wasn’t like I had never heard them before, but this time, this time I wanted to drop my bag of canned goods right there on the floor and give her the what-for. I know what stopped me frankly.
I like to think that I was just trying not to give other homeschool moms a bad reputation. Trust me, it would have stuck. I managed to half smile and said something to the effect of not having as much patience as she thought, and quickly left the store.
No, I don’t have the patience of Job, I muttered. It’s not about patience. If it was, I would have quit a long time ago.
Can you guys relate to being mistaken for a mom has supernatural patience? Because I’m thinking that you can, and most homeschooling moms know the truth about patience being a prerequisite for homeschooling. And in fact, any homeschool mom who’s been at this for more than five minutes will tell you that patience has nothing to do with it.
Longevity and homeschooling is not about patience. It’s the result of resolve and obedience. It’s about knowing why we’re homeschooling instead of just how.
See, here’s what I think – and I wrote this a while ago – and as I look back now, and I’m watching my own daughter coming up homeschooling her children – I’m having to remind myself to remind her that Spirit-led-homeschooling brings with it a quiet confidence that comes from knowing that: even on the days when I don’t feel like I’ve been successful at all – God’s got my back.
You guy, I said this to a couple days ago — they belonged to God before they belong to you. This is why abortion grieves me so much. God knit each one of our children together with the foreknowledge that we would be their mother. He knew that you’d be homeschooling them. And you guys – His plan for you and for them is vastly more important than our dinner plans or our fancy scheduling. It’s really true! But it’s so important that you have a plan. We can’t just go into this thing without a plan. We got to understand that we’re not alone in doing this – you’re really not. There are other moms who are struggling just like you are. You’re not alone, but you gotta have a plan.
And I want to just encourage you today as you come up with that plan, and I’m going to give you a couple of ideas to take it one step further. But the first thing is – you want to come up with a plan to seek the Lord, and then you want to come up with a schedule. So if you’re not yet doing this, I hope you guys will join me. This is why I started MomStrong International. Any of you can do it. It’s it’s an opportunity for you to get into the Word of God every day and say – Lord, I need your help. I can’t do this without you. I can’t raise my kids without you. I can’t homeschool without you. I can’t even get dinner on the table without the Lord just saying – you can do this.
We need each other, and we need to walk in right relationship with the Lord. And I told you I am a Type A personality. I’m a scheduler – and so we’ll talk a little bit about that. I think schedules are very important. I’ll link back to The Guide to Daylight today. There are lots of different ideas for schedules in there. But, if you come up with a great schedule, and you come up with a great meal plan (which I’d also encourage you to do), and you failed to invite the Lord into your plans – you’re gonna be frustrated because they’re different strokes for different folks. And your schedule, as you come up with, it’s going to be as unique as you are. And there are lots of different ways to schedule for your family. And I’ve collected a bunch of them. I put them in The Guide to Daylight so that you can compare them and sort of contrast what works for you and what doesn’t.
But I’m telling you what – I think, mom’s — it’s going to be a whole lot easier for you to concentrate on academics in the morning when your kids minds are fresh and you haven’t been frazzled from a day of toddler taming. And children, I think, at least my kids have are usually at their best in the mornings. And so we can spend our afternoons in play time for the younger ones and independent study for the older ones. But I want to encourage you – bring your day before the Lord and ask Him to help you organize it.
And I’ve read a lot of books about this over the years, and many of the books that I’ve read prescribe particular methods for scheduling schoolwork – but from my experience, and I’m not trying to be critical — I don’t think that most moms fit into the “typical category”. And that’s really the beautiful part about homeschooling because you can fit it to meet the needs of your own family, and in order to get the most out of your days.
Remember I said this the other day – it’s not about time management, it’s about me management. But you gotta come up with a plan.
For some of you, that’s going to mean getting up earlier. If you’ve got a nursing infant home, or a baby still keeping you up at night – I’m not even talking to you. Just plug your ears right now. But for the rest of us, I think sometimes we can get into the habit of sleeping late, of staying up too late. Hello. Moment of silence. And when I was a brand new homeschool mom it was a big deal to me. I couldn’t find enough practical detailed information about how other people did it.
But then I discovered something, and this is why I wrote the book – when I compared what I was doing and brought in whether other people were doing – all the sudden I had fresh ideas, and fresh inspiration. It’s a good thing to do a schedule for your kids. It’s a bad thing – to have that thing run your life. For a while there my husband used to call our schedule: The Master. Some of you guys you’ve heard me talk about this before. Because I’d be like ‘Oh let’s see’. And he’d be like ‘you know, got some time for me tonight honey?’ ‘Nope, not on the schedule.’
That’s my type A personality. I know, I know – it’s a problem. Which is why I don’t do it like that anymore. But I just want to encourage you = come up with the plan. Come up with a meal plan, menu planning. Oh my goodness it’s a wonderful too. It’s a wonderful tool, it doesn’t have to be complicated either because here’s the thing – when I am being diligent about planning my days – I really try to include some sort of a menu. And so even if I just spent a half an hour each week, I can plan meals for our family. It saves me money, it brings so many benefits of health and peace into our home.
I’m telling you – I don’t know about you, but at about four o’clock in the afternoon if I have no idea what my kids are going to eat for dinner – I start to become crabby , right? I call it the bewitching hour at our house at four o’clock. So the time that you spend planning menus for your family is going to be rewarded. And if the idea of devising a menu plan for the week makes you roll your eyes because it sounds exhausting -just think about the stress it’s going to save in the long run! I promise you, Busy Mom, it’s worth it. And you can deviate from it – you don’t have to do it. But if you don’t have an idea of what to do – it’s already there, you’ve got an idea there, and you’ve gone shopping and you know you’ve got enough stuff in your refrigerator.
And sometimes I’ll make menus for just four nights because I know that out of seven we’re either going to have breakfast for dinner, or leftovers, we’re going to eat at a friend’s house, we’re gonna be running through Taco Bell. So think of it sort of like a schedule – and then just having that menu there is going to be a guide and it is a lifesaver.
A friend of mine, a long time ago, when I was a younger mom, and still kind of learning the ropes of how important it was to schedule things out – we came up with a creative idea. And that was to create a very loose menu with three easy meals — two that are a bit more time consuming, an evening for leftovers or eating out, and one for a new recipe that you’ve been wanting to try. And you do your grocery shopping with these things in mind, and so menu planning doesn’t mean that you have to assign days to your meals. It just means that you have a plan of meals and you know that you’ve got the ingredients to make them.
And so the beauty of planning ahead is that if you forgotten about a dentist appointment the late afternoon – that may or may not have been me – or you’ve had a busy week – everything you need for a quick meal is going to be ready to go. If the mealtime trifecta of time, energy, and creativity hits you all at once – then you can create one of the more time consuming dishes. It’s all about flexibility. Can I just encourage you to also – teach your children to cook. Teach your children to get in there and help you and they can start doing this when they’re very young. I’ve talked a lot about chores on this podcast, the importance of training your children to help you around the home.
When your kids are about four years old – they can start helping you. I know some of you are like ‘what? they’re supposed to enjoy their childhood’. Yes, and they’ll enjoy it even more if you teach them to be productive in their childhood and how to be a help to you. Your kids need to feel like they’re important and what they’re doing is important to you.
And part of the way we do that is by saying – ‘hey, can you help me unload the dishwasher?’ I used to love to give my kids wet rags. When they were about 3 years old they would love to have wet rags and go round and just wash the baseboards. And sometimes it made more of a mess than it was worth. But just the look on their faces was worth it because they’re like – ‘Hey look at me, I’m helping mom. This is great!’
So come up with a plan. If you want more information on how you can find The Busy Mom’s Guide to Daylight – you can go ahead and look in the show notes today – but I’m telling you there’s a whole chapter in there on what to do when you’re discouraged. How to consolidate your time – some of your wasting time – there’s a whole chapter in The Guide to Daylight on wasted daylight. Which is really all about how to control your time with the Internet in particular. And the very last chapter is called surrender daylight. And I’m going to tackle that on Monday, in response to a question from a listener who is wanting to know how to surrender her time and her desires to what God wants when she’s at war with her own spirit.
Boy have I been there before, and I know many of you have too. I’m gonna close the podcast out today by just offering a word of prayer. I know that a lot of you are struggling this time of year, and it’s frustrating to watch the news, and it’s frustrating to see some of the things that are happening. But I want to just encourage you that God is at work, He can never leave you, He’ll never forsake you. He’s at work and His heart is for you.
Father, I thank you that you see everything that’s going on. You see the mom who’s in a puddle right now, who doesn’t think she can do this thing. And Father, I pray that you would just encourage her by the power of Your Spirit, I pray that you’d encourage her by encouraging her husband. Lord, I pray that we would sense and know how important it is to walk in right relationship with you in every area of our life – from meal planning to homeschooling, to our marriages, to raise our children, to being a voice for you in the culture, Lord. Show us what to say and when to say it lift us up, set our feet on the rock. We’re going to look to you. Thank you, Father, for the way that you love us. In Jesus name, Amen.
For those of you who have not yet purchased tickets, I will be in Abilene coming up January 19th. That’s just a few days away – it’s not too late to purchase your ticket! And then the weekend after that I’ll be in Coos Bay, Oregon. Also, we’ve got a brand new essential oils class coming up called I Can Be Well. You can join that right now at HeidiStJohn.com/oils.
Have a great day everybody, and I’ll see you back here on Monday