9 Tips to Balance Work, Family, Faith and Blogging

Remember last week, when I asked you what you wanted me to write about? I received this comment from Patricia over at I Want to See God. I chose to respond to this comment first, because of the response I gave her. Surprisingly, Kanye West was involved. Isn’t he always? That Kanye.

http://theholyfaceofjesus.wordpress.com/ @fillpraycloset

I’ll warn you, this is long. But then, so is life. Seriously, I wanted to give you an accurate look at a few days of my life and how I navigated through it while maintaining my sanity. For my family, I have between the hours of 6-10PM Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. Let’s take a look at how I managed so far, this week. We’ll start on Saturday.

How do I manage it all? @fillpraycloset #balance #workingmother #catholic

Saturday

  • Mike woke me up (we don’t have alarms, he hates them. It’s a long story – something, something overuse of the snooze button by yours truly) at 8AM with “do you want to go to that restaurant for breakfast that you like?”
  • Morning office as I get ready – thank you Divine Office app!
  • Two hours of captive family time in the car singing our favorite songs and then eating cinnabon waffles.
  • I had clothes shopping to do for my trip to Italy. I tried on some things while the kids suffered through it; builds character. It’s always rough on petite gals to find anything to wear that doesn’t have a bow across the chest. I’m an adult!
  • Still full from breakfast, the boys run out to play in the backyard and we join them. I toss some clothes in the washing machine and then head out to read a book, Jesus A Pilgrimage by Fr. James Martin, SJ while Mike is sitting out and enjoying some sunshine.
  • After about 40 minutes, I head in to change the wash, and then review the music I’m singing at mass that evening.
  • Pray the rosary.
  • We’re still full, so we decide not to make our usual big dinner. He and I have some frozen somethings, while the kids get hot dogs on the grill.
  • Mass. He sits with them, as I cantor – I follow along with the mass using the Magnificat, the boys with their Magnifikid!
  • We walk back home and he pours cocktails, I send the kids to shower and get ready for bed and head up to say prayers with them. Mike and I catch up on Mad Men (we’re on season 4 so no spoilers please!)
  • Evening office while he showers.
  • That’s all she wrote.

Sunday

  • Morning office
  • Parish breakfast! This is a great way for us to socialize with other families, get our eat on, and donate to the KofC. It’s all about multitasking!
  • We walk back home, and I’m at the laundry again.
  • I take Gabriel to a birthday party, while Mike stays home and Alex has a friend over. See that? Each parent has time alone with an individual child while we get some alone time/social interaction with other parents! (On the way to the party, I pray the rosary podcast and Gabriel chimes in!)
  • Mike makes dinner, pasta with meat sauce.
  • We walk for about an hour around the neighborhood. We like to dream this way. “Look at those flowers” or “I love that bay window” and “Boys too far! Wait for us!”
  • I fold clothes and the boys put them away! They want allowance? They have to earn it.
  • We setup clothes and backpacks for Monday (I check the calendar for the week)
  • Bed. I stay up and read Blogging for Dummies by Melissa Culbertson of Blog Clarity (see that? One day it’s spiritual reading and the other is focused on bloggity blog stuffs)
  • Evening office.
  • That’s all she wrote.

Monday

  • Can you hear it? The crazy clown music? Mike wakes me up at 7AM, and then walks down the hall to get the boys ready. I check my email, social media stuffs. I take about 10 minutes here, to schedule tweets – thank you Hootsuite app!
  • Mike makes coffee and gets the kids breakfast (his favorite Daddy time)
  • I get ready – this doesn’t happen overnight. There’s spackling and hair product to slather.
  • Mike and I have our morning coffee and chat. The boys get their Pokemon TV watching in and I’m also curating fodder for blog posts. You’d be surprised at how many ideas I curate from our coffee talk (not to mention that snazzy new editorial calendar I put together a few weeks back to help me organize. SO helpful)
  • Mike takes the boys to school, I’m off to work. Morning office! Mike comes back home to work.
  • Lunch time – sometimes I go for a walk, or stay at my desk and write. I may also check my Klout app for interesting articles to share with the groups I moderate on Facebook and Google+.
  • During RCIA months, I would only have 90 minutes to spend after work having dinner and hanging with the boys. Since that’s over, I get to hang out and review the day with my boys at dinner, leisurely. Usual questions “Gabriel, where were you clipped on today!?” Green is good. Alex will share a new game he created on the playground with friends and then I’ll clean up (since Mike cooked) while he goes back up to work on last minute presentations, conference calls, yadda yadda.
  • The usual bedtime business: boys’ bath time, I set out clothes and check the calendar for the next day. I look out to the next week (this is where I would get a reminder to read up on my Lay Dominican formation documents and prepare a presentation)
  • Watch The Colbert Report while the hubby is sound asleep. At the commercials, I’m reading Jesus A Pilgrimage. Evening office, fall asleep around the fourth decade of the rosary! (darn!)

Today!

  • Mike calls me at 6AM (he had to go into the office and left at 5:30AM). I check email, do my schedule-tweet-thang.
  • Shower and get ready as I listen to the Morning Office.
  • Get the boys up and ready. They pick their breakfast and Alex starts to make toast (he likes to help). Coffee bubbling, and I empty the dishwasher.
  • As we walk out the door. I scream, “SNACKS! I forgot to pack snacks!” So we charge back in an grab snacks.Try # 2 to leave. “Car seats!” We had to swap them, so I put them into my car and remember that I forgot to turn the heat off (Mike texted a reminder). I charge back in and turn off the heat. Whew! Talk about a work out. Wait. I just got a work out in!
  • We all get in the car and say prayers. Our routine is to say rote prayers at random (someone goes first and then each person gets to say a rote prayer of their choosing) until we get a couple of blocks away from the house, then for the rest of the way, we pray intentions for ourselves, our family and others. Mine is always the same: I pray that my boys see Jesus in everyone they meet and that others see Jesus in my boys. Always.
  • I drop the boys at school and as I pull out, I ask Siri to text Mike that I’m on my way to work – listen to hip hop on the way into the office. But sometimes, I listen to Catholic Radio – helps with blog ideas, like this one.
  • Lunch was an awesome salad at my desk – and blog planning. I have an e-course that I’m doing via A Beautiful Mess and I work through the modules at my pace.
  • 2:30PM I have to pick up the boys. Since I am leaving to Italy for 12 days, I want to spend the afternoon with the boys and not arrange for aftercare, as I normally would.
  • Walk into the school. I have some time before they come down the hall. I’m actually typing this from my WordPress App.
  • Pick up the boys and ask Gabriel about the zoo – he went on a field trip “Penguins are boring and skunks are stinky” and Alex gives me the rundown “meatball sub for lunch and my special was…actually, we didn’t have a special today”.
  • Dinner? Just decided, corned beef and love fries with white rice. Gabriel’s favorite. Boys will take an early shower because we go to …
  • 7PM mass across the street.  Adoration after with the boys and a visit to Mary’s grotto.
  • Mike should be home now – he has a long day, right? He said he’d be home by 8PM. Poor guy.
  • Snack for the kids and bed. Mike and I will catch up on the day. Usually, it’s me laughing at something funny he said about something silly I did. He loves to hear me laugh almost as much as I love to laugh. Or we talk about work and all of the frustrations therein.

So now that you have a snapshot, here are some tips that I’ve pulled for you:

    1. I have certain times that I carve out that are untouched. For example, these are generally dinner time, church time and bedtime. This means no texting, social media-ing, or anything outside of the three people I love the most in this world. It’s important. I want them to know that they mean more to me than a credit card sized glowy thing (my iPhone).
    2. At the same token, holy Smart Phone! What a power house. In a word? Apps. Divine Office, Podcasts, WordPress, HootSuite, Klout and Ave Maria Radio? How could I manage my on the go life without them? The phone is kind of holy, not that I got it blessed, but it’s got a ton of faith apps. Fabulous Blogging just put out a really helpful (read organized) social media schedule based on how much time you have to spend, that I tried yesterday. I only had 5 minutes and boy, was my time was optimized!
    3. Multi-tasking is HUGE as is alternating. I don’t just drive to work, I pray to work. I don’t just take a lunch, I’m working on my blog. I don’t read one book at a time either. I alternate in that department. I have 5 books in rotation all the time. Aside from the books mentioned earlier in this post, I’m also reading 642 Things to Write About, Magnificat, and a couple of ebooks by Michael Seagriff that I’ll review here soon (he’s a fellow Lay Dominican). It’s kind of a microcosm of how I manage everything.
    4. Curate, curate, curate. Have a few minutes? Go to your blog feeder and read some posts others have written, leave a comment or share it. I have a list on Twitter, called Twitter Glitter. These are my fave peeps. I just scroll and can retweet to my hearts content. I also subscribe to a TON of blogs and websites around my interests. If I like what I read over coffee, I’ll schedule them with Hootsuite.
    5. If you think about just one day, you’ll get overwhelmed. If you work on long term planning you’ll see that you can do more. I know that I have a Lay Dominican meeting every second Thursday of the month. I start on the third Thursday of the previous month. I read the material once over, that third week and fourth week. I prepare my presentation in the first week of the following month and refine it over the weekend, and post it the day of the meeting.
    6. No long term planning means I am scrambling – and I do that sometimes. I don’t have 3 different calendars and 4 journals for nothing. There are days, where the boys go to school with the wrong outfit on (like today), I forget to pack their lunches and S gets called in with sandwiches, the registration for my car is late, or I forget that I planned dinner with friends. This happens, and I don’t beat myself up too severely for it. After all, jugglers drop the ball too.
    7. Pray every day without ceasing. I wrote about this just yesterday. If you noticed, I pray in the morning and in the evening. That doesn’t mean I’m not praying as I write, when I sing at mass, or when I’m asked randomly to pray for others. I keep coming back to God, because He is my touchstone. Make it yours. When the day is a spaghetti mess, you can say, I talked to God today. Talk about a glass half full.
    8. Build in relaxation time. I walked, read books, lingered over dinner, had cocktails and went to my favorite restaurant. Does that sound like someone who is harried and overwhelmed?
    9. And Kanye West. Did you think I forgot about him? There’s a song that I listen to of his (he’s quite the poet) titled “I Heard ‘Em Say“. The line that stuck out for me was “Nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today.” And that’s kind of how I view life. Tomorrow? Who knows. So whatever interests me, whatever is on that bucket list of mine, I work hard and tirelessly for it. Because no matter what happens, I tried the best I could today and I can live with that.

Your turn, what do you do to keep it all together? Got an app you think I’ll LOVE, share it! Gotta run, making dinner and there’s no app for that. Is there?

This post contains affiliate links, because writing doesn’t pay the bills, but you could if you clicked and bought sumthin. Chaching! Another can of Bustelo coffee!

Last note, Alex wanted to title this “Dad is awesome” or “I love church”. Go figure.

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27 thoughts on “9 Tips to Balance Work, Family, Faith and Blogging

  1. Wow. I’m in awe–and you are awesome!! I love the play-by-play and your tips are wonderful! What do I do to keep it all together? I don’t, haha!!! Well, I guess I’m a “lister”. I love to make lists. All kinds of lists on tiny pieces of paper and note cards and in notebooks. Nothing digital/on my phone–it’s not the same for me and I don’t like it. I guess that’s how I organize the chaos in my head–I turn it into organized lists on paper that I can see and use to remind myself. If you ever find that app for making dinner, let me know! 😉

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    1. Yeah – about those paper lists. Don’t go through my pockets and DEFINITELY don’t look in my purse, or the console of my car. And maybe the glove compartment, my four junk drawers…

      *bats eyelashes*

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    2. This was extremely entertaining and super helpful. You seem to have a really good balance between work, play, and spirituality. Love it!! Thanks for sharing the intimate details of your life.

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  2. Dang momma! You are a busy bee. Sometimes I feel busy but then I look to ppl like you and think I should add more to my plate. I need to check out some of the apps you mentioned. I really need to organize my life better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all about the apps. And layering. Like perfume…right? To get the most out of your fragrance, you use the shower gel, then add the lotion, then spritz. Fragrance lasts all day. Social media is like that. One at a time, get good at it (optimize it as it works for you best) then move on to another stream. My latest? Instagram!

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  3. Wow. This is impressive. My favorite parts were when you had cocktails and all of the praying you did. It reminds me of that saint quote I saw again in a meme yesterday…what was it…”everyone of us needs a half hour of prayer each day, except when we are busy–then we need an hour” (St. Fracis deSales). Also I liked that Kanye line. Thanks for this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pro-cocktails, too!
      And I love the “Dad is awesome” alternative title. I know that in my house, we wouldn’t survive without a certain awesome dad.

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  4. You already know this, but you’re super blessed to have a husband who wants to be involved! Just reading your activities seriously makes my blood pressure rise and my head start to spin – guess I’m not wired the same 🙂 You’re great at all you do – kudos to you for juggling all of those balls so beautifully! xoxo

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  5. I think you continue to blow my socks off… my coping mechanism is eating, not very effective and with my hands full I lose even more time to get work done. The only thing I never skip, miss or short – PRAYER… totally agree with you on that!! It is the source from all the rest of what I do flows! I PINNED this one.. and will be visiting it a few more times for inspiration! p.s. When I come for that retreat at your house, we are going to turn it into a mentoring session! 🙂

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    1. I wonder what my coping mechanism is? Burying my face in a book, working on a project, sleeping? Yes, all of those in that order.

      Retreat, yes! We MUST plan for that. And, listen. Mrs. Radio show, you need to mentor me!

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  6. My goodness I am tired from just reading about your day! I don’t know that I have the capacity to do all of that. Basically I just prioritize, God, family, blogging, me sometimes the last two are switched but you get the idea 🙂 there is a take out app for dinner… JustEat it may only be in Canada though. Question……. What is the rosary prayer? Do you have a blog where you’ve talked about it or explained it? God bless have a God filled day!

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      1. “R is for rosary” the link isn’t working for me :-/ the other two do work as you could probably tell by the likes….lol. I will ask you a few questions I do have, 1) do you have to say all of the different prayers? Of course you don’t have to but like are they all normally combined as one? 2) How many prayers are there or is it one? 3) does the amount of beads mean something, like do you have to have a certain amount? 4) do you hold different beads for each prayer(if there is more than one). Sorry I really am very uneducated on the Catholic faith. I pretty much only know what I have learned from your blogs and from movies lol. Thank you so much for your patience and time. I love learning about others faiths. Myself I am a Christian, baptized Anglican. God bless you sister and thank you again! I love how open you are about your faith and your willingness to educate others.

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  7. You rock! You rock! You rock! I didn’t know there was an app for the daily office. I need to check that out – one of my favorite spiritual disciplines I forget about on a regular basis. Ironically as I said that, thunder rolled into my awareness here at the Joyce Kilmer Service Area for the New Jersey Turnpike. This is my multitasking. I’m waiting to see how long I have to sit here before they kick me out. Its the most productive time I’ve had the entire time I was away and yes, I am praying as I read, I write, I sort and I praise my dear friend as in YOU!

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  8. Well, Awesome Lady, thanks for the insight. What a wonderful life – full of love, laughter, family. You are indeed blessed. Still am so grateful I ‘found’ you at the A – Z Challenge.

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