I Can’t Find My Keys
How many balls can we possibly juggle before they begin to hit the ground?
Recentlyavoicemailnotification popped up on my iPhone. It was a two-and-a-half-minute plea for help from an over-
whelmed homeschooling mom of seven
who happens to be, like all of us, not only
facing the routine pressures of the daily
grind but also living through a dismal
recession. She’s had to take a job outside
the home just to make ends meet, as her
husband’s trade has been severely ham-
pered by the current financial climate.
Here’s a shortened version of her mes-
sage to me:
Denise, hi, this is Julie. Hey, I don’t
know if you have some time but I
am suffering from a deplorable lack
of organization in my home because
I’m so busy now and I noticed that
especially my little Zach isn’t get-
ting a lot done, especially in the area
of homeschooling . . . and I just . . .
look at the way he does his work, I
look at the way he goes thru his day
and . . . he does not know how to
direct himself and I just . . . you’re
like the queen of organization and
the queen of teaching your kids how
to be that way and I just wanna pick
your brain a little bit. I don’t know
if you’ve ever come from a place of
just having nothing at all, um . . . or
if you’ve always had such order in
your home and in your kids’ lives,
but I really need some input and
I need some help. So if ever there’s
a time where I could sit down with
you for maybe an hour or so, or you
have some thoughts you could email
me, or Facebook me . . . please do!
Thank you very much. Love you!
Needless to say, my heart felt heavy for
her. The walls were closing in. If we’re
honest, wearing the woman, wife, mom,
and home educator hats simultaneously
can be daunting for any one of us. Lots of
women I know also hold part-time jobs
or outside ministry positions in addition to homeschooling. How many balls
can we possibly juggle before they begin
to hit the ground? I called her back and
scheduled breakfast for the next week.
As I pondered her situation and my
own experience with “meltdowns” over
the past three decades of child-rearing
and home education, I scrawled some of
my personal coping tactics on a piece of
notebook paper. An outline for our up-
coming chat emerged:
1. Take off the rose-colored glasses.
Julie thought I had it all together. I don’t.
No one does, even if she appears to. We
all do something well, but none of us does
all things well, except God Himself. (Mark
7: 37) Appreciate and be inspired by the
strengths you see in those around you,
bearing in mind that everyone struggles.
2. Count your blessings and ponder
the positives. Don’t let lies about your
current difficulties and disorder pummel
you. Circumstances and emotions are
temporary. Rehearse the history you’ve
built with God’s help, and list your assets
and the good choices you’ve made. Meditate upon His faithfulness (Psalm 100: 5)
rather than on your unhappy feelings.
3. Realize that you’re overwhelmed at
the moment, and that’s perfectly normal
for a woman in the twenty-first century! John Gray, Ph.D., long-time family
therapist, syndicated columnist with a