Balance Between Charity to Others and Living One’s Rule

Dear Holly,I am working very hard on having an orderly home and routine. I have a long way to go, but what has been accomplished so far has brought much peace to my family and me. However, I am having a bit of a dilemma and would like to hear your thoughts about this situation… My sister-in-law has 4 small children under 6. She is young but regularly asks others to care for her children, usually my mother-in-law or myself. In the past week alone, it happened 5 times, which is not unusual. Her outings are not emergencies, just “fun” things she wants to do, and she seems to have no qualms about asking. At times I feel taken advantage of. I plan my weeks out carefully, making sure we have time to do all that’s necessary and spend time together as a family. We do not go out often, and perhaps I’m just not sympathetic to her because that’s not how we are. I should also mention that I am older and have only one young child. We’ve had many miscarriages and fertility problems, and she always tells me how “lucky” I am to only have one (she says this in front of her children!) and sometimes she even prods too far into such a painful topic for me, as if she enjoys hearing all the horrible details of our troubles. This makes it hard for me to like being around her. My question is this – when she asks me to babysit a couple of her children while she and her husband go do something with the...

Is Summer Free Time?

Dear Holly,With summer here, I am feeling particularly challenged by not knowing what to schedule in my 14 and 13 year old daughters’ daily schedules. My first thought is to use the first morning hours, til 10, for chores, “family reading time” and other things like piano practice. That would leave lots of time to plan time with friends, etc. I also thought, since we pay for a swim club membership, that we could pick 2 or 3 days a week to go to the pool, leaving other days for trips to the shore, visiting, downtime at home, shopping/errands, etc. I am hearing lots of complaining from my older daughters, and before I address the complaining, I need to look at the heart of what they are complaining about. I do think they just have an unrealistic vision of summer as 100% free time, not...

Finding Time for a Day Out!!!

Dear Holly,I am really feeling the need for a regular Mother’s Day Out. I am an introvert and recharge by being by myself. Each Sunday evening, I drive an hour, attend mass, and then drive another hour back. But I really do not feel like that is enough. Plus, that mass will be ending in about 8 weeks. My husband works nights so sleeps during the day. I have 6 children aged from preschooler to sixteen. The 16yo babysits frequently for me — including Sunday evenings when my husband is at work and I am at mass. The other main factor in my situation is our schedule for school: we are in school now and follow the liturgical calendar. So we take off Church Feast days (feasts, not memorials), birthdays, baptismal/first communion/confirmation/saint days. We usually get about 1 day off per week, but are scheduled Mon-Sat so in reality we get about 5 days per week of school. We take off all of Eastertide for our ‘summer’ break. That was the setting, now the dilemma. I do not feel like I can take a MDO on a school day. I think you understand. I don’t think I could count on it for the irregular day off. We just have too many other things going on: 16yo babysitting job, music lessons, mass, field trips, etc. I could probably swing it on Saturday afternoons and evenings since my husband usually has that night off, but we usually go to mass as a family that night since my husband cannot go in the mornings due to his work schedule (he stays up...

Moods and Feeling Down…

Dear Holly,I can relate to so many things you wrote in your book. I, too am depressed and moody sometimes and haven’t found help or anyone who will stick by me. I try to offer it up and take St John’s Wort. I have prayed and prayed for God to take my moodiness from me and after many years have come to the conclusion that this is just the cross He has given me. None of this other stuff matters as long as I can one day hear God say “Well Done”. Being the mother of five with a husband that has his own emotional issues is overwhelming sometimes. I am hoping that one day my rule will bring order to my vocation and help me to be the mother that God wants me to...

Baby Steps to Success

Dear Holly,I got your book a few years ago and read through it so quickly then put it away. But I found it again recently and now am trying to put some lessons from it into my daily routine. Whenever I try to do something like this, it always seems like a great idea and then falls through. So I am trying to take the tiniest steps possible. I have read through the beginning and am going to take things one P at a time. I have kept myself from reading past the chapter about the second P until I can get some healthy habits established about the first two. Right now I am adding a daily rosary and having the family say a hail mary together. It seems so little, but at least it is something. Perhaps with the prayer time built in, graces will flow for more than what we are doing now. I haven’t tried to schedule anything beyond prayer time. Right now my rule is more of an attitude towards my vocation and just trying to see that even the little mundane things are holy acts when I should be finding...
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