Fifth P: Provider

New Year Clean Up?

Dear Holly, Christmas is over and family visitors are leaving. I really want to get my home in order for the New Year, but to be honest, I am OVERWHELMED! Everything is such a mess, and I honestly don’t know where to start. It is beginning to make me depressed, just looking at the mounds of stuff and clutter all over my house. When I start to clean it up, I take so much time that the rooms get even more messy before they get better, and even my husband is beginning to comment. My husband and my kids help out, but I can’t have them do this all day every day – I really think this will take me months to do a serious de-clutter. Do you have any tips to help me pull things together quickly, yet still do a thorough... read more

Excellent Financial Program

Hi Ladies – Just a link for you – to share a computer program my husband and I are using in relation to budgeting and finances: YNAB – You Need a Budget. It is an all-in-one budgeting & financing tool, helping both hubby and wife to know at a glance where they stand. To find out about it and to see how it works: YNAB To get a discount on this program: Discount through Holly... read more

On Saints & On Dining Rooms…

Dear Holly, Do you have a favorite saint or group of saints whose intercession is particularly applicable for us homeschooling mothers, trying to create faith-filled homes of beauty and order? Also, in a week or two, we are moving to a new house. It will be a tight squeeze, and I am trying to think outside the box for how to use the rooms most effectively. I am trying to apply the Kindergarten Model of organization advocated in Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing from the Inside Out , where she suggests putting all the things you need to do an activity in one place, the place where you do that activity. I am getting stuck when trying to figure out how to organize the tiny dining room — with the thought that most of our “table work” will be done there. Do you have suggestions or thoughts about this... read more

Only An Hour a Day for the Children…

Dear Holly,I am at a loss on how to implement the mother’s rule in my life. I work outside of the home 5 days a week ( 8am – 5pm). On a work day – I only get to see my children ( a pre-schooler , a toddler and a baby ) between 6pm and 7pm before they are ready for bed and most weekends I am home full time unless I have to do errands ( on which I take my children ). But I am always exhausted – on the verge of tears some days … My husband pitches in when he can but he also works full time and he is in the final year of his doctoral studies . I have a nanny but its like the moment I walk in the door everyone just wants me to do multiple things... read more

Panic Attacks & Perspective…

Dear Holly,I’ve been having panic attacks regularly, though I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I think that a schedule would really help things. I really long for a proper schedule for myself and my kids. I have thought about this, and prayed about this, and kept records and made lists… but nothing is coming together. I was wondering if you have any ideas. My children are both transitioning… my 2 year old son out of naps, and just won’t do quiet time in his bed without screaming or just being very disruptive – (I’m just not doing tv for him because he just isn’t old enough) and my 9 month old son out of morning naps. He also wakes very easily when there is any noise in the house, so some days he doesn’t sleep longer than an hour all day. If my 2 year old does take a nap, he is not tired until 9pm, or both kids will not nap at the same time. They both wake up at 6am, waking each other up usually. Every day is just completely different. My husband makes fun of me because it seems like I’m constantly trying to map out a schedule for us and then the next day everything falls apart when people nap or don’t nap or something else goes wrong.Also, I’m having what seems to be an impossible time keeping the house clean. Even something as simple as cleaning up the kitchen seems virtually impossible sometimes. The children must both be constantly monitored it seems. We do have a very small house. Usually I have a... read more

Is a Clean House Really Important?

Dear Holly,Congratulations in getting that new e-book out – A Spirituality of Motherhood – and for updating the website! Please continue your apostolate of this website. It is truly a blessing. I haven’t been online much lately, with the birth of my new son, who is healthy and happy. The sleep deprivation is still severe at this point, but God is helping me cope with it pretty well. I am really struggling with implementing or even creating a Rule, though the priority of the five Ps is in my mind a lot. There are many things, important things like the new baby and my conversion to Catholicism, happening in my life right now. With all this, a clean house doesn’t even seem important. Is it important? I grew up in a household with very low cleaning standards, and though I would prefer things to be much cleaner I just can’t seem to get it... read more

Getting that 5th P Organized!!!!

Dear Holly,I’m working on my fifth “P” still. I’ve made *some* progress with the first four, but the fifth is eluding me. It seems that our housekeeping life is too amorphous. My husband works from home a good deal of the day, and then goes out at unpredictable times. I have two two-year-olds – both girls. For example, here’s a concrete question — how often do you think we should have the whole floor “picked up” when we have two kids under the age of 3? I thought maybe we could pick up all the toys and messes (by messes I mean things like, pulling all the dishtowels out of the drawer), twice a day – naptime and bedtime. But that leaves us with hours and hours of messy house, and then feeling too tired to pick it *all* up. What do you do with the children while you’re scrubbing the toilets or other jobs that require the absence of said two-year-olds (I hate to stick in a children’s DVD just so I can do housework)? Mealtime cleanup takes forever, and then I try to immediately clean off all counters too. (papers, toys, cups, glasses, miscellaneous stuff that somehow piles up there). So I don’t think I can add on any more chores to mealtime. I’m finding the implementation of the other P’s so helpful, that I really want to implement this one too. My goal is to be able to have people drop by without my panicking. (I had to turn away our priest when he showed up unexpectedly and the house was a... read more

Successful Business Interferes with Family Life

Dear Holly,For the past few years I’ve been building a network marketing business and I basically earn a decent income working part-time hours. Our family has made many sacrifices to build an organization which generates a full-time income. When I first started the business, we were in great financial need and my husband was very skeptical (anti network marketing and anti-sales) but our financial reality required that I do something to provide income. My struggle is what it has always been – having peace with what I do. I still need to earn income, although we no longer have the financial pressure which drove me as before. But this type of business is demanding, it requires continually personal development, dealing with people from all walks of life, religious beliefs, etc. It is also challenging to schedule. My office phone can literally ring from 8am to midnight with people who have urgent issues and are looking for help. My heart is drawn to solitude and quiet, time for prayer and just to be with Christ. My reality is anything but… I desire to have balance and harmony through the day, but this business can be all consuming. And the truth is I am so drawn to do the business rather than tend to my home and family. Working with a team, strategizing, planning and facilitating events, is hugely energizing, exciting and tones of FUN!!! I love the social networking, thrive on the party atmosphere and have a hard time drawing my boundaries. I think it is natural to be drawn to this as it offers a contradiction to the monotony... read more

Struggling with that 5th P

Dear Holly,The five P’s of the married vocation hit me over the head like a hammer this last time I read your book. It was a huge WOW for me. I couldn’t start to work on improving my family life until I started to work on me. I couldn’t teach or model something I wasn’t living. I intellectually knew this but I never did anything about it. Right now I am working through P- prayer, P- person, P- partner. The more I work on prayer the stronger the person and the partner become. I am noticing little changes in my parenting as well, even though I haven’t focused on that yet. The Rosary has been the best gift ever. It has opened my eyes to seeing I am not in charge, I am not the be all and end all, God is. I am seeing that doing things without keeping God in mind is pointless. Yet I am still struggling with the practical implementation of day to day living. While I am so much happier than I was, things are still not getting done. Laundry piles up, bathrooms don’t cleaned regularly, general things don’t get put away. This doesn’t bother me so much anymore but I do keep thinking that these things are important. These things of living need to be done and should have their place in my day. I just don’t seem to know where to put them. How do you move into the practical side of what you talk about in the book. I have a very hard time making a daily schedule for myself let... read more

About Toys & Books Again…

Dear Holly,I just had a question about rotating toys & books [in the bins from day to day] … I have thought about doing this, to make cleanup time easier, and to keep them more engaged with their toys rather than just unloading them and spreading them around. But the concern I have is that they will learn to feel that they always need something new and exciting, rather than being happy with the same things. Do you have any... read more
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