Fifth P: Provider

When Disaster Strikes

Dear Holly,At the beginning of this month Hurricane Gustav tore through Baton Rouge, Louisiana where I live with my husband and and son. We are fine and had only minimal roof damage. The rest of the city wasn’t so lucky. There were trees down everywhere, no one had electricity, all the stores were closed, garbage pickup was stopped and there was curfew at sundown. We were without power for a week. My husband and I like to camp, so I tried to view the experience as a camping trip at home. I kept telling myself electricity is a luxury and I should be able to handle this, but honestly, I was over whelmed. The house was damp and dirty. I couldn’t keep anything clean. We did still have running water and I was blessed to have family and friends at my house with whom to play board games, to help cook meals and who helped me wash dishes. We had to keep the windows open so the house wouldn’t be too hot but it rained for several days after the winds died down, so rain came into the house. We put down towels that quickly became saturated and smelly. With no power there was no way for me to dry the laundry even if I had hand washed everything; it was far too rainy and humid to run out a clothes line. We also had to clean our yard, patch our roof, and help my mom take down a large pine tree that came down in her yard destroying her shed and landing on her carport. Ants even came... read more

Burning Out

Dear Holly, I was looking forward to the summer break, but it only seems to be making me more stressed. The kids are out of their routine. I am feeling rudder-less without school to ground me. The house is a mess and yet I just cleaned it out in June. I am tired. And the school year, only 6 weeks away, looms large on the horizon and I feel pressured and burdened.... read more

The Clutter Of Unwanted Gifts

Dear Holly,What do I do about gifts that clutter our house? People really mean well and we have asked not to bring gifts or to go for things like books or crafts (things the children can use). Regardless, we still receive and own and store gifts, largely given to the children, that are perfectly nice but that clutter our house. I’m afraid the gift givers will come over and say “how do you enjoy your such-and-such” and then think we are ungrateful and don’t love them when we say we passed it on to someone else in need. Now that I write that it sounds completely ridiculous. But still this is my struggle. Any thoughts to help with the... read more

Schedule Hints for Back to Work

Dear Holly,THANK YOU for your book! I’ve been searching for something,and your book has definitely given me direction. I sort of made a schedule, and am doing my morning prayer and evening everyday, but can’t really seem to get into the groove of the schedule I made. My husband and I had another a baby boy in July, and am now back to work part time and will be back full time in Jan. Any suggestions on how to make a schedule to follow while working full time? I’m afraid that I won’t use it and I’m not sure how well my husband will follow it while I’m not at home (He’s home with them for the winter). Also, I’ve read and re-read “The Spirit of My Mother’s Rule of Life”, not sure I can make one as good as you, is that ok to just use yours? Why re-invent the wheel! Thank you... read more

Kids & Independant Chores

Dear Holly,After reading your inspiring book, I had the opportunity to hear you speak in Milwaukee this spring. Thank you for sharing your advice and experience.I am wondering what tips you have for motivating young ones to do work on their own without being told. I have 5 children under 7 and find myself having to tell them over and over to do the things they are used to doing each day . . . brush teeth, wash face, etc. I have not instituted chore charts yet which may help as a visual for me to show them rather than talking so much. But I am wondering from you experience, what have you found helpful? Also, how do you construct your charts? Are they simply handwritten or done on the computer where they can be modified or some other... read more

A Mother's Rule For a Working Mom

Dear Holly,I am re-reading MROL with great interest and am using the questions to discern, with the help of my spiritual director, what might be a useful rule to aid me on this journey of holiness. My question is this – have you had any feedback from moms working outside the home regarding things that have helped in the development and implementation of their Rules? For a variety of reasons, working outside the home in addition to being a wife and mother is where I find myself, and I hope to continue on the path to personal and familial sanctity in the midst of our particular situation. I don’t imagine it’s impossible, just that some of the specifics might need to be tweaked a bit to reflect the chunk of time that I’m out in the workplace (and perhaps with a different focus of finding ways to maintain a prayerful, recollected spirit in the workplace). Any thoughts that others might have shared on this topic would be most... read more

Supervision Quandries

Dear Holly,Is it realistic for my 4-and-5 year old to handle jobs on their own, as we schedule the work to be done at the same times? For example, if I’m helping my daughter fold and put away her laundry, my son is not following my teaching of his specific job, although he is purely putting his best intentions, efforts, and time in doing his work, but things end up “wetter” in areas I trust him to clean (b/c I’ve watched him do it) than I like. Are my four-and-five year old precious joys capable (or I may not be as trusting) in the “kinds” of jobs I give to them from start to finish. When the three of us are working in the home doing our very simple chores (putting clean laundry away), sorting some laundry, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and “mopping” the floor with a Swiffer of all things, I come back to find that my son has “added” cups and cups of water to the floor while using the Swiffer mop and flooded large areas that I had been trusting him to do– that’s why I purchased the Swiffer so that he would not need to use a mop and bucket (as that was a disaster each time we tried that method). Now, this was all happening when I was helping my daughter to fold/put her clean laundry away (she’s good at that but still needs supervision); for example, tonight I went to fetch a pair of what I thought were clean socks from her drawer for bedtime and found her disgustingly dirty... read more

Room Purposes and Prayer Spots

Dear Holly,I am about to jump into a serious decluttering of my possessions. Can you give some examples of the “purposes” for different rooms? Especially the rooms shared by all the family. Can rooms have more than one purpose (or MANY purposes)? Also, can you give some examples of ideas for a prayer spot, or advice on how to go about picking... read more

Kids & Chores, Despite the Maid…

Dear Holly,I use your MROL and it has been a lifesaver!! I began using it over the summer and it was great. A big chunk of my MROL is time allotted for house cleaning – the bathrooms, floors, etc. I had a baby 2 months ago and we have had a circumstance change. My husband has been kind enough to hire a housekeeper to come clean one morning every 2 weeks. This takes care of the heavy house work. Obviously there is still day to day stuff. It is very important to me that my kids learn to clean after themselves but they are still too young to handle anything heavy – they are 7,4,2 & 2 months. What advice would you have for me as I re-vamp my MROL? What sort of things should I still have the children do to help with cleaning? Should I block off time for the daily stuff – sweeping and dishes and weekly stuff that needs to be done between house keeper visits (vacuuming &... read more

Paper Clutter…

Dear Holly,I am completely overwhelmed by paper clutter. About a year and a half ago I hired a professional organizer, and among other things she got my files in order (her order!) and made decisions for me on what could be shredded and what needed to be kept. I had her back 2 or 3 times while I was still working, and she would help me get caught back up, but in between those times the mail would just pile up and overwhelm me. Since I’m no longer working, ( I am home with my two young children) it has been quite a while since she was here, and it’s getting pretty bad. I never seem to know what to do with the stuff that comes in. I avoid the mail as long as possible, sometimes being late on bills, because it is so overwhelming to me. When I do open it, I never know what is OK to throw away and what to keep. It’s almost like I’m paralyzed when I look at the paper in my hand and try to figure out what to do with it. Then of course besides the mail there is all the kiddos artwork and the drawers of unorganized pictures and parephernalia that I want to get scrapbooked (when the babies get older and I have time to do fun things for me again) and the Christmas cards and the magazines I want to read but never seem to have time to and my NFP charts and… (etc.) I grew up with an entire family of the “hold on to everything, you... read more
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