Jessica Turner is a veritable expert in looking for pockets of time & for ways to love well: She works full-time in marketing, writes regularly on her lifestyle blog, mothers her three beautiful young children, yet still finds time each day for using her gifts in life-giving ways. Jessica has been a kindred friend for more than eight years — she’s taught me so much about giving with joy & loving upside down & deeply — and it’s a humble joy to learn from her needful journey of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive. I’ve listened to the audio book and found Jessica’s narration to be a lovely, encouraging listen. This book is a five-star read for any of us who have jobs beyond taking care of our families and homes. It’s an honor to cheer her on and a grace to welcome Jessica to the farm’s front porch today….
We’ve all heard the analogy that “life is a juggling act” or “we’re juggling a lot of balls.”
My whole life I have always imagined those balls to all be the red rubber balls you see clowns juggling at the circus.
But that idea was turned on its head after I conducted a survey of 2,000 working moms two years ago.
And one of those working moms shared these wise words:
The best advice I was ever given was to imagine that my life was a juggling act. Only some of my balls are glass and some rubber. I can drop the rubber balls and pick them up later and they aren’t any different. However, if I drop a glass ball, they are broken forever—no matter how hard you try to fix it. The key then is to determine which balls are your glass balls.
In my new book, Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive, I ask readers, what are your glass balls? What are the things in your life that, if they shattered, would be devastating?
This way of thinking has transformed my life as a working mom.
You see, when you look at life through this lens, your priorities become as clear as those glass balls.
In my life, people are the glass balls—including me. I know that I have to take care of myself so that I can be there for my loved ones.
My own glass ball cannot crack. Because if I let myself “crack” I am not able to live out my other responsibilities and passions. I will be unable to live out the fullest version of who God has called me to do.
Then, I have the glass ball that represents my marriage and my husband, Matthew. He is my best friend, and our relationship is the most important one in my life. It is not a relationship that should be neglected or dropped like a rubber ball.
My children are more glass balls. My years with them at home are fleeting. I must do all I can to pour into their lives and love them well. For those balls to shatter would be devastating.
But my house? Total rubber ball. I can figure that out if things get dropped. No major cracks will happen if the laundry waits one more day or the dishes stay in the sink.
A tougher one for some working moms to swallow is that work is also a rubber ball, though we often treat it like a glass ball.
Now, I am not saying that you should neglect your job or not respect the value it brings to your life.
But, as a colleague once said to me, “We are all replaceable.”
Those words have never left me.
I have learned to hold my job loosely, knowing that as much as I love it and take pride in it, my work does not define me.
And though I feel called to work, I still recognize my work’s place in my life. On my death bed, my work won’t matter to me.
All that will matter are the people surrounding me and those who I loved well.
If you are a working mom who often feels stretched too thin, chances are you are trying to juggle all those balls as every single one is glass.
Or you are dropping balls that are at risk of cracking – like your own self-care.
Remember, Jesus’s words to love our neighbors as ourselves.
That means, we can only love others to the degree we are loving/taking care of ourselves.
If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else well either.
I promise, there is a better way.
You don’t have to continue to live stretched too thin — exhausted, stressed, frustrated, and drained.
You can thrive as a working mom, having a life that is rich in relationships and happiness.
You can live better.
So fight for it.
Live boldly and passionately.
Pursue your dreams and love your family well.
Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive, a book for every working mom who has wondered, is there a better way? As a working mom myself, Jessica has been a dear friend and source of encouragement in this way. I can tell you first-hand that this is a resource written for all of us who struggle to navigate home and work.
Stretched Too Thin shows readers how to work and parent guilt-free, set achievable goals, discover more flexibility, establish clear work boundaries, develop home management solutions, become more efficient and less stressed, prioritize self-care, invest in your marriageand cultivate deeper friendships.