Balance, busyness, and not doing it all (book giveaway!) - JJ Landis
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Balance, busyness, and not doing it all (book giveaway!)


When I began a new high school in a new town a thousand years ago, there was an upperclassman/popular girl/cheerleader (key to my heart) whom I looked up to. She was beautiful and smart and kind to everyone. I remember soon after she graduated, she was back at the school as a substitute teacher (and later a teacher for many years).



We became friends (thank you, Facebook) many years later and then bumped into each other (irl) at a conference. She writes and speaks and works and has four kids. I have never been able to figure out how she manages to stay above water!



And now I know her secret! I figured out how she “does it all.” She explains how in her new book, and guess what – I’m giving a copy away to one of my readers! (Spoiler alert: she doesn’t do it all.)



Here is a preview. If you are interested in winning a copy of Brenda’s book, leave me a comment and I’ll enter you in the random drawing. Thanks! (I’ll choose a name in one week – next Wednesday, September 23.)



brenda's book

I sat in my bedroom with the door locked, realizing if I walked out the door, I’d lose it. What was I doing here as a mom of teenagers? I remembered being in the same place as a mom of toddlers– the needed for quiet moments to myself before the kids got up and my day belonged to someone else.


Just a few minutes of personal time, please! I just need a few minutes to myself that are mine!


When I was a stay-at-home-mom, I often gave myself time-outs behind closed doors. After being a SAHM for over a decade, I became a working-mom as a high school teacher. After several years of doing-it-all, with a broken heart, I turned out the lights in my classroom for the last time, leaving the profession I love.


Because I can’t do it all.


For me, my classroom was a sacred place where you pour your life and heart into kids. But there’s a price. Teaching’s a demanding job.  While I kept up with the deadlines of the classroom and managed my home well, I was falling apart inside.


No matter whether you work in our outside the home, you can’t do it all. I learned the hard way by trying to do everything I thought I had to do during the busiest years of parenting. It resulted in a stressed-out-reactionary-mom. After assessing my personal and family needs, I left teaching and went back to graduate school to obtain a degree in a field that would allow better work opportunities for my sanity while raising a family.


Here are 8 things I’ve learned from being both a stay-at-home-mom and a working mom. It’s a short preview of my new book, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All. JJ’s giving one away today on the blog.


1. Doing it all is pricey, and for me, the price was too high emotionally and spiritually. My kids needed a mom emotionally available for them who was not irritated, frustrated, and on-edge. I needed to be at peace. Are there things causing a high price for your family right now?


2. Being pulled in every direction is hard. During these years, I was pulled in every direction. My husband and I made a life-changing decision for me to go back to school so I could have other opportunities for part-time or flexible employment outside of the classroom. It was a good decision, but a hard one to make.


3. God has been faithful. After a long wait, God answered our prayers by providing a part-time school counseling position for me. It’s a reminder that God cares, hears, and provides miracles. As my ministry as a writer and speaker expands, He’s been faithful, again, to provide a different schedule for the coming year to better accommodate work, family, and ministry. Only God can do that.


4. I know what I can handle. I only have a few more years with my children at home, and I want to be present, at peace, and available. I’ve learned to know my limits and stressors. I protect my time to guard these triggers. Do you know your stress limits?


5. God provides. Quitting a secure job to go back to school full-time with a large family didn’t make sense, especially with one going to college at the same time. After living on one income for most of our marriage, we knew we could return to it for a season. God has a way of making dollars stretch when you don’t think they can.


6. Know yourself and be okay with your limits. I never felt more like a failure than when I locked my classroom door and turned in the keys. When everything around you says you’ve failed, you aren’t good enough, and you fear what-people-will-think, it’s crucial you’re confident of God’s plan for you. Then, you can rest in His will.


7. God cares about women. Being on both sides of the working-mom fence, I’ve been challenged by every social mores there is in the Christian world regarding working or non-working mothers. I’ve learned women’s roles aren’t who we are, they are what we do. God loves us each individually, and ministers to us accordingly.


8. A woman’s identity is in Christ alone. It’s not in our children, our work, our gifts, our talents, our husband, or our home. I can’t express in words all the places the Lord and I have been with this topic over the last ten years.  I’ve learned first and foremost that I’m the daughter of the Most High God. I’m not defined by my children’s achievements or failures, a clean house, awesome lesson plans, or my ability to handle it all—or not.


Nor do these things define you.


God is crazy about each of us for who we are and who He has created us to be. And He has called each of us to be a testimony to Him above all else.



Do you need an encouragement to find God’s balance during the busiest years of parenting? If you like this post, comment below to enter your name in a drawing for the book Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All. Or purchase the book at Amazon or from Brenda’s website.



IMG_1886edcr Brenda round

Brenda L. Yoder, LMHC, is an author, speaker, educator and counselor. Her books, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All and Who Do You Say I Am released in 2015. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, can be found at where she writes about faith, life, and parenting beyond the storybook image. Brenda’s also a parenting columnist for 10 To 20 Parenting, Choose Now Ministries, and Whatever Girls, She has a mental health column in her local paper, and has been featured in Chicken Soup For The Soul:Reboot Your Life. She was twice awarded the Touchstone Award for teachers.

When Brenda’s not writing, working, or speaking, she’s a wife and mom to four children, ages teen to young adult. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Periscope (@BeyondPicketFenc) and Twitter.

  • JJ Landis
    Posted at 16:21h, 23 September Reply

    Congratulations to Tiffany! She is the winner of Brenda’s book.

  • Susan Wade
    Posted at 02:42h, 20 September Reply

    From her bio, it sounds like she is still doing it all! Would love to read more about what she’s learned.

  • Tiffany
    Posted at 21:43h, 16 September Reply

    Would love to read some about this topic especially from an author like Brenda!

  • Lori S
    Posted at 16:06h, 16 September Reply

    I met Brenda at grad school–she is who she says she is. What a treasure and refreshingly honest.

  • Kimberly
    Posted at 14:32h, 16 September Reply

    This sounds like such a fitting book for we moms that want to be fully there for our children but still pursue God given gifts. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Toni Phillips
    Posted at 14:04h, 16 September Reply

    With age n experience come wisdom. Would love to read her book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 07:23h, 16 September Reply

    Always trying to keep the right balance in our schedule. Would love to read this.

  • Kristen H
    Posted at 07:22h, 16 September Reply

    This sounds like a great book!!!

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