Flourish Book Review
I’ve always been a busy mom.  I worked full-time for the first 4.5 years of my son’s life, then, after a break to have PB & J Girl, I worked full-time for another year until Cuddle Bug came along.

By the time Cuddle Bug was 10 months old, I had some freelance gigs going.  Then, I quit my job and began working from home.  Last year, I threw homeschooling into the mix.  To say that every day feels like a constant shuffle of trying to get my work done, teach the kids, and play with them as well as keep up the house is an understatement.

But I’m not alone.  Almost all the moms I know are busy ladies juggling various responsibilities.

Flourish Book Review
Mary Jo Tate, author of Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms ($15.00) by Apologia Educational Ministries gets the struggle.  She is a single mother to four boys, whom she homeschools.  She also works from home as an editor to support her family.

What I Loved About Flourish:  Balance for Homeschool Moms

I have tried my hand at time management and organizational endeavors.  I’ve tried writing out a schedule for myself, for the kids, for homeschooling.  I’ve tried keeping a journal of how I spend my time.  Still, I find myself feeling guilty a lot of the time.  If I have to work, I feel bad I’m not playing with the kids.  If I’m playing with the kids, I worry because I’m not getting my work done.  I’m sure most moms can relate.

So, I loved that Tate included suggestions I hadn’t thought of or hadn’t tried myself.  For instance, she suggests that children learn that during your work time, they are not to interrupt unless it’s an emergency.  She also suggests going some place in the house where you can close the door and focus.  Of course, you’re ability to do this depends on the age of your kids.  But it’s liberating to know that I don’t have to be completely accessible to my kids 24/7.

Tate also suggests that you include your children in many of the regular household chores.  Tate says her four boys do all of the regular household chores while she works.  I likely won’t go that far, but I could and should take the time to make my children more involved and responsible with things to do around the house.  That will ease my burden a bit, giving me more time to get work done and, yes, to relax sometimes.

Tate also points out how important it is to take time to care for yourself by exercising, sleeping, eating healthy and taking time to relax.  We moms are so bad at taking care of ourselves, and so good at taking care of others!

This Book Is a Quick Read, But…

This book can be a quick read, but I don’t advise you to just skim through it as a busy mom might be tempted to.  Most of the chapters have action plans, and you’ll get the most from the book if you take the time to do the activities.  For instance, in Chapter One, Tate encourages readers to take the Pre-Book Self-Evaluation to determine what areas they currently struggle with.  In most chapters, she asks you to do some writing to apply what you learned in the chapter to your own life.

Is This Just a Book for Homeschooling Moms?

I think any busy mom can benefit from this book, even if she doesn’t homeschool.  The information is relevant to all moms who struggle with time management and guilt.

The chapters included are:

  • Chapter One:  An Invitation to Flourish
  • Chapter Two:  Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  • Chapter Three:  The FREEDOM Toolbox
  • Chapter Four:  Where Did My Time Go?
  • Chapter Five:  Aim High:  Setting Goals
  • Chapter Six:  What Do I Do Next?  Seven Essential Planning Tools
  • Chapter Seven:  We Interrupt This Program
  • Chapter Eight:  It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  • Chapter Nine:  Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  • Chapter Ten:  Training Your Children
  • Chapter Eleven:  Making Memories
  • Chapter Twelve:  Managing Your Home
  • Chapter Thirteen:  All of Life Is Learning
  • Chapter Fourteen:  Solo Act:  Flourishing as a Single Mother
  • Chapter Fifteen:  Home Business
  • Chapter Sixteen:  Moving Ahead

Changes I’ll Make as a Result of This Book

This book was an excellent reminder that we are continually deciding how to spend our time, and the way we spend our time reflects our priorities.  It was also a wake up call to me that even though I say my family is my priority, they often get pushed aside so I can finish my work.

Thanks to reading this book, I plan to implement a few changes:

One day during the weekend, I plan to have a work-free time period from the time I wake up until after the kids go to bed so I can spend time with my family.

Once we move into our new house, I plan to give each child a chore chart (Bookworm already had this, but I’ve been lax about giving PB & J Girl & Cuddle Bug many chores).  I plan to take the time to train the girls so they, too, can help around the house more.

I’m beginning to work on training the kids to not disturb me for an hour during the afternoon while I’m working.

If you’re a busy mom struggling to do everything, you can’t go wrong by reading this book.

But don’t just take my word for it.  You can also read what other crew members had to say about the book.

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