On today’s episode, Kathi welcomes Jessica Turner, author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive. Kathi and Jessica chat about de-cluttering particularly as it relates to working moms. Jessica share tips for moms working both in and out-side of the home.
On today’s info-filled show you’ll learn:
- Why boundaries are essential in our work and home life
- How to make self-care a priority even in the middle of a busy schedule
- The benefits of kids seeing both parents work
Stretched Too Thin is available now.
Get free access to Jessica’s Thrive video series!
Order a copy of the book here.
Thanks for Listening!
Special thanks to our sponsor (in)courage.me
This episode was sponsored by the (in)courage Devotional Bible featuring devotions from over 100 of our favorite writer friends, including our very own Michele Cushatt, Kathi’s co-host of Communicator Academy Podcast. Find out more here
Read along to the Podcast:
Well hey friends, welcome to Clutter Free Academy where our goal is to help you take small doable steps to live every day with less clutter, more life.
You know who our guest is, and we’re going to talk about this is de-cluttering for a very specific group. This is for my friends who are working moms. I know that most of you who listen to this podcast or are in the Clutter Free Academy group are working moms—whether you’re working in the home or outside the home—it doesn’t matter. But I don’t want you to stop listening if you’re not a working mom because here’s the deal, friend; your best friend is a working mom, or your daughter is a working mom, or your mom is a working mom. And guys, they need your love and support and your grace because they bring so much to our lives. As somebody who has been a working mom, still is a working mom, even though my kids are out of the house, some days that just doesn’t matter, I’m very excited about this book. Especially for my Clutter Free friends: “Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive.” It sounds like the title of impossible dreams. Jessica Turner welcome to Clutter Free Academy.
Oh thank you so much for having me. I’m thrilled to be here.
We’re so glad to have you. Here’s my question for you. I think we all have our own visceral reaction to what ‘stretched too thin’ means, and I want to know what it felt like or can still feel like to you on those days.
Oh, the same as it feels for everybody. It’s like you’re a hot mess and you just want to sit and cry, and nothing is going the way you want or appears the way you want it to appear. I think Hot Mess could have been the alternative title to the book.
I just told somebody the other day that the good news is I’m letting everybody down equally. I am screwing it up on all fronts so nobody can feel like Kathi is just ignoring them. No, I’m ignoring everybody equally.
I think that we feel like everything has to be perfect all the time instead of just being comfortable with good enough is good enough.
Right. And when did good enough not get to be good enough? Now, if you’re my brain surgeon, if you are flying military missions, I kind of want the absolute best I can get from you. But for the rest of us, when it comes to mom and work and marketing, you’ll never get 100% in marketing if that’s your career. You’ll never get 100% in momming if that’s your career. So when did we decide this? Has this been something that you think moms have struggled with forever? Or do you think that there are new folds to this for the year 2018?
I think social media contributes to it in a really big way. We see a lot with comparison and guilt and frustration that happens as a result of these ideals that we want to be living. So in that way, I think that’s probably the big difference from the moms of the 50’s. We are now looking at everyone else’s highlight reels and thinking that’s what we need to do.
I always say that lots of times you look at everybody else’s front porch, and it can look like their life is amazing, but we don’t take anybody into that back room that has a lock on it, the room only mom can open.
I see you are sitting in an office of some sort right now that doesn’t look like a home office. The only way I can really tell is because you have a name badge, and I’m guessing you don’t need a name badge at home. So where are you what’s your day job? And is that what led you to write this book?
I work eight to five in corporate America in healthcare, doing marketing. I am recording this on my lunch break, so very literally in the fringe hours, which is my other book. And that certainly was that part of why I wrote this book. There are not a lot of great resources out there for working moms on how to navigate that very specific experience. There are a lot of books out there on parenting, there’s a lot out there on corporate life and that sort of thing, and there’s a lot on how to do good work. But there are not a lot of books specifically geared toward working moms. So I set out to create that resource that I felt was missing in the marketplace.
I think there are many reasons to work. I think that oftentimes in the Christian realm we’re told unless it’s for straight up survival money, then mom has no business working. It feels like such a 1940’s thing to say, but don’t you feel like there’s an underlying message to moms that if you don’t need the money you don’t need to be working?
I think that is true in some spheres but I don’t think that’s true across the board. 70% of American moms with kids under the age of eighteen work. The large majority of us are working, and so I think that we just need to be having more conversations about it. What’s really interesting to me is how many women who have work-at-home jobs don’t call themselves working moms. They’ll say, “I’m a stay at home mom and I sell LuLaRoe.” But I say then you are a working mom. You’re not a stay at home mom. You’re working mom with a business that happens to be home based. I do think that there needs to be a shift in that being OK, to embrace that calling of being a working mom.
There is a shift in thinking as well, when you are a work at home mom, because at work you are still 80% divided. I don’t care if you’re in an office somewhere, if you’re on a plane somewhere traveling for work, at least 20-30% of your brain is at home making sure that people are being fed. When I’m traveling, even though they’re animals, I would say 10% of my brain is wondering if they are getting walked right now. You can’t entirely let it go. But when you’re working at home the lines are even more blurred and it’s a harder thing to manage.
It absolutely is, and so I think that’s why boundaries are really important to put in place and to codify. To say, “look, these are my working hours.” My husband works from home, and I don’t expect there to be laundry done or the dishwasher to get emptied if it wasn’t empty before we left because he’s working during those days. The same should be true for women. I think that it’s really important to have boundaries in place for the time that you’re working, so that when you’re not working you can be fully present in those other areas of your life.
I love this so much because we talk about clutter being a boundary issue. It’s about bringing so much into your home and not having good boundaries about what’s able to come in, or knowing what needs to be turned away at the door. When you’re at work, you’re at work for the most part, and then when you’re home, you’re at home having those good boundaries. It’s really up to us to teach our family and our associates what those boundaries are.
Absolutely, and to stick to them. To say that this is the time that I’m working, I’m not able to do that at another time that and be focused in that. And sometimes you need to redefine those and be nimble enough to say that this isn’t working. I might need to establish something a different way and that’s okay too.
I love that in your book you talk about self care, but I have to tell you, if you’ve got kids that are younger especially, and you’re working full time, and let’s say you’re involved in the church, and I bring up the words self care, I think either groans or laughter are going to be what come from most people. So how do you actually do it? Why is self care so important to that working mom when there are million things knocking down her door? And how does it actually realistically happen in a working mom’s life?
It needs to be made a priority. It’s like the overused analogy of the oxygen mask that says you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of everything else. If we if we want to talk about the church and get biblical about it, Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, so if you aren’t loving yourself well and taking care of yourself, you are not going to be able to love everyone else around you. And that includes your co-workers and your friends and your family, so you’ve got to just make it a priority. It needs to be the most important priority for you to be taking care of your body, to be drinking water, to be getting sleep, to be getting exercise, to be doing all these things that we know that we need to do. Women sometimes feel like it’s just easier to cross themselves off the list to get everything else done. But it is more important to get that exercise than it is to get the dishwasher loaded. The dishwasher will get loaded. So it’s just a change in mentality.
One of the things that we’ve had to do around here is put self care like physical therapy, exercise, and cooking healthy meals actually on the calendar. Those are not things that get squeezed in when there’s enough time because really when is there extra time to go exercise? Nobody in the history of the world has ever had extra time to go exercise. It has to be a priority. So what does that look like for you, Jessica? Because not only are you working full time and have kids, but you also were writing books and have a ministry in addition to all of that. So what does it actually on the calendar look like for you?
Right now it has been a little extra intense because I’m launching a book, and working full time, so some of those things are looking a little different than my normal day to day life. But I’ve tried to incorporate walking a few times a week in the morning just to kind of start my day, get it out of the way, and get a little bit of activity. I also have a pedal bike under my desk so that I can pedal while I’m at work, so that gives me some physical activity if I’m not able to get that walk in. I’m really a big reader and I’m always trying to find time to read, so that’s another way that I find that I take care of myself. I have a monthly massage membership, and I get a massage almost every month. You know, when you see that money coming out of your bank account it’s very motivating. And I’ve been pretty public about this on my social media accounts, but I actually went through kind of a health crisis from September to March where I developed—we’re going to just put it out there—an abscess in my butt. This is something people don’t talk about.
Can I just tell you I forgot it was you and now I remember that.
Everyone knows all about my bottom. Let me tell you, when you have a health crisis and you are dealing with surgeons in your butt, you make time for it. You don’t know how much time you have until something like that happens. So again, I think it’s just a shift in mentality and priority. I was taking care of myself and having to go to the doctor a lot. When you think about people with cancer or whatever…things just shift when those types of major things happen. So the minor stuff like going and getting an annual physical, going to my ObGyn, and going to the dentist, those things I just regularly do. You don’t want to deal with a major crisis if you can avert that by going to the doctor regularly. It’s just part of my calendar. I don’t ever cancel those sorts of things, I think it’s silly to do that.
Apparently having flat feet is really a thing, and who knew? That’s what I’ve been dealing with. I had no idea what was going on, but my ankle was swelling up to twice its normal size which, by the way, is not a cute look. So I was talking to the physical therapist, and she says, “You’re going to need to come in three times a week.” And I thought, “Three times a week? Are you flipping kidding me? Who has time for that?” I said, “Can we do once a week?” And she said, “So what you’re telling me is in that five years, you’ll be OK with not walking?” Well, that was a sobering thought and actually, I’m not OK with not walking. So she said, “Then I would suggest you make the time for three times a week” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing the exercises every morning and I’m reminded that nobody is too important in their day job to not be taking care of themselves physically, they’re just not. None of us are that important.
It’s really important to model that for our children as well. I make them go to the doctor every year, why am I not going to the doctor every year?
So here’s my question, because I know that we spend a lot of time thinking about the ill effects that our working has on our kids. We don’t spend any time thinking about that for their dads, but we do think about for us. I’ve now raised four kids, they had a working mom, and I love their heart of work. I love that they work hard to honor who they are and who they are in God’s kingdom. So I want to know from you what are the benefits you’re seeing in your kids with both you and your husband working?
I think that they realize that work is a part of life. They understand that the benefits that they have in their lives come from having parents who work and have an income. They very clearly equate that getting nice things is because we have money, and we have money because we work. They understand that work isn’t always easy, and that sometimes work forces us to make hard choices, and that sometimes we can’t do things because we have to work. We have responsibilities, and I think that it’s great for them to see. I also think it’s really neat for them to see their parents living out their passions and their talents through their work, and both my husband and I are privileged enough to have that type of work. It’s work that we genuinely love and it’s more than just bringing in an income, which is important, but we enjoy doing it. And I feel like we’re gifted in the spaces that we’re working in. So I think that is cool as well, talking to them about what they can do, about work that aligns with their passions.
I think that’s so huge to raise up in our kids–to find their passion—what God has gifted them with, and to find how they function the world and contributing to society in that way and to do it in an honorable way. So when people find out more about their lives they can say they were raised in a family that values work, and they have a God who honors work. I just love the concept of that. It taught my kids early on that we all have to pitch in if we want food on the table, if we want a clean living room to invite our friends over to, this is a group activity that needs to happen.
The book is “Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive.” So much of that guilt thing is who people are hanging out with. So if you have a friend, a daughter, a mom, a cousin, or a sister who was a working mom, I would really encourage you to take a look at what Jessica is doing here in “Stretched Too Thin.”
Jessica, thank you so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.
Thank you for having me. It was a great conversation.
The word on the street is that Jessica’s going to have some goodies on our download page. So be sure to check that out. There are resources for all of you who are working moms.
Not only do I want to thank Jessica for being here today, I really want to thank you for joining us. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.
Meet Our Guest
Jessica Turner is an award-winning marketing professional, speaker and bestselling author. Her newest book is Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn More
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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