Ask Rene:

I’m Overwhelmed By Life In General! Help!

Dear Rene:

Thanks so much for the Good Enough Mother site – and all you preach!

I love the central message of GEM and wish I could apply it more to my own life. My problem is that I feel totally overwhelmed at the moment by my life. I feel like I have so many plates spinning that could come crashing down at any moment.

My husband Jerry works long hours and is on the road a lot so I take care of most of the household chores and raising our three children, Mika (12), Steven (9) and Casey (4). I also work a full time job as a librarian. My sister is going through a painful divorce and needs a lot of support while my mother is aging and needs help around her home. On top of that my eldest Mika has a learning disability and is acting out from frustration. And we have quite a lot of credit card debt that we’re struggling to pay off (I handle all the bills and thus all the stress).

I want to make some more time for myself but I honestly don’t know where to begin. What’s your advice Rene? What are your secrets? And how do all the other GEMs out there juggle their own crazy lives?


Kara in San Diego



Dear Kara:

I’m so glad you wrote in because we need to do an intervention STAT! You say you like the central message of GEM and wish you could apply it more to your life. Here’s the good news; you can. Here are a couple of ideas that I think might help.

1. Prioritize

Image 1 of 5

Okay first things first. You have an awful lot on your plate and some of it just isn’t going to get done. Once you accept that, we can then go back and approach it the way they do injuries in the hospital emergency room, the most critical and pressing get addressed first. Of the list you have presented in your letter, the very first thing I would do is get on the phone with all the credit card companies and see if they’d be willing to give you a bit of a break. There are some companies who will work with you if they know you are struggling but doing your best. Perhaps you can workout a reduced payment schedule, if even for a few months, just to give you some breathing room. Maybe you could look at consolidating some of your debt. Once you are out from under the weight (at least partially) of the crushing debt you might be able to breathe easier, which means you can sleep at night, leaving you well rested and prepared to make sound decisions in other areas of your life.