I am sitting in a coffee shop today, working away like a busy bee. Lately I've had so many emails to respond to, I feel like a hamster on a wheel (the emails are never-ending). I need to create at times, too, not just stay buried in "send and receive" all day long. So I thought I'd put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write you a letter.

TOS is launching something very new and very special and that announcement will happen next month, hence all the extra email chores and staff working around the clock prior to launch. I won't share too much here except to say we have an "all-star cast" of new columnists. Don't worry; we still have the regulars who are sticking around too, like Lab's Kate Kessler and Deborah Wuehler our prized Senior Editor. But wait till you see who else has just signed on (a bunch of experts/speakers you'll recognize)—whew, the news will make your jaw drop! More on that later (in a month).

So . . . what to write? I need a prompt. For now, as I start my "magazine work" day, I've just come across a Facebook message sent to me privately by a homeschooler who had some questions about "balancing it all." She said she has four kids she's trying to homeschool and is wondering how I (with my six kids AND a magazine to run) am managing. How do I do it; how do I keep it all together?   

That's Hilarious

After sliding out of my café-style, overstuffed chair laughing maniacally, I cleared my throat and started to type. And here I am. [Chuckle] This is funny. Me, balanced? Me, organized? I don't think so. I mean, I am blessed—Paul is home full-time with me. We both do the magazine and manage the staff and handle the travel and everything that comes with publishing a magazine of this size. But guess who is teaching Sani to read? (Paul) Guess who handles all the house errands and takes care of me? (Paul) Guess who is teaching Levi to drive, helping Paulie fix his motorcycle, and talking about quilting with Julia? (Paul—and yes, he quilts. LOL) Okay, so that aside, I still have a lot on my plate. There is the staff and all that comes with TOS, but there are also (far more importantly) my kids: their hearts, their relationships, their high school credits (only two of our kids are being homeschooled right now; two are graduated and two are babies).

So how do I do it all? Like I said, I don't.

We're Just Slobs . . .

I think I've come to realize after all these years that first and foremost, I want to be a "heart and soul homeschool mama." That's all that really matters. My house is a mess (stop by unannounced and I probably won't answer the door—my living room is a disaster). Take a look at my kitchen; normally you will be hard pressed to find the counters. My couch (what couch—where'd it go?) is overrun by clean laundry waiting (patiently and forever) to be folded and put away. Hey, at least it's clean! My bedroom door stays closed, because, well, never mind. I won't even go there because to describe the clothes behind closet doors, make-up spilled on the counters, and a toilet that looks a little . . . well . . . not as white as it used to, would just be embarrassing. Seriously. My house is pretty messy. For the most part it's really sanitary, though. I have an obsession with "cleaner wipes," as we call them. My kids are constantly wiping down furniture and doorknobs, tables, chairs, and the counters—when we can find them. I love to cook and wash my hands too many times. We're clean. We're just . . . slobs. Epic success!

I'm Not That Smart

So I am not a "house-cleaning super mama." I gave up that dream long ago, like four minutes after I said, "I do." Nor am I a "brainiac homeschool mama.” My kids have gaps, holes, and stops in their education. They did alright; the two who have graduated went on to do a few semesters at college and got straight A's in everything they took, even all the math (yuck). Well, Lukey got ONE B (history). Other than that, they are 4.0 college boys. So something went okay in the homeschooling, I guess. But yeah, there are holes. We didn't dissect a frog—ever. That is just sick and I am not going there. My house is gross enough as it is, and knowing us, someone would lose a liver in the clean laundry and we'd never find that frog. One of my friends ordered a cow's eyeball and it was delivered via MAIL (oh, my, gross). She rolled that puppy right onto her kitchen table and sliced and diced away with her kids. Then they stored the thing in her fridge. Okay. Well, then.