The One Great Thing My Crazy Mom Life Needed


Gina Jo liked her juggling-act-mom-life even more after adding one thing to it.

I juggle being a wife, a mom, a physical therapist, a farmer, a daughter and a friend. When I rock it in one area, sometimes it feels like I’m failing in another area. 

I read a book where it says you should never say yes to people asking you to do something without thinking about it for 24 hours because it means you have to say no to something else. This resonates with me because my time is limited. But I also thrive when I spend time with other women, and I love to give back to my community. So, I try to follow this advice and invest my time in ways that fit my life the best.

One of those places is our local library in Beeville, Texas. When our child was young, I switched to working part-time as a physical therapist overseeing eleven school districts. As a major plus, it meant I was off in the summer. That’s when I started to spend time at the library. We started out doing crafts and book readings at their toddler time program. They also have a summer program that encourages kids to read weekly with different incentives. At the end they earn raffle tickets for the chance to win even bigger-ticket prizes, like bicycles or video game systems. Because of the time we spent at this library, I really started making great connections with other women. 

Several years later, a farmer friend of mine in the area invited me to join a local women’s organization that raises money for the library. Every year, the organization hosts a beautiful fundraising luncheon where the tables are decorated based on the theme of a kid’s book.

Since we raise wheat, cotton, corn and milo on our farm, this year I decided to decorate one of the tables based on the book The Tractor in the Haystack. I used a gorgeous set of wheat Noritake dishes that my dad bought for his mother when he was stationed in Japan during his years in the Navy. 

Being part of this annual program has helped me realize what a gift this organization has been to me. It’s been a lovely way to pour into the Beeville community and put my creative abilities to the test. One unexpected benefit is that it has given me many opportunities to spend quality time with women who are older than me. Their perspectives constantly amaze me. 

For example, recently I had to miss an officers meeting because my daughter had pneumonia. I was frustrated because as the President, I felt like I needed to attend. And then I felt guilty because my daughter really needed me, and I couldn’t do two things at once. A fellow officer was so kind to tell me to take a deep breath, and to remember these things:

  1. I’m not a bad mommy.
  2. Being a mom is really hard. 
  3. It’s okay to feel frustrated.

I never knew volunteering my days to the library toddler program would be such a game-changer in my own life. I’m thankful that I made the time to invest in it. Because now I’m not just better at juggling, I’m a happier juggler.