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Episode 79: Managing It All: Family, Marriage, and Work

By October 7, 2019January 3rd, 2023Podcast

"God is not impressed that you are exhausted. But, you are not stuck."

If you’re overwhelmed and feel like you can’t slow down, you need this episode. Denise Kendrick is a fulltime working mom of nine kids, and she’s learned how to breathe in the middle of day to day life. It hasn’t been without trial and error, but she brings her lessons learned to encourage us. She’s developed systems that work for her and offers principles to help guide your thinking so you can set your own boundaries as well. Listen in if you want help from one mom who has been where you are.


1. Put systems in place.

To stay organized, develop systems that can help you. This may take time as you start out, but it can prevent answering the same questions from kiddos over and over. For scheduling, Denise shares an electronic calendar with her kids withdevicesand hangs one on the wall for those that don’t. To help make the grocery store run easier, they use a whiteboard. If someone needs something, instead of telling Mom, they know to write it down. 

If you get systems in place and make it a habit to stick by them, everything will run like a well-oiled machine. It’s not any different than deciding where to put your keys when you walk in. You’re training your kids in the same way, so that you can all function as a team. Every person has to know where things go and what the family is doing so that you can all work together. 

2. Say no.

Even with systems in place, if you have too much on the calendar and are overcommittedit’s a challenge. You have to start by limiting your commitments. 

Let your yes be yes and your no, no. It’s okay to be picky with your time and have boundaries. This isn’t just for families with a lot of children. You can be just as busy with one. Your choices impact your level of busy. While this could feel overwhelming, Denise shares that it’s actually empowering. She has learned tmake the decisions that work best for her family, instead of saying yes out of obligation or guilt. 

3. Be intentional to connect.

It’s okay (and good!) to clock out from your duties as the parent so that you can nurture your relationship with your spouse. By setting specific timefor Mom and Dad only, you model the importance of marriage. For Denise, her ‘clocking out’ time varies, so she gives the family a heads up for when it’s coming. If someone needs help with homework or has something they want to talk about, they know they need to ask before then. And once Mom and Dad are clocked out, unless it’s something super urgent, the kids know not to interrupt. This helps Denise and Bruce stay connected regularly.

To connect as a family, gathering around the dinner table is important. It’s a time to share and listen by asking each person their high and low of the day. This encourages conversation, whereas when you ask a child how their day was right when they walk in the door, they might not be ready to share. It also helps to make sure each child—even the quiet one—has space to share and is heard. It doesn’t always go perfectly, but structure and consistency are key. 

Find everyday opportunities to connect. Don’t wait for the “perfect” time. Grab hold of everyday moments. Send a text, leave a note, or pick up something special while you’re already at the store to let your child or spouse know they are seen and loved. 

4. Give yourself permission to breathe.

In the midst of caring for everyone else, don’t neglect yourself. You can’t pour anything out if you have nothing to begin with. Take care of your soul. This goes back to saying no to good opportunities that aren’t right for you. If you’re at capacity, don’t add more, whether that’s people, or activities. Find ways to serve that don’t take as much emotional energy; it might be the difference between saying yes to serving in the nursery at church rather than leading a small group that will take more time.

If you are already overcommitted, start looking for ways to step back. You are not stuck. You can breathe. No matter what your family looks like or what roles you hold, you can carve out time for yourself. God doesn’t call you to live an exhausted, exasperated life. Step back. Shake it up. Cancel the plans if neededbut then develop a long game. Think through how you can run at a sustainable pace. Ask the Lord to show you your next step towards peace, so you can be the kind of wife, mom, and friend that you want to be. 


Embrace, a foster care and adoption ministry in the North Texas region
Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman
Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Osten
A Sane Women’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Osten

Want more from this incredible family?
Hear from Denise’s husband Bruce on S1E4 of The Forgotten Podcast on The Beauty of Following God’s Plan


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We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

Share this post or rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you listen) and leave us a brief review

Meet Our Guest

Denise Kendrick married her high school sweetheart, Bruce, and their family grew quickly from there. They welcomed in a baby, then two, and now they are parents to nine and grandparents to three. The church wrapped around their family as they continued to welcome in children from foster care and a ministry blossomed from there. Embrace is a foster care and adoption ministry in the North Texas regionwhere Denise serves as the Executive Director. She’s learned (mostly through trial and error) what it means to manage time and create systems that help her family grow strong and stay connected.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

Special thanks to Resonate Recordings for their knock-it-out-of-the-park podcast production services! If you have a podcast or want to start one, reach out to our friends at Resonate!

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