The Time-Saving Mom: Crystal Paine
Too much to do, not enough time to do it? You don't just have to hustle harder. You can simplify and (yes) enjoy your life. Crystal Paine—mom of six, bestselling author of The Money-Saving Mom, and entrepreneur—delivers real-world, no-nonsense time management advice for moms from her latest book, The Time-Saving Mom. Her ideas will keep you sane and enjoying the things you love most.
I used to be someone who is very much a control freak, and recognizing I truly cannot control my life, and it’s so much better when I just release it to Him. So much of our stress comes from us thinking that we can control the people and the things in our life. So when we’re just gripping so tightly to everything and trying to make our plan work, that’s when we feel so much frustration. -- Crystal Paine
About the Guest
- Connect with Crystal Paine at crystalpaine.com and moneysavingmom.com Also listen to other episodes with Crystal.
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Too much to do, not enough time to do it? Crystal Paine, of The Time-Saving Mom, delivers real-world, no-nonsense time management advice.
The Time-Saving Mom: Crystal Paine
Crystal: I used to be someone who is very much a control freak, and recognizing I truly cannot control my life, and it’s so much better when I just release it to Him. So much of our stress comes from us thinking that we can control the people and the things in our life. So when we’re just gripping so tightly to everything and trying to make our plan work, that’s when we feel so much frustration.
Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on the FamilyLife® app.
Ann: This is FamilyLife Today!
Dave: So here’s my question for you: If there’s a class that isn’t taught in high school that should be—don’t look at your notes. I don’t want any pre-thought. I know you know where we’re going today, so you probably have a thought in your head, but what would it be?
Dave: Marriage? And family.
Ann: Like how to have a great relationship, communication, conflict skills.
Dave: Wow. That’s not what I was thinking. [Laughter] I was thinking you would answer based on who we have in the studio with us today, something on time management.
Ann: I would have flunked that class because I’m really bad at that. I think that this is really necessary. I think that would have been a great class in high school, because we all have to somehow manage our time, and it gets really tricky if we’re moms, if we’re juggling a lot of different jobs, activities, all kinds of things. But yes, we have Crystal Paine back in the studio with us today. Crystal, you’ve been on before, but welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Crystal: Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here, and I have two more children since the last time I was here. [Laughter]
Dave: So you really need to manage your time.
Crystal: Went from four to six in one year, you know?
Ann: Four to six. Tell us the ages of your kids.
Crystal: We have 18, 15, almost 14, and then just brand-new-turned 3-year-old, a 2 ½ year old, and 10 months.
Ann: Give our listeners a little inside scoop of what happened. You decided to adopt a little boy.
Crystal: Yes. We were fostering, and we’ve been fostering little David. We fostered him for 22 months before we adopted him, but we said, “Yes” to adopting him right as I was in the middle of writing this book, actually. It kind of came about in a very unexpected way, and then four weeks later found out I was expecting. So I wrote this book on time management in the middle of morning, noon, and night sickness with two toddlers and three teenagers.
Ann: And if you can do it and write a book and apply these principles, then that’s pretty miraculous to me.
Dave: Yes. I remember seeing the title of your last chapter, “The Chapter I Never Expected to Write.” “I wonder what this is,” because I didn’t know, and I thought, “Oh, my goodness!” Talk about time management. But tell our listeners—they know this—but you’re sort of the mother of Facebook®. Didn’t you start Facebook? Aren’t you the one? [Laughter]
Crystal: Yes, me and Mark Zuckerberg, you know. We just kind of go way back. Yes, I’ve been blogging since 2004, 2005, and that was back before people could even imagine social media. We did not have social media. We had blogs, comments, we had email. That’s what we had. It’s crazy; I could never imagine what the internet is like today.
Ann: And then what were you blogging about?
Crystal: I first started blogging just on motherhood and life and all of that, and then quickly found that people were very interested in saving money. My husband was in law school, we were living in this little basement apartment on a beans and rice budget, and we were trying to stay out of debt while he was in law school. So I was learning lots of ways to maximize the mileage of our money and started just kind of mentioning it on this little blog that I had.
People were like, “Tell me more. Wait. How did you do that? How did you buy all of your groceries for $17.00 this week? I need more details.” And so I started sharing more on that, and pretty soon realized there was enough interest that I would start this little side thing in 2007 called Money-Saving Mom, and within a year we were making a full-time income off of that blog.
It just kind of morphed into something far beyond what I could ever dream or imagine. Now it’s our full-time thing that we do. My husband is home full-time. He’s an attorney by trade but is home full-time. That’s what we do, just helping people to save money and then also on Instagram® I’m the Money-Saving Mom, just sharing through my podcast and through Instagram how to live with intention and love your life.
Dave: So you went from—it seems like a big overlap between Money Saving Mom and this book is The Time Saving Mom. Walk us through what that is. Is it taking money principles and applying it to time, or is it much deeper?
Crystal: So definitely it is, and there is a lot of overlap between money and time. Those are the two commodities that a lot of times people feel like they just never have enough of. So I talk in this book about how money and time are correlated, but also how they’re different. But one of the things is if we’re intentional with our money, I’ve talked about budgeting for years and years.
If we have a budget for our money, it feels like the money goes further, and we’re just more careful with how we spend it. And I feel the same is true with time. I talk about my time block to-do list in the book, and how if I budget my time, which is what a time block to-do list is for me, I feel like I have so much more of it. I’m so much calmer, and I’m so much more intentional in how I spend my time.
Ann: Every listener is thinking, “I need that!” The subtitle is How to Juggle a Lot, Enjoy Your Life, and Accomplish What Matters Most.
Dave: Nobody wants to do that.
Ann: I read that subtitle, like “Yes, yes, yes,” but I’m thinking of the listener, because this is me. I’m thinking, “I’m just not good with budgeting my money or my time. Does that mean I’m out? I’m out, like this won’t apply to me, or is it doable?”
Crystal: Well, I think a lot of people when they hear just even the title, The Time Saving Mom, you instantly think, “Oh, this is for people who are really organized or for people who really want to be organized.”
Crystal: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more organized. I think that that’s great, but this isn’t about fitting everyone into a one-size-fits-all sort of plan. This is about being intentional with your life, so that is going to look different for different people, depending upon your temperament, depending upon your life situation, so figuring out what it looks like for you to be intentional with your time.
I think for someone, that’s not necessarily having this super-rigid schedule. For other people it might look like that, but it’s more about wrapping your time and your life and your energy around what’s going to matter at the end of your life.
Dave: So it’s just a wiring, because there’s a part of me that thinks, “I’m just not wired that way.” You’re saying it doesn’t matter how you’re wired; this is something you can intentionally decide to choose to do. Am I putting words in your mouth, or is that true?
Crystal: I think it’s a little bit of both, because I do think we need to have somewhat of a mindset shift. I talk about in the book how if we say, “I’m not this;” like if you tell yourself, “I’m not an organized person;” or “I could never do that;” or “That’s just not who I am;” you’re never going to change. We all want to be growing and changing and learning, but within the confines of how God has created us, so figuring out our wirings and figuring out how we can use those to the glory of God.
One of the things for me was to stop saying, “I’m not this.” For the longest time I just told myself these negative things. Truly it was negative things, that if we just stay stuck in that we’re never going to change. I talk about in the book how feelings follow action, and so act as if you are a more organized person.
That doesn’t mean that you have to become an extremely organized person, but what would an organized person do? Well, let’s act as if. Or what would a person who uses their time well do? Let’s act as if that, and probably some feelings are going to follow action.
Dave: That’s good. That’s really good.
Ann: I think it’s good, too, and especially I feel like you have even more credibility, because those with teenagers, their life is crazy on the go. Like they’re at every event, they have so many activities, they’re driving, you’re going to all these school things, sports. But then you also have these littles in your home, where they’re napping, you’re nursing, you’ve got whole different lives going on underneath one roof. So did you feel like you needed these principles more than ever?
Crystal: Yes. In “The Chapter That I Never Expected to Write,” I talk about how I actually walked out these principles in that season where there was a lot of overwhelm and a lot of unexpected. Yes, our life—everyday it’s like I’m straddling college visits and ACTs and nursing and potty-training and ABCs, and everything in between. [Laughter]
Sometimes it’s like this emotional whiplash, but it’s wonderful. I feel like our perspective changes so much, so choosing for me to say, “This is a gift. This life is a gift, and every day I get to show up to my life instead of letting life happen to me.” It changes how I live my life.
Ann: How did you come about that attitude? Because I remember as a young mom, I thought, “I have no life.” I would say that. “I have no life anymore.”
Dave: I heard her say that a few times.
Ann: “I don’t even know who I am,” but you’re taking a whole different side, “Oh, look at this gift that I’m living.” How did that come about?
Crystal: I think for me, ten years of secondary infertility and then having little ones again, I see the scribbling on the wall, the pee on the floor, all of that I see like, “This is evidence of this gift in my home.” The laundry piles, that’s evidence of the life that’s happening. So I really feel like having teenagers but also toddlers gives you this different perspective because you know those little years, they do not last long.
They feel like, when you’re in the thick of it, it’s a lot, and they’re never going to learn how to potty train, they’re never going to be able to unbuckle themselves out of their car seats, but then you look at your older ones and think, “It was just a few years and then it was over.” So recognizing this season of life that I’m in is a gift, and so waking up every day and choosing gratitude and looking for the good. So I try to go throughout my day, and when something unexpected happens, “What’s the good in this?”
Ann: As you say that, I’m thinking of your four-step system.
Dave: I want to ask something before we go there—
Dave: —because you mentioned something, and I thought “I want to hear your journey.” You have teens and toddlers, you said there’s a ten-year infertility gap. What was that struggle like?
Crystal: We always wanted to have a large family. My husband and I both come from large families, and always pictured that we would have a large family. We actually never used any kind of birth control. We had three children and we thought, “Oh, we’re going to probably have eight or ten or twelve,” and then didn’t get pregnant.
For the first few years we’re in the thick of raising these three little ones, and then all of a sudden they’re getting older and they start saying, “When are we going to have another brother or sister?” Other people are getting pregnant, and we’re not. About eight years into the journey we looked at each other one day and said, “The clock is ticking and if we really want to have more kids, what are we going to do about this?”
So we ended up going and getting all the testing and doing all the stuff, and we found out that through the six months of all the testing that they did, at the end they said we weren’t even candidates for IVF. So it was just this real gut punch because we had kind of pictured, “Well, you go to the fertility doctors and they’re going to help you and you’re going to have more kids.”
Ann: Did you go through a real grieving process?
Crystal: It was a real grieving process, and the interesting thing is, I have this Instagram live that I did this video in that, where I talked about how I had pictured that I was going to have a boy and a girl, and I had just pictured our family wasn’t complete, and we were going to have this boy and this girl. So then it’s weird to say this, but it was like I had to grieve the loss of that.
Dave: Even the dream, yes.
Crystal: Yes, this dream and what I thought my life was going to be. But then, once going through that grieving process, realizing “I have three children. I can spend the rest of my life grieving what I don’t have, or being grateful for what I do have,” so just really focusing on the gift, again, of these three children, and “What is God going to allow me to do that I wouldn’t be able to do if I had eight children?”
So we were able to travel and be involved in ministries overseas, and then we started getting involved in foster care locally. Through that, God just opened up our eyes to the need right in our neighborhood of these children who didn’t have a place to stay. They were sleeping on couches in the DTS office because there weren’t families to take them in. And so we started praying and just really feeling like God was calling us to foster.
So we said, “Yes,” we started on that very long process of all the classes and the paperwork and getting our home ready. The last week of the walk-through for our foster care home study, I was feeling like something was really off, and I was very on edge and just frustrated with my family. I realized I was two weeks late, and I said to my husband, “I think I’m going through early menopause.” He said, “Well, maybe we should call the OB and see if you can get in for testing.”
The thought never crossed my mind that it was anything other than early menopause. So he was going to call the OB, but then he said, “You know, if I call the OB they’re going to ask if you took a pregnancy test.” He said, “I’m going to go to Walgreens. I’m going to get a pregnancy test. I’ll bring it back, you’ll take it, and then we can call them.” So we did, and it was one of those digital ones, which I hadn’t taken because it had been a long time since I had taken a pregnancy test. [Laughter]
So it popped up right away and it said, “Pregnant.” I kept waiting for the “not” to come up. I thought, “Surely the ‘not’ is going to pop up to say, ‘not pregnant.’” I waited three minutes and it didn’t, so then we looked at each other like, “What on earth? I guess we’re doing this.”
Crystal: So that was a long answer to your question. We just can see God’s faithfulness, and then that He ended up not only because of secondary infertility, us pursuing foster care, which we got two fosters: a sweet little boy from the NICU for eight and a half months, and then to see him reunify with his mom. But then also our little David. I look at the picture of our family now, and how God has given us that girl and that boy that I never envisioned that we were going to have. But also this extra bonus boy, who has brought so much joy to our home, who wouldn’t be in that picture if it were not for the ten years of secondary infertility. So God writes the best stories.
Ann: So many times don’t you think that we have this plan of how God should do it, or “This is what I’m thinking, this is what I’ve dreamed about,” and it doesn’t happen the way we want, and yet God’s plan, when we walk it and trust Him, is sometimes even more beautiful than we could even imagine.
Crystal: For sure.
Ann: Even when it’s hard, He still has some great things in the hardness that He’s teaching us.
I asked about your four-step system, because the first one is to pray, to have that attitude of gratitude, of seeing God in it. I’m thinking it probably started there, even with your walk with God. As you’re talking about it, I’m thinking of Romans. “Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Has God transformed you in that way to see the good and the beauty?
Crystal: Yes. I really feel like the last few years with all of the unknowns of foster care and adopting and having a child with special needs, and then also teenagers and biological children, there is so much of my control that He’s taken from me. I used to be someone who’s very much a control freak, and recognizing I truly cannot control my life. It’s so much better when I just release it to Him.
So much of our stress comes from us thinking that we can control the people and the things in our life, and so when we’re just gripping so tightly to everything and trying to make our plan work, that’s when we feel so much frustration. So this four-step system, the first step being prayer, that posture of our hearts of releasing to the Lord and saying, “God, I’m not enough in and of my own strength, but in Christ I can do all things.”
So I talk about what it looks like to live my day out of that posture of every single day just leaning on the Lord, relying upon Him, starting my day with prayer, praying over all the details of my day, giving it to God. On those mornings when I didn’t get much sleep the night before, on those days when I need to have a hard conversation with a teenager, or there’s something that I just can’t do it in my own strength—it feels like it’s too much, crying out to the Lord, asking Him for His help, asking Him to multiply my time, multiply my energy, multiply my capacity.
He is so faithful. He is the God Who multiplies. He can take my little bit of energy—sometimes I feel it’s like my little crumbs that I offer up to Him, and He multiplies it to be enough, and He’s just so faithful. So really starting from that posture changes everything.
Ann: Well where do you find the time to do that?
Dave: That’s my question. Are you up at four or five in the morning?
Crystal: I think so often people think of prayer as like it needs to happen on your knees thirty minutes of quiet. I can’t think of the last time that has happened in my life. [Laughter] Just this past week I was working out. A lot of times I pray while I’m working out, so either walking on the treadmill, lifting weights, something like that.
I had three children all around me. One was pulling on my leg; one was wanting to be picked up. The other one was playing right next, and there was a lot of commotion, but I could still quiet my heart in the midst of that and I was just praying over my day, praying for my teenagers, praying for what was coming that day.
So prayer is not necessarily something that has to happen in quiet. That’s wonderful if you have that space in your life, but don’t discount the power of what I call flare prayers, where you just are shooting up a prayer to God. Just yesterday one of my teens was just walking through something hard, and I called them down because we needed to have a conversation, and right before they walked in the door to my bedroom I just shot up a prayer.
“God, I don’t even know how to have this conversation. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to say. I just know that I need to talk to them and they’re struggling. Give me the words.” And He did. He's just always so faithful. So often I feel like we discount His power. We forget. It’s like we make prayer our last resort instead of our first response. I feel like so often we are then missing out on so much blessing.
We have God’s Spirit in us. We are supercharged, superhumans with superpowers, because we have His Spirit in us, but yet we just walk around like it all depends on us, and we have to white-knuckle our way through life feeling all frustrated.
Dave: Flare prayer. We’re going to steal that. [Laughter] Seriously, as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking, “If you’re picking up a book that says Time Saving Mom, or any kind of book that says, “I’m going to help you manage your time,” I don’t think you expect prayer to be step one, which is so beautiful to think, “Wow. Wait, wait, wait. No, prayer is something I do at the end, or if I can’t manage my life I’ll go to God.” You’re saying, “Start there.”
When you were talking earlier about your life, I thought of so many moms thinking, “That’s me. I’m on the treadmill, or I’m in the kitchen and there are kids here and there, diapers, poop, pee, food needs to be done.” Their life is out of control. So I thought, “One of you moms should pray.”
Ann: You should, Crystal.
Dave: For that mom. Would you be willing to do that?
Ann: You’ve given us a gift even today, which is look at the people and the things going on in your life that you can be grateful for.
Dave: I was convicted when you said you walk in the bathroom and there’s toilet paper shredded everywhere, I’m like, “You’re grateful! That’s a perspective that we don’t have.” And that leads to joy. Gratitude leads to joy. So yes, who’s going to pray?
Ann: Crystal, go ahead.
Crystal: Dear Heavenly Father, I just think of the woman who is listening right now, who is feeling so overwhelmed by her life, and she just feels like she’s in this deep, dark hole and there’s so much on her shoulders, and she just can’t carry it anymore. She doesn’t want to go on; she’s lost her joy; she’s lost her zest for life. I just pray right now that you would just scoop her up, and that You would help her to feel so carried by you that she could just have the courage to say, “God, help me.”
And that You would show up in miraculous ways on her behalf, and that she could just start leaning on You instead of feeling like life is all-dependent upon her, but that she could put her dependence upon You, and that she could see You show up and be great and mighty on her behalf—that You would do exceeding abundantly above all that she could ever ask or think, and that she could only attribute it to Your power and Your goodness.
And God, I just thank you for the women that You’re going to free up from having to carry the burdens of life because they can cast those burdens on You, and You are going to carry them and be faithful. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Shelby: I was just talking to a mom of a toddler and a newborn. She just had a baby but she also has an almost two-year-old, and she feels like she’s drowning. She said she has no time for anything other than carrying the burdens of her kids. I thought about her as I listened to Crystal talk. I love that Crystal gave us a reminder to cast our burdens on Jesus. His burden is light, and if you’re a mom, you can experience that lightness in Christ, too, when seasons of being overwhelmed can feel just absolutely crushing.
I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Crystal Paine on FamilyLife Today. Crystal has written a very important book for any moms out there who just don’t know how to manage their schedule or need some help or are great at it and want some additional tips. She’s written a book called The Time Saving Mom: How to Juggle a Lot, Enjoy Your Life, and Accomplish What Matters Most. You can pick up a copy of Crystal’s book at FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329.
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Now coming up tomorrow Dave and Ann Wilson are back again with Crystal Paine. She’s going to go through a number of steps with us, but one of them is going to be creating a simple morning routine and planning for intentional time management. I can definitely use that. That’s coming up tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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