Tea Time with Annie Kate Rotating Header Image

Review: The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner

the fringe hours

We homeschooling moms are busy.  Often too busy.  Our families sometimes suffer, and so do we.  Now, when God calls us to be super busy, that is fine;  life has such seasons and, as Tricia Goyer pointed out in her book Balanced, when we realize we can’t manage on our own we are more aware of our dependence on God.

But there are other times in our lives when we deliberately choose to be crazy busy, shortchanging our families and our health.  We have no time to breathe, to rest, to be refreshed, to spend with God and our loved ones, or to develop our unique talents.

Jessica Turner, mom of three little ones, full time marketing professional, and big name blogger is every bit as busy, yet she finds time to scrap book, sew, hang out with friends, and do all sorts of things that she loves.

This book answers two questions:  why she does it, and how she does it.

The first part of the book addresses the ‘why’ question.  Jessica defends the importance of ‘me time’ by saying that we moms deserve it.  On the surface that is, of course, not Biblical.  However, what she calls ‘me time’—time reserved for worship, relationships, health, and developing our unique skills and passions—should certainly be part of every Christian’s life, not because we deserve it but because it is part of the way we serve God.   In this section Jessica raises many valuable and practical points.

The second part shows how women can find such time.  Unfortunately, many women seem unable to do so, and Jessica identifies three main reasons.

  • First of all, we feel pressured to be all things to all people, and to be perfect.  Although many of these pressures come from media and social media, not from any valid source, they can rule and ruin our lives.
  • Secondly, we squander the little bits of time we do have; believe it or not, most of us can find an hour or two a day without cutting out anything important.  Jessica gives practical encouragement to taking back those fringe ours, ‘those little pockets of time you already have in your day’ to make time for self-care and our passions.  What couldn’t you do with an hour a day—that’s 30 hours a month—even if it is broken up into 20 minute segments?
  • Thirdly, we have not figured out ways to overcome the obstacles that face us, like disorganization, interruptions, and self-imposed duties.

Now, as a homeschooling mom who spends a fair bit of time blogging, reviewing, gardening, and reading, I understand Jessica’s methods and have used similar ones for years. They work extremely well.

I especially like the point she makes about multitasking, which I have also discovered over the years:  despite the hype both ways, some kinds of multitasking do work, and others do not; we just have to be savvy and figure out which is which.

Even so, many of Jessica’s ideas are foreign to me.  She encourages moms to hire help to carve out more fringe hours.  She says baby necessities include formula and daycare.  She talks about Sabbath rest but works on Sunday.  These ideas do not detract from her valuable message, though.

If you currently cannot find any time to care for yourself and to develop your unique talents in God’s world, The Fringe Hours will give you new hope and more time.  It contains many stories, lists, and blank spaces for your own discoveries and is eminently practical.

Because managing my God-given time wisely is very important to me, I have written several other reviews on the topic:

Crazy Busy by Kevin De Young (the spiritual issues involved in letting ourselves become too busy)

The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good by Greer and Haggard (for those who find themselves much too busy doing good works)

Balanced by Tricia Goyer (always pointing us back to God, but also intensely practical)

Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews (streamlined, short, and 100% practical)

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine (inspiring as well as hands-on)

168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam (enthusiasm about maximizing the 168 hours we are given each week)

This is yet another book in the in the 2015 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook

For more encouragement, visit Raising Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Mom to Mom Monday, Monday’s Musings, Missional WeekendR&R Wednesdays, From House to Home, Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Mondays, Faith Filled Fridays.

DisclosureThis book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


  1. Tami says:

    Just what i needed! I am a full-time working mom with a two year old with the hopes of building my work at home clientele so that I can homeschool my son when the time comes.

    I hope to see more of your posts at Literacy Musing Mondays.

  2. Heather says:

    I requested this book a few weeks ago from the library, but it was more out of curiosity than need, because I do very similar activities to you already, gardening, blogging, reading, etc.
    Thanks for reviewing it.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Hi Tami, I’m so glad this book will meet a need for you. May God bless your efforts to be able to work from home and spend more time with your little one.

      You’re welcome, Heather. If you do all these activities already, you are probably already using your fringe hours wisely. 🙂

  3. I have this on my Kindle and can’t wait to start reading it!!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *