Book Review Tuesday: “The Fringe Hours” by Jessica Turner AND a GIVEAWAY!!

There are a lot of blogs that are written by and for young moms. A LOT. But a few of those rise to the top of the popularity heap, for a variety of reasons. Jessica Turner’s blog, “The Creative Mom,” is consistently at the tippy-top of that heap.

For good reason.

Jessica is lovely in every way I can think of and she manages to do a whole lot of livin’ within a tightly constricted lifestyle – constricted in the most joyful and meaningful of ways (she is raising three tiny children with her husband, Matthew Paul Turner, and she works full time at a job she loves and is good at) – but constricted nonetheless.

When I was a young mom . . . back in the days of covered wagons and ornery cattle . . . I would have deeply appreciated this book, these words. I never had a paying job outside my home until my kids were raised and gone, but I had three babies in four years, was an active volunteer at our church and in the broader community, tried to have a healthy marriage and was layered with local family commitments on all sides. The beautiful little book she has written would have found a most welcome place in my life back then and I highly recommend it to anyone with young children. It’s called The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.

I know what she means when she writes about finding ‘fringe hours’ to spend on ourselves, making and taking time to honor the person God has created and gifted each one of us to be before we are friend, wife, mom, daughter, sister. There is a whole, complete person inside every mom who needs tending from time to time. But too often, women in general — and women who are moms in particular — put themselves at the very bottom of the list, most often trailing off into the dust, never to be seen or acknowledged again until all the kids are out of the house.

And that is not right. Nor is it healthy – for anybody in our homes. The old saying about giving as good as you get can be applied in all kinds of ways, and one of the truest is the one that Jessica writes about in the pages of this encouraging book. Unless moms figure out ways to give to themselves, they will have very little left to give to anyone else.

This little blue book is full of helpful hints and good reasons why finding those fringe hours is so important. Jessica surveyed a couple of thousand other mothers and weaves her findings throughout these chapters. (She also details those findings at the end of the story and those are fun to read through!)

And she looks squarely at some of the biggest obstacles to doing fringe hours well: guilt, procrastination, self-imposed expectations, comparison and stubbornness. That last one involves the willingness to admit when help is needed and the wisdom and humility to ask for it, something that seems to be exceedingly difficult for most women I know.

She also encourages moms to build and maintain community as an effective means of finding ways to delight and encourage ourselves. Sometimes the very best medicine for a tired mommy is a coffee date with a good girlfriend. And then again, sometimes it’s doing something we love when the house is quiet. Jessica finds those hours in the early morning — I found them late at night. Whatever works, DO IT. 

This book is written for a very specific audience — mothers of young children — so it doesn’t directly apply to me at the stage of life I am currently enjoying. Nonetheless, this is a book I would happily give to every young mother I know. In fact,  I HAVE A COPY TO GIVE AWAY THIS WEEK!!

SO, leave me a comment and let me know if you’d like to be entered in the drawing and I’ll pick a winner and announce it one week from today.

Please hurry on over to your favorite bookseller and order a copy for yourself or a good friend. This one’s a keeper. 


I received an advance copy of this book to read early, but no other compensation for this review.


Get a personal letter from Diana twice a month

Sign up for *More Wondering. . . * a monthly personal letter from Diana to you, available only to email subscribers. As thanks, receive a copy of Diana's new ebook,30 Ways of Aging Gracefully.

powered by TinyLetter

To receive blog posts in your inbox, sign up below.


  1. My “baby” is thirteen, so there’s no need to enter me in the drawing, but I’m encouraged by your review to continue thinking about my use of those fringe hours.

  2. oh, my, yes….the young moms of today are so very wise. This post today is an excellent platform for me to applaud those busy mothers who make time to write, blog, and share. As I trudge along in my (extremely) old-lady caregiver-to-two shoes, I glean invaluable help, hints, encouragement, spiritual strength, and amazing how-to ideas from delightful youngsters. : ). It stuns me to realize that my caregiving life today, at 78 years old, is repeating my life as a 35 year old mom.
    Believe me, young mothers, making time for yourself and asking for help is mandatory. Learn it now. The future often gives repeat opportunities for special callings.
    Thank you, Diana, for celebrating young mothers.

    • And thank you, Liz, for giving such strong testimony to the truth that self-care is an essential ingredient in caring for others. Blessings on you as give care to those you love.

  3. cheryl crabtree says

    My granddaughter has 3 young children in just 4 years. She could use this book!!!


    • You better believe she can — I, too, had three kids in 4 years and I remember well how frazzled and tired I was so much of the time. I’ll put your name in the draw on behalf of your granddaughter.

  4. Enter me! My heart and my time are torn these days in many directions. And that’s on the days I have a little control. Other days (like snow days, sick days, emergency days) I find myself still in a repeated cycle of “letting go.” Does that ever change?
    The other week we sent the kids to a friend’s house because we were just so very worn out – the hardest for me is not having family to help and the fact that so many of our closest friends are in the same boat – young children. Thanks for sharing this, Diana. And someday you need to post a picture of you in your covered wagon 😉

    • Sorry about the picture – you do know that covered wagons predate cameras, right?? Smile. And yes, it does change. Some. But you will always feel torn when you have kids! The degree of torn-ness shifts with time, however, so hang one, Kelly! It will get better by-and-by. (or is it bye-and-bye?) Your name goes in the hat!

  5. Oooh…I’d love to read this book. Please include me in the drawing. Reading your description of what Jessica addresses really struck a cord with me. I think I’ve experienced guilt, procrastination, utterly self-imposed expectations all within this week 🙂 I have longed for community here and am thankful for the sweet moments I get with a few other moms.

    • Oh, Katie, I’m sure that community is harder to come by for you and deeply cherished when it happens. I’m happy to enter you into the drawing, friend.

  6. Please enter me! Thanks for offering this. I put this book on my wishlist as soon as I saw it. I could so use it. I’m a strong introvert so my biggest mama challenge is finding time for myself!

  7. I’m not a mom yet, but but I love this idea of fringe hours and making time to care for ourselves. That’s definitely something I need to work on. I’d love to read this book!

  8. Enter me, please! I’ve been hearing so much of this book- would love a copy!

  9. Happy to include you in the drawing, Grace!

  10. Please enter me into the drawing; I’m sooooo curious about this book! I want to pursue my passions but don’t know how to love my kids and husband well, and run my household and take time for a little fine. Help!

  11. Jennifer Rice says

    Enter me! I need to make better use of my fringe hours….I love my husband and my kids but I feel I am losing my own creativity as a woman.

  12. Yes, I’d like to be entered in the draw, Diana. Not that I have a single wee one around any more, but I have children who do, and grandchildren who do, and it sounds like the kind of book I need to be able to pass along to them. They strive to be good parents but their lives are so full, and I remember too well how hard it was to justify time for myself, or to carve out any. 🙂

  13. I’d love to be entered…having 3 boys five and under, teaching full time, and having a perfectionistic personality is a great recipe for the GUILT of which Jessica speaks.

  14. Beth Burleson says

    I’d love the chance to win a copy of this book! I’m not a mom yet but hope to be some day. So I’d love to read it and also share with my SIL who is a young mom with 1 1/2 year old twins!! 🙂

  15. This book has been on my “to read” list, so I would love to win! I love Jessica’s blog as well!

  16. I would love to be entered! I’m a stay at home and have 3 boys! Wish this book was out a few years ago! 🙂

  17. This book looks fantastic… Vey helpful for busy moms. I would love to win a copy. 🙂

  18. Wow Diana! I am new to your site this morning and very excited about reading through your posts. I am excited about a chance to win a copy of “The Fringe Hours”. I am a mother of three young children and can use all the advice I can get. 😉 What a great idea. Thank you.

  19. I would LOVE to read this book!!

  20. Enter me please. I hope that you are resting and healing and feeling better.

    • I did, Jessica – but someone else one this one. I am slowly feeling better, but it’s been really tough. I look like a panda, with huge oblong purple rings around both my eyes!

  21. Jenni Williams says

    Please enter me! I would love to read this book! Your review is great. As a mom of 3 young ones, I can use all the help I can to take care of me!

  22. Please enter me!! I am a WAHM of almost 5 year old twin girls. I run myself ragged trying to get housework, my job work, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, etc, etc, etc!! I would love to read this book!! Thanks!

  23. as a momma to be, I’d love to be entered in this giveaway! thank you!

  24. This book sounds wonderful. This subject has been on my mind as I juggle my time with my young family & everything it entails. I’m always looking for tips & ideas how to carve out time for myself.

  25. I would love to read this book! As a single mommy I know I need to learn to take time for myself… Thanks!

  26. I would love to read this book!!! As a mother to a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 3 month old, this book speaks to me!! 🙂

  27. Thanks to each of you has entered this drawing over the last week – we had 23 entrants, a mix of not-yet-moms, soon-to-be-moms, already-very-busy-moms, and grandmothers-looking-to-help-granddaughters-who-are-young-moms. The drawing is now closed and the winner is — Ta Da!! — CAROL J. GARVIN, a longtime reader here and a wonderful grandmother wanting to help our her girl. Congratulations, Carol. I’ll FB message you and get your snail mail address. Your book will be on its way. (I’ll also write a separate post with all of this info, but I wanted to say thank you to each reader/commenter here, first!

  28. Would live to have a copy of this book as I’m finding there is very little for me right now as a mom of a 3,2 and 7mos old.

  29. I’d love to win a copy!

  30. I would love the opportunity to win Jess’ book. I have been following her for several years now.