I’ve been accused of trying to juggle too much at a time. And in all honesty, I probably do.
I don’t think it’s all that uncommon for parents these days to have a lot on their plates. While I can’t speak for what it’s like to be a dad, I can say that as a mom I feel a lot of pressure to “do it all” and be the perfect mom.
You know what I’m talking about—the mom that packs healthy, well-balanced, preservative-free lunches in bento boxes with sandwiches cut into the shape of their child’s favorite dinosaur and a note tucked in to remind their children that they are loved and can accomplish anything they might set their minds to… The mom that balances a successful career as a non-descript professional who gladly puts in as much overtime as current projects might require and still has time to see all of their kids’ fencing matches… And even the mom who nurtures their children’s curiosity and creativity through a variety of activities like nature hikes, messy art activities and spontaneous kitchen dance parties all while maintaining a perfectly spotless showpiece of a house…
You know—the mom that only exists in magazines and on Pinterest. That’s right—the moms who created the standard that we’re supposed to hold ourselves to but who themselves are only as real as unicorns? (Okay in fairness, I feel like the possibility of a unicorn existing is FAR greater than the possibility of one of these moms existing…)
You’ll have to excuse me for feeling like I need to do everything and trying (even without success) to do just that. I’m fairly certain it’s what I’ve been programmed for despite the fact that it’s impossible. So yeah—I do have a lot of balls in the air.
Obviously some balls are bigger than others (and yes—I’m totally giggling over that). Nolan and Kirk, for example, are huge ones. They take a lot of time and energy, but you bet your ass I want to keep them up and moving. Then of course there’s work, and that has to be in the mix or we couldn’t afford any balls to juggle in the first place.
Then there are other balls that I may not exactly enjoy (seriously why did I pick this analogy… I swear I’m not 12, but you’d never know it to hear me giggle as I type this) but are totally necessary. Things like cooking/ feeding the family, errands like grocery shopping and picking up other essentials, endless paperwork—you know the list… All of those are balls that I also need to keep in the air. And self care? While that’s clearly a ball that I drop regularly, it’s still one that helps me be a better juggler so I can’t just ignore it all together.
One of my favorite kinds of balls? Furballs-- even when they interfere with other balls...
Plus, I have a hard time seeing an unjuggled ball. Maybe you understand what I’m getting at here… There’s a thing that needs to be done or should be done or even could be done and would make your life better… And even if your hands seem full, you know you can probably squeeze one or two more in if you just adjust your rhythm a little bit. Sometimes that will require a little help from someone to get you started (it’s hard to pick up a dropped ball from the floor, but if someone picks it up and tosses it to you just right it can be a seamless transition), but other times that ball just kind of stares at you until you feel too guilty about it just sitting there that you just have to add it to the mix…
So I do try to keep a lot of balls in the air—but that doesn’t mean I never drop any. I can’t tell you how many hobbies I’ve loved that’ve fallen by the wayside over the years (Kirk has probably kept a running list if you need one, though…) Or how many times I’ve decided to try to learn a new thing in an attempt to put us in a better situation (more career possibilities or lifestyle changes or healthier habits or countless other things) that just never quite made it into the flow of things. Heck, even this blog gets a little out of rhythm from time to time…
But when we do drop a piece or two—or even when all of the pieces seem to crash down at once—we do what we have to. We stop if we need to. We take a deep breath. We refocus on what we’re doing and what really matters. And when we’re ready, we take another step and the ball (or balls) find their way back into the rhythm.
And admittedly, the rhythm we find with our own balls may not be quite as exciting as those displayed by our fictional Pinterest mom’s middle child in their percussion recital, they’re still enough to keep us moving forward—even if it is just one ball at a time.
P.S. "That's what she said."