Monday, April 12, 2010

Juggling Fail...

Lately I've been feeling...scattered. I've got way too many balls in there air. 

Something always falls.

Being a wife...a daughter...a friend. Work. The house. My pets. The bills. 


Sometimes I keep them all up in the air for a short period of time, albeit sloppily, but something always falls. It's inevitable. When it does I can't help but feel like a failure, yet totally unsurprised. 

I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror the other day and it wasn't a pretty sight, smudged mascara, frizzy hair, thrown together outfit, a body that is desperately in need of a good run (or ten). I used to care, I used to like stylish clothes and sleek, straight hair. Coordinating scarves and cute earrings. 

I used to laugh with my husband late at night. Confide in my mother. I used to see my friends once. Snuggle my pets. The bills, well, let's be honest, they've always sucked. 

My back, my legs, my neck and my head ache I'm so tired--and from the stress. My brain is a fog from working early in the morning and then logging on from home at night, trying to keep my head above water at the job. 

I'm good at the mom thing, I know this, but I can't help feel the failure creep in when I've been dying to see Lucy all day and then I can't help but be just a tiny bit relieved at night when she goes to sleep because I'm just so damn tired. I put on the fun face while she's awake, play on the floor, splash her while she's in the bath, read her just one more story. No matter how tired I won't drop that ball. But that time at night, when she's sleepy and snugly and we just sit in the rocking chair. It's like exhaling after holding your breath for a long time. Breaking the surface after being underwater.

Yes, the dishes are waiting. There are diapers to be washed. Work is still waiting for me to log back on. My mother is waiting for a call. My friends are wondering where I went when I dropped off the face of the earth. My clothes are sitting in an un-ironed pile at the end of the bed.

But at least I have that time at the end of the day, with a snugly, sweet baby, to let me know its worth it. Even if I'm dropping balls like crazy everywhere else.

How do you do it?

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends, and spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life."
-Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises


Solar Powered said...

Could you have said this more perfectly? Rather than post my own...can I just link to you? I think you might have been in my brain today!

Beverley said...

LOL! Go for it ;) and then go put your feet up girl, you deserve it.

Shahrzad Baber said...

I feel the Same way it's so hard I went and picked up my little boy and rocked him I missed him so much, you are a great mama!!

Michelle said...

You don't. You can't. I think this is where the feminist movement has failed us. Yes, we can have children. Yes, we can have a career. However, we are trying to do twice the work that our mothers and grandmothers did with the same 24 hours in each day.

You pick your priorities, and you have Lucy, and everything else has to be allowed to bounce sometimes. Above all you must be kind to yourself even when you don't meet the impossibly high standards society has set for us.

Meg said...

How do I do it? The same way you do. My laundry sits. My dishes pile. A thank you note sits unwritten for one more day. I did take a needed nap with my own little snuggler and played ponies in the midst of a front room full of dress-ups.
Gosh, Bev, I don't even have a full-time job. I guess, in the end, I will have to counter with:
How do YOU do it.
You are doing great.
A great, wise friend once told me concerning young children:
"Hands full now, hearts full forever."
I think it is a good mantra for any mother just trying to do right by her kids.

Rebecca said...

I agree with's nearly impossible, but you're doing a great job with your daughter...she knows it, you know it.

Everything else can wait.

There was an email that went around a few years ago about balls in the air and that they all bounce except for the one glass one...that's your family. You're doing what's right by your daughter...everyone else will understand.

Anonymous said...

...and there is nothing more important than her. I tend to feel the same way sometimes. You are not alone.

stephanie said...

OMG. I could have written this myself. EVERY WORD. And ditto Michelle. I feel like, and this is just ME, but that there is no way I can give 100% to being Olivia's mom and still give 100% to work. And the house. OH YEAH, and my HUSBAND. It's so overwhelming.

I was thinking that I'm going to cut my (curly) hair shorter because I just don't have the time (or want to spend the time) straightening it anymore -- and I can't go on looking like a banshee. I look horrible. There is NO time for me.

Sorry. Novel. Just wanted to say SING IT, SISTA. You are not alone.

CurlyQ said...

You must have read my mind. I have been feeling this way too. I feel like I am not present in whatever I do and just pieces of me are out there trying to get things done. I have no advice but knowing I am not the only one who feels this way helps, I hope it helps you too Bev.

Anonymous said...

Since when is straight hair or a matching scarf the mark of success? ;) Try taking a few steps back to look at the BIG picture. I think you will see that you ARE thriving.

I am also a working mother to a year-old baby, with a demanding career, family, and friends. I truly don't have a solution per se, but here are a few things that help me:

1. I redefine "productive." Everything takes longer to complete now--at work and at home--and I'm slowly getting used to this new pace.

2. We get together with our friends once a month for dinner. We do it potluck style, and we get together at 4:30 so the two little ones in the group can join in on the fun. We feel like we're well connected with our friends, but one evening a month doesn't overwhelm us. It's a standing date, so very little planning is needed and it's free!

3. I look to the other mothers in my office for support. I find that my friends tend to live on a different planet than I do when it comes to work, so if I go to them for support or advice, I just end up feeling sorry for myself about my high-pressure job. BUT, if I go to the women in my same work environment just to talk about our kids or ask how they handled a certain behavior or ask what they're making for dinner that night, I feel a sense of community.

4. Have you ever read "Working Mother" magazine? Do so! It's fabulous!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

I LOVE this quote!

preciosamama said...

It's about finding your own groove and not feeling like a failure when you loose it once in a while. All great mothers, daughters, sisters... loose it. The part that makes you the best is when you can shake it off and pick up from where you left. Juggling is no easy task. I am a mother of a 3 year old girl, run a childcare in my home with children 2 months to 6 years of age, cleaning and cooking and laundering. My husband works 2 full-time jobs and we do not see him enough, but I know that we have found a groove and it works for now. There will be a time for adjustment and that never makes you a bad mother. Keep your chin up. Relax once in a while, those chores will still be there, and take care of yourself for a bit. There are plenty of other people out there feeling just as you do. Connect, share and support.

Sarah H. said...

I suppose this is what being a woman is all about. I love the quote!

julie said...

Hi Bev, I've followed you forever but hardly ever comment! I, too, am a full-time working mom. I have a 20-month old son who is my angel, and I would give ANYTHING to spend just 1/2 hour more with him each day.
But for now, I can't. Its just not possible. Instead, I keep my eyes on the 'prize' - the years ahead when we have more wonderful children who need their mama home after school or rides to practice. We're saving now so that I CAN be there later, when my kids will remember, and when they'll need specifically me. Right now, my son gets wonderful love and attention at his daycare while he plays with other kids and learns new things. Our time together is so special because we aren't together all day. And I know that my working NOW is 'paying' for later. For college educations, family vacations, weddings, downpayment on a home. For me to be able to be THERE for him, and hopefully a few siblings :)

So, most days, while I'm eating my lunch, I read 'mom' stuff - projects I want to do with him, mommy-blogs, family vacation/ritual ideas. On my toughest days, I fantasize. I imagine school-day afternoons eating a snack together when he gets home. I imagine being there for every soccer practice, every science fair, every homework question. I imagine being able to give all of my children the gift of a mostly-paid-for college education, or a monetary gift to plan a beautiful wedding or go on a romantic honeymoon or buy their first home. Just because I am not WITH my baby all day long doesn't mean every single second of my time away isn't about him. And this right now, this circumstance? It is not forever. It is right now. It has purpose. Valuable purpose.
Take a mental health day for yourself and reset your spirit. You are doing your best, and you're doing a fantastic job.

Even the BEST jugglers drop balls occasionally, right?

Simona said...

You put in words the very feelings of all the mothers on earth I think... And we all try and we all have the same feeling of failure... I guess this really means to be a MOTHER.
Excellent post! And I love the quote!

Miss Amelia Jane. said...

Following everyone else, you said it perfectly. Last weekend I put on jeans (so rare for me anymore between my works clothes, and the "comfy" clothes I promptly change into when I get home) and a NON grey shirt. I thought DH was going to tackle me on the spot. He even commented "No grey shirt!" But I would rather have Amelia come before me any day :)

Anonymous said...

How do I do it? I don't. I get the very basic and very necessary things done and let the rest go. So there are dishes in the sink and laundry that needs doing.

A year ago I would not have been able to go to bed knowing there were chores undone in the house. Then, I ran myself ragged when my daughter was a tiny newborn, trying to keep the house spotless, laundry done, cooked meals on the table, support my husband from the home front while he works his ass off for us. Later, as I was going to school and taking on a home business opportunity I realized that something's gotta give.

I got tired. I couldn't do it all. And I finally realized that it was okay not to be able to do it all.

You know what? Our babies are only going to be babies for a short time. We need to enjoy them as much as possible in this precious stage. All too soon they will be in school, making friendships and going off to do their own thing.

There will be time again to have a spotless house and all the chores done before bed everyday. Until then, I'm going to enjoy every moment I have with my daughter and the rest can wait.

Michelle said...

I would suggest that you go back to a normal work schedule. Getting up so early, working a full day and then playing with your daughter before bed would exhaust anyone. I have two kids (4 and 18 months). We spend about 1.5 hours with them (breakfast, getting dressed, messing around) in the morning and I get 1.5 hours with my 18 month old at night. But I have plenty of time on the weekend. Lucy is important but you need time for yourself.

I agree with Julie!

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