The problem when you juggle too much is your bound to drop something.
And lately, I feel like I’ve been dropping things.
Friendships that I wish I could invest more in, writing that gets drafted in my head but never typed on the screen, boxes of stuff that are (yes, still!) not put away from our move, photo projects and gifts that I want to make but haven’t even started and time that could be used to exercise or cook better meals is spent holding my sweet sleeping baby who still hasn’t learned how to nap in her crib.
Because of our work and ministry, Gerber’s usually gone at least a week a month. I work outside the home part time and try to work from home the other half. Some days it goes better than others. We have a sitter stay with Elena in the mornings. Afternoons I’m usually home and we juggle our evenings depending who has to go with one of the groups. But stuff gets dropped. Our time together becomes a little more scattered, a lot more focussed on what’s happening tomorrow then on how we’re actually doing. Our text messages become a way to share information “She’s sleeping. Can you bring home burritos?” instead of a way to say sweet, wonderful. “I love yous.”
Maybe this is how all moms or families feel? Maybe part of being a parent means that the very things in your life that used to have order, now feel chaotic? Or the things that used to easily flow in and out of your days, are now thrown up in the air to juggle back and forth?
Sometimes I realize it’s just hard to admit that I thought… oh, surely by 8 months we’ll have this parenting thing figured out. We’ll have a good routine and our baby will nap for 2 hour stretches and we’ll eat dinner together and watch movies and be sleeping like we used to. Ha! Boy was I wrong. We continue to juggle and learn and change and argue and say I am sorry.
I think the hard thing about juggling, is it doesn’t feel sustainable. We can all juggle for a season. But then you get tired. Or you start dropping pieces. Sometimes I convince myself I just need an extra hand, or to have a few less pieces to juggle. Probably both. But then I realize this is simply a season when we are both going to be juggling a lot.
So this last week we made some *small* but significant changes.
+ We left Elena twice at night and went out— with 24 other people from our medical/dental team- but we went out, nonetheless. And it was fun. I wore a necklace that the baby wasn’t pulling on. And we held hands and ate dinner without jugging a little one back and forth. Given some culture differences on leaving our baby + the fact that she has gone to sleep almost every night while being breastfed, this felt huge for us! I mean this hasn’t happened in 8 months people, 8 months!
+ We brought Elena to the community where we work for 2 days this week, instead of us staying at home. It’s a 90 min drive, temps above 100 degrees with humidity that makes you sweat the whole day. I was a bit nervous about bringing her, wondering how she would do. …but she loved it! And it was rejuvenating for Gerber and I to work together again. To be in the same community, talking, translating, driving, organizing and knowing what needs to happen without having to say it. Instead of juggling 2 different agendas for the day and communicating via texts and phone calls we were physically there together. We fell in love while working together and we both haven’t been in the community together for 8 months.
+ We’ve been honest. We have talked with our director and have asked for help. We sent out an enewsleter to friends and supporters and were honest about how we’re really doing. And I have been overwhelmed by how people responded. Such encouraging, heartfelt emails that make us go, ok, maybe part of this is normal. We’re not along.
+ I have set aside some time for me. I know I need some time during the week to read or paint my nails or write or pray or let’s be honest…sleep. When Gerber’s home we usually trade off mornings so one of us gets to sleep in. Our early morning riser is not rising as early (she was waking up in the 5 o’clock range for months- whose child is this?!) and now she’s entering the wonderful world of 6 or 6:30am which is still early in my book, but so so much better.
+ Accepting and enjoying this as a season. My mom kept reminding me of this when she was here, as only a mom can. With the wisdom and experience of a someone who has raised 4 kids and worked and served in ministry she somehow knows this is a season. A sweet, challenging season that does in fact involve a lot of juggling.
And maybe what I am learning is that juggling isn’t so much the problem. It’s learning to give myself grace when I do drop things.
How do you respond when you feel like you’re juggling too much?
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