In grade school we had a juggler visit for a special program, and part of his act was teaching us to juggle. I can still remember being in the gym giggling and laughing as the colorful scarves were thrown up in the air one after another, trying to catch them before they hit the ground. Juggling scarves took speed and attention but not a lot of skill as the lightweight fabric is slow on decent. I never graduated past scarves. i couldn't make my brain and hands work on the multiple tasks at one time needed to juggle balls.
I'm kind of in the same place now. Still unable to make my brain and body agree to working on multiple tasks at the same time, only I'm not juggling scarves but responsibility and needs. It seems like someone always needs something.
The house needs to be cleaned, someone is hungry, bills need to be paid, emails answered, someone else is hungry, babies want to be held, when was my last shower? I toss each thing up and run to the next hoping to catch it before it falls to the ground. It's a breathless and exhausting game and I'm tired.
The dishes pile up, the toddler meltdowns, I miss a deadline, when was my last shower? In learning to juggle all the needs, the one that suffers and is dropped the most is my own. I neglect myself and all my needs in order to keep all the other a float.
I'm trying to stop.
To collect each scarf and set it down, only focus on one at a time. It's hard. It's hard to walk away from one child to assist another, to ignore a messy house to workout or shower. But I can't keep juggling either.
SO i put on my blinders and I sit with a cup of coffee, I nap with a sleeping baby, I snuggle with a toddler. I just breathe for a minute and prioritize reminding myself that there won't always be so many needs to juggle and to focus on the important ones. It's okay to let one fall or put one down, even just for a moment. The show will still go on, the world will keep spinning.
I want my kids to see that they don't have to say yes to everything that is put in front of them, even if it's good and they enjoy it. I want them to know that they don't have to live life in a breathless show off juggling skills. They're only going to learn that if I put down the juggling and show them that it's okay and can be done.
One day, one thing, one minute at a time.
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels. She chronicles the sticky bits of motherhood at Peanut Butter in my Hair.
See more of Melissa's stories here.