juggle juggle drop…
I can hear the tune in my head … juggle juggle drop, juggle drop, juggle drop – do you get the beat?
My confidence woven tightly in the form and function of the soaring balls in the air. Bolstered each time something that I was sure was going to be a disaster works out. Chipped away by the balls rolling past my feet – and by the faces holding all the balls waiting to be tossed into the circus that is our world. There is no time for personal needs, or selfish desires. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not unusual. It’s not even that stressful most of the time… it’s just life.
Once in a while the wrong ball drops and someone ends up in tears at home or disappointed at work or school – and those days suck. No. those moments suck. Because there is so much that goes on each day that we can’t possibly allow one stray angry/sad face to wreck the day.
I listen to friends talk about how they (don’t) do it all. After a few glasses of wine we all start joking about how much we ‘fake’ it. That’s the point in the evening that always makes me smile. It’s comforting. It drives me crazy when people pretend that they have it all figured out. I want to yell – you aren’t doing any of us any favours lady! 😉 but I don’t (don’t worry).
A fabulous woman said recently that she wondered if feminism had pushed the spectrum too far. Now instead of applauding women for their choices, whether it is being a full time working mom with a nanny, or a stay at home mom, or a mom who tries to balance part time work and family life, or a woman who chooses not to have children – we look for the chinks. We minimize the value of the part-time contributor when we should be refreshed by her perspective and likely her mad-organization skills. We have pity for the kids who go from school to after-school care, and equally we have disdain for the mom who is aware of every student in the class and who is always there because she’s chosen to be at home. We wonder why that woman has no children to ‘fulfil’ her. That statement about the swing stuck with me – because if I’m honest I know I’m also guilty of it.
I’m personally trying to do too much. I know it has to stop. But it’s like a bad tv show – I can’t turn away. To highlight – I currently am a part of three book clubs – but I’ve yet to read a single actual book assigned… mostly because I rarely make the time to read unless it 1)benefits my career needs or 2)contains at most two-syllable words and revolve around Disney characters. That might be why I like cookbooks so much. Just getting through one page is enough.
We laugh about how much changes when you have kids (the ‘s’ adds a whole new layer of complexity) and how priorities change. More and more I hear women note with frustration that we can’t have it all. It’s either family first or work first. not both. It’s either time for the kids or time for your highlights, not both. It’s true, not having mastered the whole bending of time/space continuum thing does force us to choose. And we are reminded of those little choices in each moment of the day. The meeting we didn’t prep for, the newsletter for school we forgot to read, the gym date that is still marked in calendar – glaring at me for not making it for 3 weeks running. It’s funny – I think the quest for ‘balance’ is what actually wears us down. Yes, me-time is incredibly important in order to be a more peaceful happy employee/partner/friend/parent – but me-time in reality also just collapses the time-frame you have for everything else so that you now need to get in everything else into a more condensed box.
The more I try to fit in, the more tired and run down I get. Makes sense when you write it down. Seems almost too logical. Pare back. simplify. ha. In practice it’s like a constant mini battle to find the time to achieve success (or at least ‘presence’) in all aspects of life. And yet I fight the conclusion that we can’t have it all. Because I think we can. It’s just the definition of “all” that needs to change.
I think life is just a constant journey of give and take, frustration and triumph on the way to figuring out what “having it all” really means to us. And once someone has figured that out – I’d like to be the first to stand up and cheer them on… and then take them for a drink to ask 4 million questions. In the mean time I’ll just keep up with the juggling act. With highlights and a hair cut once a year and the gym 6 times a year. With faking it through book-club just to get a night out with the ladies. And with reading nerdy measurement models at midnight while Jimmy Fallon is on in the background and my husband and I are folding laundry and planning out next week’s calendar of trade-offs. Because these are pretty wonderful problems to have.