It was Halloween afternoon. I had rearranged my work schedule so I could be home in time to finish setting up for the neighborhood block party, get myself and the kids dressed, and enjoy a festive evening of fun! While waiting to pick up my food contribution of chicken tenders (thank you, Kroger), I passed by the veggie trays and stopped. Oh, yeah! I need a veggie tray for my son’s “Pumpkin Party” at school . . . today. OOPS.
Don’t get me wrong, that paragraph above? Packed with #AwesomeMom. (Seriously, check out the family Halloween photo below!). So why was I defeated by a veggie tray? Surely his classroom had plenty of food. (Kids don’t usually want broccoli and cherry tomatoes anyway, right?) But I signed up to bring it! And I don’t (usually) forget stuff like that! (Thank you, iPhone calendar alerts.) Apparently, that system only works when you remember to put said item into your calendar.
Way back in the long, long ago—when I was a parent of just one child—and a full time student, I naively asked my sister-in-law (mother of one, pregnant with second, working full-time, clean house, great marriage) how she “did it all.” And after admitting what I’m sure we all feel, she told me that she and her husband looked at their life/responsibilities as a series of balls that need juggling. She put it this way: the glass balls break, so they need to stay up in the air. But the rubber balls? They can bounce.
That genius analogy sums it up perfectly. What are my glass balls? My marriage, my family, and my job. Certain things that HAVE to be done. Hubby and I must go to work. The kids need care. We need quality time together and quality time as a family. Bills must be paid, and food needs to get put on the table. (That food doesn’t necessarily need to be prepared, from scratch, by me.) All that other stuff? The clean toilets, the organized closet, the laundry (that never. ending. laundry.)?
That makes me feel better. Because when I think about the cleaning? I get discouraged. And then overwhelmed. It takes so much time, and my arms are full with an infant right now. (Plus, I really just don’t want to do it!) My mother-in-law shared a great poem with me, and it ends with this:
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.
-Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
However, some things that I consider to be glass? I keep treating like rubber. My relationships with my girlfriends. I find myself saying, “Man, I stink at this!” more often than not. Today? My best friend’s birthday. Last week, she managed to send me an “I miss you” card—from Poland. Yes, the country. Is there a birthday card in the mail for her? No. #ISuckAtBirthdayCards. A long-time Army friend lives an hour away. She makes the effort to come down and visit. She even hand-made a beautiful quilt for my daughter. I think about trying to schedule another “date” with her All. The. Time. But do I call her? No.
This stage? These are the tough years. Trying to have a career, a healthy marriage, a reasonably-sanitary home, and keep two children under the age of 4 alive? Busy. I want to say “yes” and make plans and do things. But only so many hours exist in my day. And I know the coming stages won’t be much easier. Other things will fill the hours. However, I hope these precious friendships that I see as glass, really are like rubber. I hope they bounce. And one day, we pick right back up where we left off a month . . . six months . . . a year ago. But I really hope it’s not that long. Because then I’ll really feel like I suck at this!
And really? I want to say goodbye to the mentality of the #momfail.