Friday Confession: I don’t juggle

I have a secret. I don’t juggle. That’s true in more than one sense. I cannot keep three objects in the air at once, and, (psssst), I have a child, work full time, and I pretty much consider my life easy peasy.

Saying this out loud, in print, feels kinda scandalous. This is not what people say. Public dialogue about all that “juggling” required to have a job and a kid scared me silly pre-Pumpkin and probably delayed my childbearing for a good three to four years. But post-Pumpkin has undoubtedly been the happiest and easiest period of my life. I don’t feel like I “do it all,” I don’t feel like all I want is a nap, and I don’t feel like my husband doesn’t understand.

Okay, I’m feeling very nervous telling you this. It’s just not acceptable to talk like this. A parenting group I’m in recently asked moms, “When is the last time you did something just for you?” Most of them answered, with a sigh, “I can’t even remember!” I was too embarrassed to say, “Well, I took half a day off last week and went to a movie by myself, or does getting to read a book for an hour while my kiddo is at the park with his dad count? Because that was today.” But it’s true. I love being a mom, but I’ve never felt lost inside it.

I want to be clear: I’m not saying life is perfect, or that I always have time to do everything I want, or that I don’t ever doubt anything I do. I’m just saying that the truth is, for the most part, I’m happier and more relaxed than before having a kid. Why not? I spend hours every day playing at the park! I get to go to the zoo and on train rides. I get 1,000 kisses and hugs daily.

I also don’t feel half the parenting guilt magazines seem to think I do. I enjoy my work, then I come home and enjoy my family. I do not walk around saying I do each thing crappily, as appears to be the standard line. I don’t think I do. I don’t think a lot of other people do either. I see people making it work, and it making them happy, all the time.

I just don’t see these people represented in parenting media, or half the time in real life conversation.

I think my happiness is due to a lot of factors: luck (mainly, my whole family is healthy), laziness (I’ve never had a clean home or a polished appearance, so I don’t worry about keeping these things up), selfishness (I’m just not the kind of person to serve others 100% of the time), choice of mate (a true co-parent) and situation (we moved to the Midwest for a slower pace of life, family-friendly work places and shorter commute times). Some of it is Pumpkin himself, who makes going to the grocery store or doing the laundry a hilarious adventure, instead of a chore. These things are therefore way MORE fun than they used to be. Also, we only have one kid so far. It should be easy peasy.

The thing is, I know this could change at any time. Life is like that. But if we continue to only talk about parenting like it is a chore, why is it exactly that any of us are doing it? At night, reading to Pumpkin in bed, his warm skin snuggled up against mine as he asks questions like, “Is that page kind of like the Paige at my school?” and “Do you know what I see in the sky? JUUUUUPITER!”, being his mom feels more like a pillar that holds me up than a ball in the air, threatening to fall.

6 Responses to “Friday Confession: I don’t juggle”
  1. Skinny Sushi says:

    I am so in love with this post! Obviously I don’t work outside of the house, so it’s hard for me to say how I would feel if I did, but I love hearing a mom say that she feels good about her life…. balance and fulfilled and not always worrying. We should all be this way. I wish I could let go of some of the guilt I have about, for instance, letting Evi watch Kai Lan while I write articles…

  2. H says:

    Let it go! I give you permission! You are a stellar mom. Just awesome. And I totally admire the tough (but fun, right?) full time job you have. I think when we let ourselves celebrate the joys of family, and talk about that side more, it will naturally mean beating ourselves, and each other, up less.

  3. niobe says:

    Did I write this post? Well, no. But it’s the post I would write if I weren’t afraid of retribution (divine or otherwise).

    Being a mom + working has been remarkably easy for me so far. With “so far” being the 18+ years since my oldest was born. There, I said it.

    • Skinny Sushi says:

      I know I am in the minority here, but I LOVE hearing that moms out there are doing what makes them happy and still being moms, women, wives, sisters… this is fantastic.

    • H says:

      I love that you said it! And I laughed at your “divine retribution.” I know what you mean. Hence my, “I know it can change in an instant.” *ducks and covers*

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] alone at home with our spouses, but I fail to see how any of that means this is such an awful life. As I mentioned earlier, it makes me sad that our public dialogue about family life is so negative in […]

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