Monday, February 15, 2010

You Can Have It All (Just not all at once)

One time I sat down and added up all the things I needed to do in one day and how long they took, before ever sleeping, as a working mother to 3 kids. It added up to 28 hours per day BEFORE sleep, and that was when I was still MARRIED.

Which is why I'm not surprised on nights like tonight when I absolutely crash and burn and throw that Reeses in with the groceries at checkout, to be enjoyed in the front seat of my car, parked in the garage, the only place it's quiet and I can think.

It's good to be needed. I would never want the opposite. I love my kids. I love being there for my 7 year old as she holds back sobs and tries to be brave through a dentist appointment where she gets fillings with no nitrous. I love that my baby still wants me to carry her everywhere, even though she's 3, because someday she'll be older and be embarrassed to be seen with me. I love that my 11 year old loves telling me about the music he loves and stories about friends and really needs me to pay attention.

They all need me. The kids need my attention in so many different ways. My clients need me, and are wondering why I haven't worked in a month and don't know or care that I am so tired at the end of the day that I just can't make myself open up their files, yet if I don't I won't have the money to pay the mortgage next month.

My friends need me. My father needs me. My boyfriend needs me. My dog needs me. My house needs me. The kids' schools need me. The bills need me. The laundry needs me. The car needs me.

Other single moms will relate. Our lives are a very delicate balance, a juggling act. Each child you have is an extra ball and with each of those, 10 extras between school, homework, personal needs, financial needs, etc. Throw in a relationship, a business or work, a needy or dramatic ex husband, and the juggling becomes more difficult. Each time something goes wrong, something as simple as say a child gets sick, you miss buying groceries, etc, or worse a medical emergency or emotional crisis, and all the balls come crashing to the floor. And then we must pick up all the balls again and start all over, you and only you. It's exhausting.

My current time inventory says I can't keep this up. There are too many balls. Not enough hands. The children are suffering, I am suffering, my business is suffering. I can't afford to drop a hundred balls every few weeks and start over from scratch.

The thing is...I want it all...everything I do I make "cuts" to the things I love...even the things that seem annoying and extra are related to things that I need or love.

For now, here I stand again, looking around the floor at all the balls that need to be picked up and put back into motion, and I just don't see where I will get the energy from. I don't know that I have it in me this time.

But what choice do I have. Why has my life become this struggle again, this "just survive this day" mode again. What is it all for???

I sense a change on the horizon. I can't pinpoint what or how or details of that nature. I just know that something has to change, and I have to be the one to change it. I have to be greater than this situation. I want to live, not survive. I refuse to let the cards that have been dealt to me destroy me or steal my joy one day longer.


  1. I only have one and she is not in any extra's yet, so I don't feel you pain to the extent that you do. But I have read all of your stuff and know that you are strong and resiliant and will find a way. Not just a way either. A great way!

  2. I've been having similar thoughts recently and am going through the process of thinking and making a list of what's really important to me, like being a good mom, doing well at work (someone's gotta support us), having some fun or new activities for me in my life (for a change), etc.

    The idea then is to pare all the other things away -- make all my activities support one of the larger goals.

    Keep us posted on your process/progress!

  3. I don't know the details of your situation but I have been successfully self-employed for years. I got some very good, simple advice years ago about managing my time and my business. Have set office hours each and every day (2 to 3 hours in the morning). Work isn't always fun, but, like you said, we need to pay the bills. I have several self-employed single mothers who have actually taken this seriously and have hired a HS/college student to come over in the morning to get kids ready and out the door for school. I was raised by a single mom and, since she worked full-time, we had a pre-school day babysitter (she dropped us off) who did breakfast, dressing, hair and got us to school. So it is a similiar concept. Anyway, I know that is silly little advice. However, it is something that has really truly worked for me, so I thought that I'd share. Good luck in picking up those balls. I can't imagine how hard it is for you.

  4. Tough week! I can't relate as I have never been in your position.

    But I do support you with the belief that you are more powerful and resourceful that you give yourself credit for.

    be lifted by those quiet moments you steal to yourself and give yourself a pat on the back.

    May the force be with you!