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My oldest, 3 years old, recently called out my name and said, “MOM! LOOK!” (It had been her third ask so the scream was necessary to get me to turn my head.) I said, “Ok, I’m looking, what’s up?!” She smiled big and said, “Look, I can juggle!” She then proceeded to throw 3 balls into the air and watch them hit the floor. Then she said, “Oh no, maybe again.” She did this a few times and it was hysterical. Of course I had to get it on video for her father where she actually tried to catch the balls on their way down. Absolutely adorable!

So why when we, as adults, try to juggle, it’s not so cute? Granted we’re not usually juggling balls. We juggle children, work, marriage, family, house, friends and on and on. When we drop a ball, something comes crashing down and the giggles don’t usually follow.

Last night was an especially difficult juggling act. It was bath night and my husband had a happy hour with all of the managers at work so he wasn’t coming home. That means I pick up the kids, make dinner, get them bathed, get them to eat and do two bedtime routines – all in less than two hours. Needless to say, I had been stressed about Wednesday night since Sunday when I noticed hubby’s happy hour in the calendar. In an effort to make my evening a little easier, I planned to leave work at 4:00 p.m. instead of 4:30 p.m. SIGH, what is it they say about making plans?

Major deadline crunch at work. I had an article to write for a playbill for one of our clients. Deadline was Tuesday; article was written Monday and sent to the company I wrote about for approval. Tuesday mid-morning, I find out they would prefer no article at all. Now I have to write a new article on a different company and my deadline was end of business. Thankfully, the marketing guru we work with who handles the printing gave me one extra day. So now I had the article to write and the company I was spotlighting to read it, add content and approve. And I had to tell them we had one day to do it. They were grateful for the article but not happy about the deadline. Let’s add guilt to the stress now. We started the conversation on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday evening, I delayed dinner for my 7 month old in order to email the article to the company who understood the deadline. Wednesday morning, I sent a friendly Good Morning and reminder about the article. By Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., I hadn’t heard from them since the morning so I sent an email. Then I called at 3:15 p.m. trying not to nag but letting them know I would be leaving by 4:00 p.m. and hoping to have the article by then. Luckily, the woman working on it was also leaving at 4:00 p.m. and wanted it off her plate. But, by 4:15 p.m. I gave them all my boss’s contact info and left. Bring on the juggle!

The craziness all of you mommy and daddy’s reading this know too well began now. The juggle that really prompted me to write this post! I arrive at day care stressed about the article to find everyone outside playing. You’d think they’d all be happy to be running around outside in the gorgeous weather. Nope! My 3 year old was crying and the day care teacher tells me she laid down to nap but never did. She screamed for the next half an hour until I bribed her with the Frozen CD if she actually stopped crying. Finally she stopped and on went the CD. Home for baths initiated more crying and more bribes. This time it was Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I got so desperate that I threatened to take away Jake (we’re on a first name basis now) for the rest of the week if she didn’t just get in the bathtub already. Of course, she’s 3, she doesn’t know what a week is. So I counted out the days on my fingers and when she saw that next week was 4 whole days away, she got in. And got happy playing! PHEW! The 7 month old, however, was not. She started crying in the bathtub for the first time in months. UGH! Double UGH!

When I took the little one out and dried her off, I began to feed her her dinner. And then I looked at my phone and saw that emails had finally begun about the article. I was so relieved to receive it but couldn’t figure out how to feed the screaming, starving 7 month old and respond to emails. I realized in that moment that I was going to have to choose work or kids. I just simply was not going to be able to keep all of the balls in the air. Thankfully, I had back up. My boss is actually very understanding about my torment with my juggling act. She should be, she’s my mother! So she stepped in and handled the rest of the article. After I got both of my kids fed and somehow managed to shovel food into my mouth (the chicken I was re-heating was under-cooked by the way so mac and cheese became dinner and not a side. I am the world’s worst cook!), there was still the dishes to do and bedtime. And a big glass of wine for Mommy!

I realize this is all part of the deal and working is a better choice for me, both for my sanity and my bank account. I do wish it was a little easier and that I could juggle more but contrary to most people’s beliefs, even mothers only have two hands.

(By the way, emails about the article were going back and forth until 10:30 pm. But I didn’t see them – I was asleep by 9:00 p.m. Thank you Mom!)

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