The struggle with the juggle - a working mom's musings and tips
By: Kerry Lyons | Published Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 2:36 PM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 10:23 PM
I recently started a new job. It is a good job, a job that I’m really excited about. It’s challenging, it’s interesting and it’s close to home. It checks all the boxes I so carefully identified at the inception of my job hunt. Even so, here I am, less than a month in and once again struggling with the juggling.
I know I’m not alone here. I know most working moms struggle with the juggle and these feelings ebb and flow. I’m just suffering from the tidal wave of starting something new. For better or for worse, most folks think I’ve got it all together. “How do you do it?” they ask. “You look so refreshed!” they say, wondering what my trick is. The truth is, I have no trick. And, if I happen to look refreshed, I probably owe it to a good run, a strong cup of coffee or an unusually stellar application of mascara and under-eye concealer!
We all know that looks can be deceiving and I have to admit that working while juggling five kids at home just isn’t easy. In fact, It’s really hard to explain to my first grader why Mom isn’t there to pick him up at the bus or to my pre-schooler why the nice neighbor across the street will be dropping her off a few days a week. It’s tough to leave the triplets in their cribs with wet diapers as I sail out the door yelling “Sorry guys, gotta run! It won’t be long… I love you!” And it can be even tougher to walk in from a long day at the office to find five needy souls who are hungry, tired, and just looking for love (and I'm not even counting my poor husband!) -- by that time, I feel the same way. The good news is that the love is there in abundance; the bad news is that dinner may or may not be! With a new week dawning, I’m making a conscious effort to be a better juggler. I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve picked up some tips along the way and when I actually follow them, well, none of those proverbial balls will drop. Here they are in no particular order… · Get some sleep! Though I’m often tempted to stay up late on Sunday night to “get ahead of it all”, I find this often backfires and I end up starting the week tired and grumpy – obviously not the best way to start! So, take it from me and try to tuck in early when you can... on Sunday or any other night of the week. · Plan ahead. I’m guilty of being not just a planner but, an over-planner. I have to say though, when you’ve got a lot on your plate, planning can be your best friend. I really do try to lay out the kids clothes, pack up lunches and snacks and make a week-long meal plan… this ensures that even if your day is crappy, you’ll have something to put on that plate when you get home. · Just say yes to online shopping – groceries, diapers, snow boots and more, I get it all delivered right to our front door. There, I feel better already. Just knowing that I’ve got some survival tactics in place leaves me ready to take on the week ahead. If you’ve got some tips that help you with the juggle, I’d love to know… especially if you could recommend a good under-eye concealer… truth be told, mine just isn’t working as well as it used to!