Last year I ran into a friend at the library and as she held a baby on her hip and her two young children swarmed around her she commented, “I don’t know how you do it.” She marveled that I could manage working outside the home, blogging, parenting, and marriage.
You know what? I don’t really do it. I don’t have it together. If you could see my house right now I guarantee it’s a disaster zone. There are always dirty dishes, dirty laundry, and dirty dogs. But I’m a great juggler, most of the time. I had my girls’ school lunches packed Monday before I went to bed but I forgot my own lunch for work the next day.
And guess what? Here’s the big secret that I think so many parents, especially moms, are afraid to admit. I don’t know how the heck YOU do it. Or you. Or you. Or YOU. I don’t know how people with more than two kids do it. I don’t know how single parents do it. I don’t know how parents whose kids play multiple sports do it. I don’t know how my daughter’s teacher with three kids, one of whom competitively ice skates, gets up before 5 on school days and then teaches other people’s children all day does it. I don’t know how my best friend with three boys all in different schools does it.
As crazy as my life may seem on the surface, there is a method to my madness. My younger daughter is currently enrolled in zero extracurricular activities. That’s right! Zero! Stop the insanity! And no, she’s not bored. She’s interested in taking gymnastics, but I just want to make it through the month of August in one piece before I enroll her. And Miss C, my oldest, starts her 9th season of soccer this weekend. We may check out one more school activity for her, but that’s it.
I say no a lot. I pick and choose what I want to toss into the crazy mix.
How do any of us juggle work, a family business, marriage, aging parents, kids, soccer practice, PTO sign-up guilt, gymnastics, piano lessons, basketball, baseball, karate lessons, and still manage to eat, bathe, and leave the house fully clothed on a daily basis?
I’ll tell you how we do it. We have support systems. I have help from grandparents who will babysit at a moment’s notice. I have a supportive husband who worked Saturdays all summer so that I could work in my office on Thursdays while he took the day off to stay with the girls. We have help from neighbors with car pooling.
Behind every seemingly well-running family unit on the surface there are people behind the scenes helping them keep afloat.
And maybe, just maybe, an emergency bottle of wine or two.