Motherhood is a juggling act. Whether you have one child or many, work outside the home or don’t, have a partner or are doing this whole thing solo, you are always juggling something. So how on earth do we keep up the act? How do we ensure no ball gets dropped?
All of us, every single one, lets something slip through our fingers on some occasion or another. And that’s totally okay.
A friend from college recently commented on Instagram how peaceful and sweet my children seemed. I laughed out loud, and not an endearing chuckle, a wholehearted cackle. What a glorious and erroneous idea that my children are peaceful and sweet. I have three of these beautiful monsters, ages 12, 5 and 4 months. Our house sounds more like a child run circus than a zen meditation retreat.
It is true that my children are sweet at times. And I will admit I try very hard to create a peaceful life and home, but those are not the two words I would ever use to describe our family. I might choose words like rambunctious, spirited, passionate and intense.
What I realized as I simultaneously smiled and snorted in laughter, was that I put a lot of work into creating a life on social media that looks just like that. Peaceful and sweet. I choose my words carefully, I edit my photos and of course choose only the best ones, the ones where everyone is smiling and we appear to love each other. The pictures of my children pulling each other’s hair, stealing snacks and shouting that they hate each other don’t get quite as many likes.
Don’t get me wrong—my children often smile and we do love each other very much. But by carefully curating the life I post on social media I have unintentionally created something laughable. What a jolt to realize the very thing I’m striving for makes me laugh out loud when someone names it. Is there anything more inauthentic than that?
I am working to strive for authenticity and perfect imperfection.
I make mistakes, hurt those I love, burn dinner and that is what makes me human.
I drop the ball every single day in some large or small way—and that’s okay. It is to be expected really.
It’s what can give us the gift of connection. We can connect with one another via our faults and our vulnerabilities. We starve ourselves of this by pretending to be perfect.
As I write this I’m sitting in the front seat of my car in the parking lot of our local skate park, my youngest is napping in his car seat, my oldest is wearing a helmet and pads and is driving his new BMX bike as fast as he can up and down hills and ramps set at odd angles with weird curves among them.
This moment feels ideal t. The breeze blows through my open windows as my oldest is getting a great workout and my youngest slowly wakes up cooing.
We can only enjoy the moment if we are present within it. When I live my life constantly in a state of distraction, constantly keeping my eyes on all the balls I’m juggling, I’m not enjoying any of it.
I am not a master juggler at this moment in life. I don’t think what I’m doing even looks like juggling. I do not have my eyes on all the balls, I am not even attempting to catch or toss them all in that perfect arc that looks so magical.
I prefer to relish these kinds of moments, soak up their joy, their peace, their sweetness and to do that I have to let go of the charade, I have to accept imperfection in the form of letting some balls drop.
I want to live a life full of authenticity and joy in the simple moments.
I want to live without the pressure of doing it all.
I want to give myself the gift of not doing everything the way it should be done by the imagined deadlines that cannot be met.
I want to enjoy my rambunctious, passionate children.
So I let the ball drop—and I’m okay with that.