Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Confessions Of A Poor Juggler

Let me preface this with a warning... I am about to dribble on and on about feeling like I can't keep up and that I am feeling like a crappy Mom because of it. I don't need consoling. I just need to rant and get the feelings out. Feel free to rant too in the comments. I think it'll be a good release.

I feel like I am a fairly decent juggler. Not literally, cause I can't juggle for real, but definitely figuratively. I have a lot to balance and keep in motion. I am a Mom of Three, a Wife, Housekeeper of a 5bedroom 2bath home, and I am an Artist. Looking at those four little titles would have you thinking "that ain't so bad", but there are so many layers to each of them.

Mom of Three is complicated by having one child in his first year of middle school, one child is struggling with bi-polar, and the last one just started kindergarten. I don't think I need to explain the layers to being a wife, lol. I think anyone in a relationship knows how much work they are. If you have read my blog through the summer, you know a lot of about what I have juggled with our new home. On the surface, "5bedroom 2bath home" sounds fabulous... but it was built in the 1940s and I am putting my heart into fixing this place up into a place we can be proud of.

As for the Artist, I am feeling like it isn't as glamorous as it sounds. I think it is every high school doodlers secret dream to be able to say they are a successful working artist. I mean, seriously, it is an awesome thing to be able to say, isn't it? I am a successful working artist. But the art balls that I juggle aren't all glass rods and roses. There is the business half of it too that if not delicately handled will suck the creative life right of me. Who wants to write expense spread sheets, and learn html, and book shows, and mail packages, and organize sales summaries?

So here I am, day to day, trying to keep all the family-home-life-art balls up in the air like they should be. And I am thinking "WOW, look how well it is all going... I am doing this... I am making it work..."

And then I go to curriculum night at Jacob's school...

Let me tell you about my Jacob. First of all, he is wicked smart. The boy has been reading since he was four years old. In kindergarten, they sent him to a multi-age 1st grade classroom so he would be challenged. He was in enrichment programs in 2,3,and 4th grades. In 3rd grade, he was reading at the 9th grade level. Now add to those brains the skills of an athlete. He loves sports. He excels at every sport he tries. He learned to ride a two wheeler when he was 3. He gets grand slams in baseball, scores goals in soccer, and is a defensive force to be reckoned with in football. If brains and brawn aren't enough... add to that a huge, kind heart and a great sense of humor. The kind of heart that will have a tea party with his 5 yr old sister and the sense of humor that has parents coming to me saying how funny their son thinks my son is. He is just a great kid.


Last night was a shocker for me. Unfortunately, I think it is my own fault. I feel that the way I parent really depends on the kid at the time. I give them what they need as they need it. Andrew struggles in school, so I sit with him every night and do each bit of homework with him step by step. Lauren doesn't have homework but is becoming more social, so I sit with her and listen to all the stories she has to tell me about her day. Jacob has had my trust. I ask him "dude, you got any homework?" And when he says "nah, I did it in study hall" or "Zac lent me a pencil and I finished it on the bus"... I trusted him. But now I have learned that he isn't doing his homework. What he is doing isn't being handed in on time. And now he owes almost every teacher 2-3 assignments!

I know this move has been a big adjustment for him. He has been thrown into this new environment with all these new people and I have expected him to become a juggler himself. Can't you juggle school, new friends, sports, and your family wonder kid? That sentence right there is why I feel like a crappy Mom today.

At the same time, I do what I know. My Mom was never all up in my business picking every single homework assignment outta my nose for me. I either did my work, or suffered the consequences in school. Sink or swim kid, you have to learn. Why isn't that in him? He is like me in so many ways... why isn't that in there too?

But then I waffle, and the guilt comes rolling back. I don't do enough for him... but I don't feel like I could handle more... I could be doing more, if I let this or that go... if I balance this or that better... maybe if I wasn't "working" so much... ugh! It is such a sick cycle.

Deep down I know that I will find a new way to juggle. It has already started. I will become the parent he needs right now. I will make him show me I can trust him and that he is as capable as I know he is. He'll do he assignments and show me they are done. I'll guide him through time management. I'll make him miss football to show him what is most important. But I am worried that something else will suffer. And from that worry will come the compensation in my actions to balance everything else in a new way too.

That... and I think some chocolate cake will help.


Shannon said...

Through in some wine with that chocolate cake and I'll join you.

I'm a Mom of 1 Toddler (need I say more?), Wife, Housekeeper of a 4bdr/2 bth House, and Working Mom. Through in the fact that we just moved to a smaller, older, more expensive house, and the fact that some idiot rear-ended me and is now saying he's not responsible (contrary to the police report), and I have dropped all my juggling balls.

Hmm, better make that wine a pitcher of mojitos.

This too shall pass...

Jo said...

Chocolate in any form always helps! I know you don't need consoling, but everything you've written proves that you aren't a crappy mum, and everyone can see that!

I am still trying to learn to juggle. Just as I get used to one routine, a new one starts, or I find a new outlet (which I am always very happy about, but have to learn to accommodate it in my routine), or family come to stay, or or or ......! At the moment I'm staying up far too late working as my little one has stopped his afternoon naps. In the New Year he will be going to his childminder for an extra day, and I'm feeling guilty at looking forward to having an extra work day. My mum says that feeling guilty about something nearly all the time is unavoidable when you're a mum, no matter how old your children are!

Anonymous said...

Just remember that you can't always be supermom and always have the answers or solutions - teamwork will surface and it will all be great! Life has a funny way of telling us hey slow down juggle some feathers for awhile insted of the bowling pins! you are dedicated and motivated to the end!

Lori said...

I'll join you in the wine and chocolate. Based on past experience with all 4 of my kids, this is normal in the first year of middle school. I got to where I dreaded conferences with Robbie all during middle school.

Cindy said...

Hey Kerry

You know I can relate too...just the fact that we're packing up and moving some time in the next 3 weeks and I'm due with baby #4 in less than 4 weeks is a juggle and a struggle! And right now I'm doing the same thing...trying to get the kids to do their homework!!! aaaahhhhhh, I already had a brownie today though. I'll need more chocolate to get through the rest of the evening! :-O

Holly said...

I don't think you are a poor juggler at all! i think that you are just a normal person, and like normal people, you don't have enough hours to do everything quite how you would like to. But you're smart and practical and inventive so you will come up with a new way to work it all in. and ALWAYS be sure to schedule cake time.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I am so right there with you. I've been feeling so torn lately, too, with Zack in Kindergarten, three nights of swim team, one night at church, and me volunteering every afternoon at his school. HOW do I keep up without snapping everyone's head off from the stress?

Can I have some cake with you?

rosebud101 said...

Been there and done that. You are a good mom and you need to remember that. Just remember, it came to pass, and this will, too.

Melissa said...

Hi Kerry - I can definitely relate, even though I only have 1 child! Hey, I have been a fan of your work and your blog for a while. I just wanted to let you know I included your blog as part of 7 that I nominated for the Brilliante Weblog award. :)


Tanya said...

Thank you for the vent and the permission to vent with you! I spin plates because juggling is way too hard for me to manage. You are amazing. My Mommy plate has been worbaling all over the place this week, too! I finally got my a very demanding job plate in the even state of spin, the house plate...well, I think it's warped anyway. Thank you for sharing your juggling feats! I am a fairly new lampworker/jewelry maker who is just beginning to understand the treacherous depth to which this "art" can dive. Even just in being able to get my work "out there" while still continuing to grow my skills.

I don't count on relief anymore, just agility - to be able to navigate through my crazy and amazingly, full life. Well, and chocolate for it's amazing ability to recharge my superpowers. :)

No ball was dropped in your juggle, Kerry. If anything one of them just morphed into a ball of fire - which by looking at your your work shows you have significant mastery with that medium!

Time to take another deep breath, focus and push on through this crazy spin cycle.

Anonymous said...

Ms K, did the chocolate cupcakes help at all? Hope you met your deadline today!