I am a working parent and 95% of the time it is frankly almost impossible. I say 95% of the time because there is that 5% in which the moon and stars align perfectly and everything goes according to plan. Unfortunately, today was not one of those days and honestly most days aren’t.
Today, I really didn’t even have a plan because there is only so much juggling that can be done. Just a breakdown of my day…
Get the kiddos to school so that I can be at work by nine for my first meeting. Followed by a meeting at 10:00 and 12:00. Leave work early to pick up kids at 1:00 since it is early release Wednesday in the school district. Awesome. Head back to home to get more work in before having to take teenager to cheer practice that starts at 4 pm. Head back home to get a little more work in before calling it a night. Feed the kiddo that didn’t have an activity tonight, feed the dogs and feed myself because there just wasn’t time for lunch today. Through all of this, the hubby (who has a daytime job) has to work from 7 am to 10 pm tonight. Double Awesome.
This is where the dog urine comes in. As if we didn’t have enough on our plates between two kids at two different schools, a hubby that has a ridiculously ever-changing and inflexible work schedule, a dog that is incredibly sensitive, a house that is never clean and not enough money for a nanny, we (mainly I) suggested we get a new puppy for Christmas. Yeah, I did that. This new puppy, Claire, is the most adorable thing you will ever see and knows this as she uses this cuteness to run the house. As I am cleaning up dog urine, shoving a microwave pizza at my 6 year old, wondering when Girl Scout cookies go on sale because I could really use a thin mint right about now and then feeling guilty because I haven’t hit the treadmill in weeks, I wonder how long can I continue this juggling act before all of the balls tumble to the ground.
After shedding a few tears today and wondering how in the world I was going to make life work, I realized one thing…who cares! All of us working parents are trying to juggle the pressures of work and still maintain this image of how we think our family should be or how society thinks are family should look. After 15 years of marriage, 14 years of being a mother, and working for most of that time, I have to now resign to the fact that my life will never be this Donna Reed inspired fantasy that I have in my head. I am not married to a doctor that has an office in the home and my kids will probably never ever actually be the perfect clean little angels that we see on TV.
So from this point on, I promise to be okay with the following things. I won’t be vacuuming in pearls. I won’t have a home cooked meal on the table every night. My laundry will probably never be caught up and the house will never look like those that grace the pages of Southern Living. My kids will grow up on a diet of taco bell and frozen pizza with the occasional healthy meal thrown in on the weekends when I haven’t worked all day and served as a chauffeur to get the kids to their many activities. There will probably be the occasional spot of dog urine that I have to clean because lord knows that Claire is making her mark on the house by being potty-training resistant.
Most importantly though, I will stop beating myself up for trying to live up to a version of me that just doesn’t exist and I will stop feeling guilty that this version of me will probably never exist. I will stop trying to secretly compete with others that I perceive have it altogether and just try to find the laughter in the whole situation.
As the hubs said today, our life is absolute and utter chaos so the only thing we can do is have FUN! So the next time I can’t find socks before work because laundry wasn’t done, I will just blame it on the fact that the family spent an amazing day geocaching last weekend. The next time I serve up Taco Bell for dinner, I will just blame it on the fact that my kids are fortunate that they are healthy enough to participate in sports. The next time I have to clean up dog urine or poo, I will be happy that little Claire and big ‘ol Tom came into our lives. The next time I feel guilty for not being Donna Reed, I will remember that Donna Reed was just a make believe person on TV and TV just isn’t real life. The next time I step on the scale and cringe, I will remember that I probably ate too many thin mints and enjoyed every single one!