Reflecting on my life right now, I can liken myself to a bad juggler. You don’t see them too often, actually, because bad jugglers don’t get many gigs. I just took up the role of juggler about five months ago when baby Evie came into our home. One of her requirements upon arrival was for me to begin juggling. I started off by tossing a few things up in the air, and before I got to master just a few things, I needed to add a few more to the mix. It began with caring for Evie and recovering from labor while our family and friends came to visit, then came leading our LIFE Group, cooking meals, keeping up with the house, showering, doing my hair and getting dressed. Shortly after feeling like I could handle throwing all of that back and forth through the air, Logan returned to work, as did I, and Evie went off to daycare. Solidifying a pumping schedule, getting to know my students and a different grade level, picking up Evie before 5:00 and spending as much time with her as possible along with staying in communication with Logan, family, and our friends was the next transition phase. Cloth diapering, starting up another Grow Group, returning to the nursery schedule at church, and the holidays soon followed. I fear we aren’t done.
I am bad at juggling.
Guilt sets me free into a world of being chained to the feeling of not doing enough. When I think about how much quality time I get to spend with Logan and Evie, not to mention myself, the chains feel heavier. Is she getting enough tummy time each day? I need to read a book with her. And the Bible. What’s Logan up to these days? How many days have gone by without spending time with Jesus? Oh yeah, and exercising hasn’t happened in many moons. How can I expect to set a good example for my daughter when I’m not doing any of these things myself? How much time should I let Evie play on her own before I’m considered a bad, lazy mom? Article after article pops up on my mini feed reminding me never to be seen on my phone whilst being around my child. And the chains of my guilt rattle in the background of my busy life.
After a nice long talk with Logan about these feelings of sucking at juggling, I was reminded of our timeline. How long have we been doing this? In the scheme of life, five months isn’t very long. It’s not a wonder why I suck at juggling life right now. With most other skills, you begin learning it by first being pretty terrible at it. Gradually, over a long period of time, you make headway and improve your skill. This is a difficult truth for me. I am a get-it-right-the-first-time kind of person, and so when I find myself unable to juggle 999,999,999 things, I am frustrated. But that’s silly of me to be frustrated. God really knew what he was doing when he made it so babies don’t remember things until they are older. He knew that parents need a bit of a grace period to learn how to juggle their world after they have a kid. It’s going to take time (sadly, still) to get into a rhythm of throwing things through the air and catching them before they hit the ground. But for now, things will and do hit the ground.
I am a bad juggler. No guilt necessary.