How often are you told that parenting is the hardest job on the planet? You’re human - we all are - and the learning curve is a never-ending process with little breaks here and there. We’re aware that our children can sense when we’re trying to multi-task between them and other tasks which, of course, leads to them feeling robbed of quality time with us. That’s when tantrums start up along with other displays of undesirable behavior. Then there’s the sheer amount of which we juggle to the point of causing us to feel absolutely insane. The next thing we know, we’re stress-bags scolding our little ones whose sole desire is our approval. Yet, we still find ourselves juggling. Fortunately, there’s always room to recover.
If you find you’re struggling with being a juggler, here are a small handful of things I learned from trial and error...
Saying “I’m sorry” to my child. I've recently had to apologize to my child a few times. Fortunately, I soon realized the benefit of my faults after my two year old threw a mini tantrum and I heard his little voice say, “I’m sorry I was mad at you.” My heart melted. He not only learned from me how to apologize; he also learned that it's okay to be human and that humans make mistakes.
Spending quality time with them on a regular basis, at least once every day. One-on-one is key and making it as special as possible. It doesn’t have to take up a big portion of my day, either. Of course, making it possible is something I have to work out with my spouse and/or caretaker.
Keeping work separate from my children. It’s not fair to them if I’m on my laptop or trying to listen to a podcast while they’re in my presence. There is no such parent who can juggle their children and work at the same time without sacrificing their children’s self-esteem. If I have to be on my phone (because - let’s face it - everything is accomplished on these small devices) then I explain to them why I’m on my phone. For example, “Mama has to order some groceries right now so we have food to eat,” or, “I have to text Dadda back so he knows we’re okay.” Of course, I don't always have a halo over my head while on my phone. But that is where...
Grace comes in the picture. The first person to judge is actually ourselves; not the other parents following you on IG. I've seen this in myself and other mothers - where the moment we start to judge ourselves (and we don't talk ourselves out of it), before you know it, we start saying and doing things that we end up regretting; thus, the vicious cycle of punishing ourselves (and others) prevail. Give yourself grace, Mamas! In a spiritual sense, your child chose you for reasons you might never understand. Why does your child have to be the victim of your mistakes? Because for whatever reason, that's the way she had to learn from you in that seemingly ugly moment. It's part of her evolution, too.
I hope those few tips are helpful. The most helpful remedy, however, is feeling understood. No matter where you are - at work earning a salary or at home with your kids - I understand the need and the pressure to be Supermom, whatever that may look like to you. For example (amongst a multitude of countless different scenarios), "Supermom" for the stay-at-home mom may look different to the mom bringing home the bacon. Perhaps the stay-at-home mother ("SAHM") puts pressure on herself to stay home because she wishes her own mother had. Vice versa: the career woman contributing via financing her family because she saw her own mother pulling out her hair from the stresses of being a SAHM. Then you have the woman who's somewhere in between - still, the goal being Supermom. She stays at home yet juggles her children and work at the same time because the guilt of physically leaving her children is too much. Regardless of where we are, I find that most of us act from a place of lack. What would it look like to act from a place of abundance? That is for us, individually, to decide.
Another angle to ponder could be the possibility that this hyper-productivity comes from someplace other than lack. I did some lab work recently and discovered that I have a hyperthyroid (not to be confused with hypothyroid). My thyroid is hyper meaning I’m hyper! I have a constant need to get things done and accomplish way more than I can chew. I also learned that hyperthyroidism is a very common postpartum syndrome, which explains so much about the Western culture of Momhood.
Another interesting piece of information that might explain our culture is summed up by Ayurveda. They say that age 30 to 40 is a high "Pitta" stage of life. Pitta is fire - drive - passion - productivity - perfectionism. When this applies to us Western mothers, there may be a sense of "I'm not doing enough/I'm not enough," when, realistically, we're doing too much and we are more than enough.
So, Mamas, I invite you to imagine the most blissful and fulfilling five consecutive days of your life. What does it look like? How can you make it happen on a regular basis? Tell yourself, "Where there's a will, there's a way." Apply those Pitta vibes towards making the best of your life and accept the hiccups.