Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Keeping all the balls in the air…

Shane is a juggler. During his single years, he honed several skills, but the only one I’m willing to talk about here is juggling. Whenever he juggles, he gets this look in his eye that screams that wants me to applaud him. Early on, I applauded, but nowadays my praise is mostly sarcasm. Luckily, Ben & Thomas love to watch him juggle. Some things we just have to save for our kids, I guess.

In fact, if Shane had the time, I’m sure he would become a joggler. It would combine two of his many talents - running AND juggling.

But today, I’m thinking about the other kind of juggling, the kind I do everyday that mostly my kids don’t applaud. Working, taking kids to the doctor, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, helping with homework, going to church, fostering my own talents and hobbies…I could go on and on.

Now, I know we all have our laundry list of daily tasks, so don’t think I’m trying to have a pity party here. But Sunday night, Ben woke up in the night fevering like crazy with that tight, barky cough that spells out croup. Even at 1am, my first thought as I got up to dose him with Tylenol was, “Will he be better by tomorrow? I really have to go to work.” I knew he wouldn’t be. I thought of all the things I had to do this week at home and at work, my always-depleted paid-time-off bank at work, and despite it all, resigned myself to stay at home with Ben for the day. I made him a doctor appointment where it was confirmed that he had croup, and I went on with my busy day. Even last night, he didn’t sleep well, though the medicine had loosened up his cough some.

So there I was this morning, doing the juggle thing, weighing the balls against each other to see which ones would fly. 1- Do I take him to the babysitter first thing in the morning and hope he feels better? 2 - Do I plan to stay home all day? 3 - Do I wait and get Thomas off to school and see how Ben feels after waking up and then play it by ear?

I think that this is THE HARDEST part about being a working mom. Granted, I only work part-time, and so I only have a few days of the week where this is an issue. But the days that I’m scheduled to work are a commitment that I don’t take lightly. I like to be there those days, knowing I’m pulling my weight with both our finances and my work’s objectives. I like that working gives me an out and the interaction I get with my coworkers; they are like my second family. Also, I also don’t take lightly the fact that if I take my kids to a babysitter sick, I’m not doing them or the babysitter any favors. I am very lucky; our sitter is great to me and my kids, so I try to respect her house and the other children there.

I’m not coming to a great conclusion here. In the end, I went with option #3. Ben felt a bit better today; not 100%, but enough that I felt he wouldn’t be too sick to hang out at the babysitters for a few hours. But I still set off to work wishing that I could just stay home with him until he was better all the way. I don’t know that that will ever be my reality.

I just know that sometimes, keeping all these balls in the air is really hard, and that sometimes, the ones that I drop hurt. But I guess that’s just life.


Melanie said...

I can't tell you how much I admire you for what you're able to accomplish. I sit here and whine about how hard my life is, when I don't have this whole other set of responsibilities and people depending on me. And you still do a better job of keeping your house clean, doing your church job, and probably everything else. You've got to admit that your juggling skills rival even Shane's (which I may ask to see this weekend, so warn him).

Amy Sorensen said...

I didn't know Shane can juggle.

I have to agree: sick kids are THE most difficult part of being a working mom. It is simply HARD. Wish we lived closer so I could help out!

Ginger said...

You sound like an awesome juggler! By the way...croup always sounds so scary but my kids get that a lot and it usually ends up not too bad in the end. Hang there!