So I have admitted that I am trying to do it all. And that means I juggle a lot. And I know all my mommy friends do too. One of my girlfriends told me she wants to send her husband with 2 kids to the beach by himself (like she does every Friday during the summer) and sit on a rock from a distance away and just watch. Pure comedy. Which is how I feel my life is most days. But in the midst of my crazy trying to do it all life, some days are just more comedic than others.
7:00 am. Husband’s voice wakes me out of a sound slumber: “little man has a rash all over his body.” Were those real words or am I still dreaming? Eyes still closed. “Look, mommy!” Pry one eye open, little man with shirt raised to his chin is excitedly looking down at me with belly protruding. It’s covered with tiny red bumps. As are his face, arms, and legs. I have a wedding to coordinate today. They look more like a mild skin irritation than a measles mumps kind of thing. Attach slobbering about-to-pop-a-tooth baby girl to breast, close eyes.
7:30 am Put on workout clothes, force legs to move upstairs to kitchen, feed baby girl mashed mixture of bananas, yogurt, and prunes. Yes, she needs prunes. Little man is running around in his wish-I-could-harness-the-energy-of-a-3-year-old way so I’m thinking he’s probably fine. Scan forehead with laser-like thing. No temperature. Ok.
8:15 am Send little man on Saturday morning ritual of breakfast with grandparents. Play with baby girl.
9:15 am Put baby girl in sleep sack, sing song, and place her in bed for morning nap. Pack car (with trunk already full of bridal boxes of programs, menus, ring bearer pillows, and more fancy things gleaned from rehearsal yesterday) with bag, client folder, chalkboard directional signs, invitations to drop at post office for another client, and 4 dresses I really want to get altered to actually fit.
9:25 am Text bride, “Yaay, it’s your wedding day! C u soon!” Check weather on my iPhone app: predicting sun by 1pm. Yaay, cloudy beach morning.
9:31 am Pedal my little arse off on my elliptical machine
9:50 am Jump in shower. Through splatters, I hear husband: “I’m worried about little man, I think we should take him to a clinic. There’s an opening at 11:20.” Sigh. I know he’s right. We have church tomorrow and school Monday and we need to know if little man is going to infest his peers with some contagious African flesh-eating phenomenon. Because, yes, it would be my kid who would get it. On our first trip to Ixtapa over a year ago, little man picked up hand foot mouth disease and when we sat in the doctor’s office upon our return, I got to hear the favorite words you can get from your doctor: wow, we haven’t seen this strain in our community. Yes, I’m the family that brings back the international virus. Sorry 2-year-old cousin who therefore got it twice.
10:00 am With towel still wrapped around me, “mommmyyyyyyyyy!” ricochets across the walls as little man announces his return. I don clothes and all I’m thinking is I NEED Starbucks. I pry little man with offers of a treat (though he’s already had a sugar-filled muffin with the grandparents I’m sure) to get him to walk a block with me to the tall soy latte beckoning me from around the corner. Parent of the year, right here. What I’ll do for Starbucks. I’m clearly one of their zombie soldiers infiltrating the population.
10:30 am Return with latte in hand and somewhat perkier eyes to husband and squawking baby girl. Attach baby girl for 2nd time today. Husband mentions that he thinks it would be great if baby girl and I went to the clinic also so we’d have some family time today since I’ll be gone all afternoon. Sigh. Decide that agreeing with husband is best. Once baby girl has contented milk belly, I grab diaper bag, string cheese and squeezes for both kids, beloved yellow baseball hat for little man, and crinkly horse-toy for baby girl.
11:00 am Whole family in car en route to clinic. Phone rings. Site coordinator from church, venue for ceremony a couple hours later, is on the phone. The bride had requested the church’s white silk rose petals line the edges of the white runner but she can’t find them and only came up with pink rose petals. What should we do? What should we do? Should we line it with pink petals? Answer: no. Secretly sigh with relief as I have less than positive feelings regarding silk rose petals.
11:30 am Clinic doctor inspects little man: just a virus and most likely not contagious at this point. But he’ll run a test for strep just to make sure. Ten minutes of watching Horton And The Who in the waiting room and we are off with a “yup, he’s healthy” note from the doctor.
12:00 pm Entire family re-loaded into family SUV, little man proudly licking lolli pop for good behavior. Parent of the year, here. I sit in back and pop bits of string cheese into baby girl’s mouth as we head home. If I don’t feed her, she’ll fall asleep and she’s not allowed to sleep until she’s in her sweet little bed at 1:30 because otherwise I’ll be leaving slightly nervous husband alone with a cranky off-her-schedule baby girl all afternoon and evening and we all know how that goes. Remember, code name: the screamer.
12:30 pm Home. Make lunch for self and, because I’m trying to be thoughtful, husband too. Call comes in from wedding beverage service: “did you want 1 bar or 2 bars on the terrace?” Answer I want to give: read your event notes I sent! Answer I give: just one, please!
1:15 pm Haul kids downstairs, nurse baby girl once more, place back in sleep sack and back in bed. Kiss little man’s head as husband reads him stories.
1:30 pm Dash to closet: put on black dress and heels. Dash to bathroom: apply make-up. Stop at mascara since I’m going to blow dry my hair and I don’t want sticky lines of black marks all over my face. Tell myself: remember to put on mascara when you finish!
1:50 pm Depart house. Dash to post office to mail client’s invitations. Look in car mirror. Dang it, no mascara! Text assistant: if you haven’t left yet, could you bring a black mascara with you? Answer: sorry, already left. Want me to stop and get you some? Answer: yes! Arrive at post office. Shuttered up. Sign on the door reads Saturday hours: 10am-1pm. Dang it. Text comes through from assistant with picture of mascara and message this is the cheapest one! Answer: buy it! Dash to alteration place. I don’t really have to do this now but how often am I out without ANY kids? Alteration man is literally turning the sign on his door from open to closed as I park in front and come streaking in with 4 dresses flying behind me. He lets me stay.
2:30 pm Arrive at church. Florist is hauling in flowers. Two assistants are sitting there in matching black skirt suits, one proudly holding out pink mascara wand in her palm. Breathe. Open event notes. Mystically put on my wedding planner hat. The aisle looks way better without the pink silk rose petals.
One of my good friends asked me the other day how I am doing balancing everything in my life. I responded with, some weeks I’m good at one thing, and other weeks another thing, but I’m never good at everything every week. Some weeks I remember to tell husband how much I appreciate him and go to bed at the same time he does. Some weeks I remember to call or text my friends. Some weeks I exercise every day. Some weeks I get a bunch of appointments with clients in or finish the event documents I have to get done. Some weeks I text my extended family funny pictures of the kids. Some weeks I’m the kind, patient, but in charge mommy I want to be. Some weeks I volunteer to do something at church or for little man’s school or pause long enough to smile at the elderly woman making googly eyes at baby girl. Some weeks I’m even 2 or 3 of those things. But I am never all those things every week.
Maybe that’s what balance is: accepting that it’s okay to not be good at everything every week. Or maybe it’s my recent justification self-talk for only exercising 15-20 minutes a day as of late. But hey, I’m still breast feeding AND chasing the energizer bunny every day.
But maybe that’s what I need right now for mental peace: to allow myself to be better at some things some weeks and other things other weeks. It’s too much to try and heap everything onto my plate each week. Otherwise, I won’t have time or will be just too frenetic to notice the snail on the sidewalk with little man or to just lie on my belly and make faces at baby girl as she does her pre-crawl pushups.
Do I, in my type A mania, put this pressure on myself? Does our collective community? I have this need to do everything and be everything to everyone, but am I really enjoying my life when I do that? I mentioned before that I’m really trying to follow Ann Voskamp’s challenge in 1000 Gifts to live fully where you are and notice the small gifts of every day: little man’s fascination with the snail, baby girls’ giggle in the bathtub when I wash her neck, the orange red sky of a beach sunset. And then on top of that, to whisper prayers of thanks for everything. Everything. Thank you that little red dots on the skin made me slow down and be with my family. Hey, little man found excitement in the little red dots! Thank you for a yummy latte. Thank you that baby girl still wants to nurse and that I still have a supply (take that, o you allergies out there!).
So maybe balance is accepting my limitations and letting myself breathe in the life and beauty that is all around me. Especially the beauty of life with my little people.