Balance. Does anyone have it? You hear everyone talking about having too much on their plates. Of juggling all their responsibilities. Well, my plate overflows on a daily basis and I can’t keep all those balls in the air (in my case, it’s actually flaming torches).
Like any mother, I have a long list of job titles, even though I don’t work outside the home. In addition to the usual “mother jobs” I’m also homeschooling my nine-year-old and for some reason I volunteered to start a Social Justice Committee for my parish (and I’m not doing a very good job with that right now). Then in February I took on the job that put me over the edge.
It started with the decision that I would answer the phone for my husband’s law practice. He is a “mobile” attorney, who meets with his clients in restaurants, at court, or in their homes, and does his paperwork in our home office. I didn’t think answering the phone would be a big deal, and it isn’t. I quickly established firm hours of operation and the after hours calls stopped. I can carry the phone with me anywhere, so that responsiblity did not change my life much.
But once I got involved with the phone, I started finding other things I could do–keeping track of time, sending out long overdue bills, writing letters to clients, setting up new files and reorganizing old ones, doing legal research, interviewing new clients, drafting simple pleadings . . . before I knew it, answering the phones morphed into a “Legal Assistant” position that probably takes about 20 hours a week.
I’m enjoying all this and it’s good for business. And because we have an actual office directly off our bedroom, I get to work in my pajamas, start as late as I want, leave the office as needed and do the work later, and be with my kids. What I cannot do is keep the house clean. Something had to give, and that was the something.
I have also noticed that my five-year-old has become increasingly clingy since I started this. She wants to come and sit on me when I’m trying to work. And even though I am at home all day every day, she gets more upset when I go out in the evenings than she used to. “I want to be WITH you,” she says. I’ve never been one to play with my kids all day long, but something about the focused attention I have to give the work I am doing is more upsetting to her than the kind of attention I give to laundry, cooking, and dishes.
Oh, and this study really made me feel a lot better! (not)
This poem describes my life perfectly:
For every parcel I stoop down to seize
I lose some other off my arms and knees,
And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns,
Extremes too hard to comprehend at once
Yet nothing I should care to leave behind.
With all I have to hold with~ hand and mind
And heart, if need be, I will do my best.
To keep their building balanced at my breast.
I crouch down to prevent them as they fall;
Then sit down in the middle of them all.
I had to drop the armful in the road
And try to stack them in a better load.
How about you? Are your arms (or your plates) too full?