Whenever Jayci joins me as a helper in the baby room at church, her favorite trick is showing the little ones how she can “juggle.” She holds two balls, one in each hand. She throws one up and catches it, then the next. Eventually, she speeds up the process just a little, but never enough to qualify as anything like real juggling. I understand this style of juggling, it is how I feel basically all the time. Things need to be a little slower, and there should be fewer balls, in order for me to juggle them successfully.
When I asked on Instagram the other day what y’all wanted me to write about, the number one question I got was “how do you juggle it all?” I laughed a little, and thought I’d just say “by dropping a lot of balls,” but then thought a more in-depth look at the ways I actually do balance (haha) all the crazy in our lives might be more helpful for you.
I wish I could tell you that I manage the busy-ness of our lives by rising early and reading/studying/exercising etc. But this happens only occasionally, when I sip my morning latte in the quiet house. Usually, I roll reluctantly from bed when I have no choice but to prod my children to get up for the day. Adam or I makes their lunches (unless we remembered to make them the night before) and we hurry them out the door by 7:30am. Then I shower (and/or don’t, depending on my day ahead lol), and get Zay ready for preschool. He gets dropped off at 9am and then I usually have until 3pm to work when I have to get moving towards afternoon carpool for the big kids.
Work means meetings with Architects or at the building for Blueprint 58. A team meeting on Tuesday mornings, or coffee with a potential mentor at Community Grounds. Sometimes, I head to our tiny office at the church for more alone time, or to the library to pick out another book while also getting some emails answered. This time also involves yoga 1-2 times a week, either at home via YouTube or at my new favorite Yoga studio in the neighborhood.
During carpool, I without-fail do the drive-through carpool rather than the faster “walker” version because: 1-I’m a little lazy and 2-I use this time to listen to my audio book (Becoming currently) or podcasts. It’s like a power-nap of alone time, which I take where I can get.
Two or three days a month, I go to Accent Decor to do photos for their catalog/website etc. Then I edit most of those pictures in the evenings after we wrestle our children finally into bed. Adam and I will watch one of our shows (The Good Place, New Amsterdam, and This is Us currently), while I edit pictures and he brings me snacks and/or wine. I end the evening with either a bath and book or reading in bed for at least 30 minutes. Rarely are we in bed before 11, which is why getting out of bed early continues to feel impossible.
After school, the kids usually sneak in a few minutes of homework before we head to our weekly activities. On Monday nights, Adam takes the boys to basketball and I take our kids to Caden’s basketball practice (unless I can convince him to “practice” by watching the older boys game, which is always my main goal). Tuesday nights are hip hop for Jayci . Then Wednesday nights, Adam takes the kids and all the boys to Bible study at the church while I go to writing class. Thursday nights are date nights, and the weekends are usually a combination of football games, graduation ceremonies, or our kids’ school performances etc. That usually means dinner out (Mexican obviously, this is my favorite place in Atlanta). Saturday we have basketball games and birthday parties or other mundane things, and Sunday Adam leaves to round up the boys for church while I get my own kids ready. This is decidedly less-heroic than it sounds since they usually show up in football jerseys (Zay) and whatever else they pull on because I dont really care that much.
And therein lies the biggest key to any semblance of making all these things happen: Letting go of some things.
My house (and car) are usually messy. Once a month or so, someone asks us for money (one of our moms group girls or one of the boys) and we will hire them to clean our house or car, because we have read “when helping hurts” and also because we desperately need help with cleaning. We can’t technically afford a cleaning service, but we always set aside money each month to help those who need some extra help from the neighborhood, which makes this a win-win solution for all of us.
Probably 3-4 nights a week we have an actual meal (made by Adam, obviously) and then we eat out 1-2 nights or throw a frozen pizza oven and if I’m feeling like an overachiever mom, I’ll add some frozen veggies in the microwave. Breakfast, most mornings, involves a Cliff bar or baggie of dry cereal (just keeping it real) unless its the weekend and Adam busts out pancakes or I make a healthy smoothie (rarely).
We are having everyone (all the boys and whichever friends would like to join us) over for the Superbowl like we do every year, and we (Adam) will make wings and ribs and lots of delicious dips. But I won’t worry much about cleaning up first, and we will definitely use paper plates and let our kids stay up late. Mostly, we are flexible, which is our best life skill.
This long and rambling and slightly embarrassing look at my juggling has made me tired, and I’m about due at my weekly yoga class. So what other questions do you have? There are many areas I’d love to improve on in our schedule. More discipline and healthy meals (for everyone), more intentional family time and time for me to read/study the Bible. Stolen snippets of prayer and reading throughout the day are lovely and reasonable, but not necessarily enough.
What tips do you have for me? I welcome any and all suggestions, seriously. I’m just over here throwing one ball up and then another one, relying on my less-than-stellar reflexes and grace for every ball that gets dropped.