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Getting in the way of my own juggle

Categories: Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?


I’ve just finished twisting our 12-year-old’s curls into about eleventy-billion tiny, two-strand twists, and my hands are still slick with conditioner. The little two are tucked in bed, stuffed animals clutched in their sweaty little hands. The other big kids are playing “Rock Band” with my husband, just a couple of feet away from me in the family room. It’s past bedtime, and bits of conversation (like “We should be concentrating our efforts on Killasaurus,” and “Daddy! We should play San Francisco now!” and “That’s such a sweet song and then they hit you with the ‘f’ word…”) grasp the edges of my concentration as I try to write.

I could — should, really — go to another room so I can get my work done. I mean, the work has to get done. But I’m loathe to leave. Even when my husband hands me the mic and asks me to sing “Maps” — an obvious sign that I’m not going to get much done if I’m also expected to sing lead — I don’t go.

Sometimes, the thing that really gets in the way when I’m trying to juggle work and family is myself.

Kids grow up so fast — too fast, really. I creep into my kids’ rooms late at night and wonder how that little kid turned into a 5-foot-8-inch 14-year-old overnight. My toddler strung four words together into a sentence earlier today, which boggled my mind because, really, wasn’t he just born? I don’t want to miss any of it. I miss enough of it as it is, some days.

So I compromise. If I finish two articles tonight, I can leave my computer off on Saturday and go horseback riding with the big kids. If I delay deadline for another hour, I can give the little kids their baths instead of asking my husband to help. I can take the long bubble bath I’ve been longing for, but only if I bring that book I’m supposed to be reviewing with me into the tub.

The compromising continues at the office, I’ll admit. If I work through lunch, I can leave early enough to beat rush hour and be home in time for dinner. If I stay focused and knock every item off the to-do list, I can slack a little tomorrow. If I bring some work home with me, we’ll beat deadline and everyone will be happy.

So, I really should decline the invitation to perform, carry my laptop into, say, the dining room, and start typing. But I don’t. I take the microphone and sing. Off-key, of course. I’ll stay up late and get my assignments done, but for now, at least, I’m with the band.

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8 comments so far...

  • I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only professional mom who has succumbed to Rock Band!!

    Ellen Hart  |  July 21st, 2008 at 12:12 am

  • Some of my best work comes late at night after a session with Rock Band. Or a bedtime story.

    And it’s good to know that other moms struggle with the same challenges.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Lisa Willard  |  July 21st, 2008 at 9:17 am

  • oh my god. I go through the same thing every day. I need to go work in the evening but then there is my little girl smiling and crawling. and then I hold her and sing songs and play with her and the work just waits.

    Vera Babayeva  |  July 21st, 2008 at 9:06 pm

  • You make me smile.

    Mandy at Dandysound  |  July 22nd, 2008 at 8:53 am

  • Aww, Lylah, I loved this. I am so very intimately familiar with so many of your if/then scenarios.

    And your sentence about your little kid suddenly morphing into a 5′8″ 14 year old made me verclempt.

    Kristin D  |  July 22nd, 2008 at 11:51 pm

  • You definitely made the right choice. 20 years from now you’ll remember the evenings playing rock band with the kids. Hooray for you for taking time to smell the roses!

    SoftwareMom  |  July 23rd, 2008 at 2:45 pm

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