What’s the hardest thing to juggle?

March 23, 2010

Recently the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra asked on Facebook, “leave your comments on what you think would be the hardest thing in the world to juggle.” The answers ranged from octopi, to piranhas covered in baby oil, to Chinese finger traps. Amongst the amusing and creative replies were a few that rang with truth.

  • Family and career
  • hhummm… motherhood and career???
  • holding a new born baby and trying to catch eggs flying up in the air as you slip on the ice. or more realistic, family that don’t get along that well, new career/profession, pregnancy
  • 3 jobs and a small family of 3 children!!!

Family and career. An often debated subject – whether to stay at home with the kids, work from home, work out of the home. What is best for your family, what is best for your kids?

Obviously the answer is going to depend on the family. What meets your needs as a family unit, as a parental unit, financially? Finances are probably the largest factor in the matter, dictating the need to work for many. For some, the desire to be at home, to be with their children, is overwhelming. Through inventive solutions, sometimes strained relationships, and mostly likely strained bank accounts, some parents are afforded the opportunity to stay home. Then there are the rare few that are fortunate enough to be able to stay home, whether with a bit of a lifestyle change or not.

In our household, it was the desire to purchase a house that drives our decisions. We could afford the mortgage payments on my maternity benefit income, so we knew we could do it when I went back to work. We simply could not afford it if I stayed home.

So there is my lot in life – for right now anyway. I have to work. I have to be a mom. I have to be a wife. Or I could choose not to be on any of those, but I think life as I know it would fall apart pretty quickly if I did. So I juggle them all. It’s not a perfect set-up right now, but we muddle our way through. I spend a few hours with Penny in the morning – in between taking the dogs outside and her nap before rushing off to the dayhome. I go to work in the afternoon, which is quite ideal for me to be honest. But by the time I get home, it is 8:30 or later. That doesn’t leave much time with Court. If Penny’s not in bed by the time I get home, she goes as soon as I get there. We scrounge up some supper, we cram in a little PVR’d TV. Then it’s time for Court to go to bed. The poor um… guy gets up at 6 in the bloody morning. I’m not happy with the way this is. I don’t get enough time with Penny. I don’t get enough time with Court. We don’t get enough time together as a family.

Weekends come along and we try to cram in as much time together as we can. While grocery shopping, house supply shopping, family visiting, hospital visiting, dog walking, sleeping – just about everything except relaxing.

Can you suggest anything to help us connect until my schedule changes at work (not sure when or to what hours, but eventually it will change as I’m on a training shift)? I miss my life :(



  1. I miss you.

  2. I don’t know. That’s a lot of help, eh?

    When I returned to work after my first, I remember that feeling of not spending enough time with anyone. Trying to fit it all in and there just wasn’t enough time in the day. I had a job where I could (sort of) set my own hours. I ended up leaving as early as I could so I could get home earlier. I wouldn’t see my son at all until 5pm or so. But then I was running around making dinner and such and then it was his bedtime.

    It was just hard and I hated it. I’m so sorry I don’t have any decent suggestions for you.

    Is it possible to do some of the errand running off hours? I used to do the grocery shopping and such at night after my son was in bed. Your hours don’t sound like it would work…but maybe.

    Or if you feel like you’re visiting with so many people you’re missing out on family time, cut out some visits on the weekend. Don’t go anywhere. And just hang. I’m sure if you explain you need time to connect as a family just relaxing, people will understand.

  3. Hi there,

    I’m a working mom too, with two girls aged 3 and 6. After I had my youngest I searched high and low for a balance that would allow me to be at home more with my children. I did not want to go back to work but I have to work – we need my income right now. I ended up changing career’s and taking a slight pay cut so the kids weren’t in daycare as long each day. I think you are very lucky to get the mornings with your baby. As for the hubby…my husband and I meet three times a week for lunch and we spend every weekend together as a family. That’s all I can do right now so I make the most of it. It’s a tough transition…I’m sure you’ll get into the swing of things…give it some time.

  4. We make time for what is important… and we do whatever needs to be done to find our joy. You just have to decide the hard decisions – what is #1? I went back to work after my first. I thought like you, that we couldn’t afford for me to stay home. We had a life – a house – two cars – a lifestyle. We ate out all week. We had credit card debt. We had new clothes. When #2 came along, I gave up the clothes, I gave up the big house and we moved in to a smaller place that was more affordable. We got used cars. But my husband still decided I needed to go back to work (so I was 3 months home with #1 and 1 year home with #2). When my kids kept getting sick and we were all suffering the same burnout you are talking about, we made the decision to bring them home – to homeschool them – and to live on less. Now we have #3 and we have a 6th and 7th grader at home… and we live on one income… and we try to not go in to debt… and we try to eat at home and clip coupons. It isn’t easy. There are pitfalls and setbacks… but God has provided for us. I hope that you’ll find the path that will lead you where your heart is leading. :) Saying a prayer for you and your family.

  5. working from home is the best job that you can get, you will always find comfort in your home while working ;**

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