Some Balls are made of rubber and some are made of glass
These days it would be difficult to find a parent who didn’t feel some sort of overwhelming emotion with the day to day activities of family life. With the pandemic still on our minds and dictating much of our daily lives, many parents have taken on numerous other roles in addition to the ones they were filling pre-pandemic.
It can feel like a balancing act, an impossible task, a circus, a tornado, the comparisons are endless . . . the sentiment, the same. We. Are. Stressed. . . We. Are. Overwhelmed. . . But let’s not forget, above all else, We. Are. Only. Human.
These days we find ourselves feeling like there is always more to get done than there are hours in the day to complete those tasks. We are parents, caregivers, employees, virtual teacher assistants, home school educators, chefs, therapists, mediators, confidants, activities directors, and so much more. We may even be struggling with feelings of failure, or like we just aren’t measuring up to what is expected of us.
Times are hard. We have been dealt a heavy burden and the only way to contend with it is to dole out a heavy dose of grace when it comes to our self talk. We can only do so much, and that is ok!
How do you do it?
My husband and I took a walk together the other day. Like many, he has been making some decisions and changes that have been heavily weighing on him recently and I’ve been trying to be supportive and help him avoid decision fatigue and burnout.
Midway through our walk he turned and looked at me and said “Babe? How do you it?”
“Do what?” I laughed.
“All of it. You balance so much and you never show any signs of stress. You are always happy and calm.”
I stopped and turned to face him and said, “You of all people know I have not always been like this. You have seen me at my worst. You have seen me crumble under the crushing weight of anxiety and stress. I just handle it better now.”
“We all get stressed. I have learned to not overcommit. I have learned to give myself abundant grace. And I have learned that some of the balls I am juggling are made of glass and some are made of rubber. The glass ones I protect with all my heart, but those rubber ones are allowed to bounce away every now and then. I’ll pick them up later . . . or never.”
He then said, “You do a good job at not showing stress.”
I replied, ”Oh but I do show signs of stress often. I just recognize them, listen to them, and take steps to address them immediately. When I say I need a pick-me-up and I go to Starbucks it’s likely because whatever I am working on that day has me feeling like I need a break. When I say I need to clear my head and go for a walk, it’s likely because the noise and clutter of the day has gotten to be too much. When I say my jaw is tight or my head hurts and I go take a bath, that’s likely stress. When I say hey let’s do pizza tonight, it’s probably because I just can’t pull enough energy to cook and I need a break.”
We all show signs of stress! It is normal and healthy that we recognize these signs and take small steps in addressing them before they become overwhelming.
Sometimes it might seem like some people handle stress better than others, and maybe that’s true, but it is essential that we learn to listen to the cues our mind and body are giving us and find ways of answering their call to action.
Give yourself some room to breathe
Can you take a moment today and identify the balls that you are juggling? What balls are made of glass? What balls are made of rubber? What balls are made of something in-between, that if they crack, it’s not the end of the world?
Relieve yourself of the unnecessary pressure to perform perfectly in every role you have been dealt this year. It is not possible. It is not healthy. You deserve to be given some room to breathe.
Jillian is a mother of two, mental health advocate and creator of Moms for Mental Health, and social work student at Salisbury School of social work. She is passionate about family, health and wellness, and spreading joy like glitter! She lives in Cape Saint Claire with her husband, children, and crazy dog.