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Katy England Katy England
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edge staff writer


Butter scraped across too much bread

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I think everyone knows what it's like to juggle things. I'm certainly not the first person to walk the raggedy line between work and family. You think when you have a family there are only two things to balance, but in reality it's like playing a game of Twister, the colors all representing different social or economic obligation.

Right foot, blue: work. Left foot, red: general care of children. Right hand, yellow: try to have friends. Left hand, green: maintain social life for kids, yourself, and stay in touch with family.

Before long, you're twisting in all different directions trying to meet and maintain different aspects of these things.

It's weird being a strange combination of both stay at home and career person. You find yourself oddly envious of those who can be wholly one or the other just as I'm sure there is a mixture of envy on the part of those who have full-time careers or stay at home full time. It's something we can't help but do as humans - to look at each other and compare. We daydream about how stress-free the other person must be and how lucky they are. And we're usually incredibly wrong.

But back to my game metaphor. Despite its initial difficulties, you're pretty awesome at this game. Right hand, yellow: change them for bedtime. Left foot, blue: make healthy meals. Right foot, yellow: take them outside, by yourself. Left hand, mauve: wait, what the heck is mauve?

And just like that, things get more complicated. Someone needs glasses or extra hearing screenings or gets sick. You have to work, no one is napping, and your spouse has a mandatory meeting to attend. You forgot to tidy up the night before and none of the cups are ready for morning juice, the car won't start and you're already late for the doctor's appointment, and was it really a good idea to attempt a new hobby at this point?

It's at those times when you feel like Wile E. Coyote pressed flat against a canyon wall that looks like a painted train tunnel. But it's normal. It's all part of the conditioning. Training, if you will. Because as kids get older, they keep adding new things, and new things, and new things. I came to the realization that I'm just practicing for later, when I'll have to figure out how to coordinate the schedules of three different human beings in addition to my own. This will seem like a dream.

Just because you feel like you hit that wall doesn't mean you're done. It just means you're tired. And there's nothing wrong with that. Take it as a chance to take a breath, look at your to-do list and pick something easy and let yourself ignore the books and toys on the floor and the dishes in the sink.

And though this may seem like a pep-talk for you or other moms and dads out there who are tired, really, it's a pep-talk for me.


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