Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spinning plates

Have you ever seen those performers who spin plates on the end of sticks? Once they get one going, they start another one spinning. On and on it goes until the crowd applauds. As a mommy, I feel like I'm one of those plate spinners.

Eight years ago I had my oldest son and started the first plate spinning. Completely devoid of motherly knowledge (I had never even babysat an infant), I was scared to death that plate would fall and break. But it didn't.

Five years ago, I set the next plate to spinning when I had my second son. With experience under my belt, I was less concerned about letting that plate fall. I knew what I was doing. However, when post-partum blues hit me like a brick, that stick got shakey. On the advice of a wonderful friend, I sought help from my doctor, and a situation that could have spun out of control didn't.

Eighteen months ago, I added another plate to the repertoire. I was a pro at this by now. Everything has run amazingly smoothly, and every day I am thankful for my three blessings.

In addition to those mommy plates, I have set other plates spinning. When you're a mom, you take on other responsibilities all the time to enhance the lives of your children. Whether it's helping with homework, having one-on-one conversations about the bully in class, reading bedtime stories, wiping tears of frustration, patching up skinned knees, being the loudest cheerleader on the soccer sidelines... There's much work to be done. By now, I'd say I have at least 50 plates spinning. It's a delicate balancing act.

I read the other day about another mommy who just couldn't seem to find time to focus on herself because life had become just too hectic. She had written in on a forum asking for advice. It was a nice reminder that even though we as mommies feel it is our duty to put everyone else first, we also need to set some time out for ourselves.

I am extremely grateful to have a husband that allows me to do this every day. The minute he comes home from work, I hand him the kids, and he becomes the juggler for at least an hour. During that time, I workout. They know not to bother me unless someone is bleeding or unconscious. We don't even answer the phone. So if you call my house between 6 and 7:30 p.m., chances are no one will answer. I'm busy with "me" time and he's busy with "buddy" time. I think every mom needs that time to reboot, collect herself and remind herself that she is important too.

After all, without her steady hands, who would keep those plates spinning?

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