Jugglers. There are those that juggle three balls at a time and those that juggle six bowling pins. Us, parents, well we juggle A LOT. And, when we drop one of our balls, the adoring public is usually not there is clap us on with encouragement to try again.
Like parenting, juggling is a physical skill. Juggling is an art that involves the manipulation of things usually completed by tossing objects into the air and keeping them there. Parenting, on the other hand, is also an art, but it involves the manipulation of time, people and schedules. The more children you are parenting the more skill that is required. Juggling has even been described as “the controlling of patterns in time and in space” and I very much contend that parenting is a lot like that.
For jugglers, their biggest fear, I suspect, is dropping the ball, as such would likely result in the physical loss of their audience or at minimum, the loss of the respect of their audience. As for most parents, I believe we have the same fear of “dropping the ball;” worrying that such may result in judgment from the disapproving public, other mom “jugglers” or from our children and family. We also fear that a ball may break and be irreparable if dropped.
Well, you know what? I WANT YOU TO DROP THE BALL. I AM INSTRUCTING YOU TO DROP THE FREAKIN’ BALL. Here is why — one less ball in the air is one less thing to juggle. It allows for you to focus on the balls that remain in the air. Need to drop another one? Do it. You should prioritize those balls.
You will also come to understand that, sometimes, when we drop the “ball” it draws our attention to the true importance, or lack thereof of , of that particular ball. Now that that one ball is on the floor, it doesn’t seem so big and scary anymore, does it? On occasion, the dropping of a ball will also serve inform you if that ball is something that can and will bounce back. Maybe you should leave it gone. And think about it, if the none of the balls ever dropped, then you would be constantly anxious expecting one to. Instead, you can be calm knowing that that a drop in inevitable.
Listen, if you are a parent and “juggler of all things”, you have to accept that the life of a parent is a constant balancing act. You will not be able to always be balanced and have all the balls in the air, all the time. Yes, the better you prepare yourself, the more likely you can keep them in the air, but if and when you drop a ball, and I want you to drop one….keep your balance. Be flexible. Find a way to laugh about it.
Parenthood is like a circus. Nobody knows how you do it and sometimes, neither do you — but it gets done.
If and when you are a member of the general public and you see a struggling parent drop the ball, do your best to not outwardly mock him/her or internally “boo” them. Show them compassion and admiration because parenthood takes lots of practice, skill and patience.
Will you let a ball drop today? I’m going to let the laundry ball drop today, because heck, thats the same ball I let drop everyday. And, I would totally be okay if that ball decided not to bounce back.