We all know too well that mothers everywhere juggle work, kids, relationships, school, sport, charity gigs – the list goes on. There seems to be no other way to describe it – because the juggle is just that, a constant juggle of multiple and often conflicting demands.
We also know that mothers succeed in the juggle because they perform each of their roles not perfectly, but wonderfully imperfectly – mother, career woman, tuckshop Mum, class parent, sports coach… Good enough is enough.
The thing is, what I want to know is the nitty gritty. I know that there are amazing tales of women everywhere juggling so many balls in the air at once, and they are candid in describing how they manage.
But what is often missing from those stories are the nuts and bolts behind what makes a particular household work. What is the glue that keeps a household together? Does Dad stay at home while Mum is the main breadwinner? Do they have an au-pair to help out? Is there an active Grandmother always on stand-by? Do they get ‘Hello Fresh’ every night?
I’m a curious person, fascinated by the daily minutiae in people’s lives – the unsaid stuff that we often take for granted. Take my household for example – my husband takes our toddler (in a pram!) running at 6am so I can shower, pack lunches and unpack the dishwasher without said toddler climbing into the dishwasher. It makes a huge difference to our mornings.
Other people might have super compliant kids that eat, get dressed and seamlessly get out the door most mornings on time. We are not that family.
Some families might have the luxury of a hardworking housekeeper and others might be rich in family support. Most likely, Mum might just stay up late each night – drowning in life admin and making costumes frantically at 11pm on the eve of book week.
I’d love to know exactly how you get through each day – do you pack lunches the night before? When do you exercise? What day is grocery day? When are outdoor chores really done?
I think we would find that if all these questions were answered, every family has their own routine, support network and little bag of tricks to help them function. Where we can, it’s wonderful to learn from others and take on their tips but we must recognise that each family is different – there is no perfect way to execute the juggle.