A Balancing Act Of Epic Proportions

by Joelle Wisler
Fertnig / iStock

I was standing there holding my 4-year-old who was having a complete and total freak-out because she had just picked a scab on her knee. She just knew that she had seen the tiniest speck of blood come out of her body, and she is a total weirdo about blood. A Band-Aid would have helped, but unfortunately, we had just run out of bandaids because, well, we have 4-year-old who likes to pick her scabby knees. I had yet to look at the obvious gaping wound, and when I did, of course, there was no blood.

It was 7 in the morning, and besides holding my hysterical 4-year-old with her imaginary injury, I was currently trying to make breakfast for four people, unload the dishwasher, get a load of laundry going, check in on work emails, make a grocery list, and mentally prepare for a day with my kids because it was summer.

I had not slept in the middle of the night because sometimes I just don’t sleep in the middle of the night, and therefore I didn’t get up to do the two hours of work that I should have done before everyone else started to move. Once they wake up, it’s game over. I was feeling the snowball effects of sleeping in from my overly chatty frontal lobe: I need to write this by then, and then I need to fill out the paperwork for the kids’ camp, and then I need to call that dude about the septic tank, and I need to email so-and-so, and I didn’t exercise because I was sleeping, and now I’m going to be crabby. And, oh yes, I promised the kids I would take them swimming today.

What was I thinking?!

It was just then when my husband came in, freshly exercised and showered and said, “Ugh. I don’t feel like going to work today.”

At that moment, I was completely filled with a jealous rage that honestly surprised the crap out of me. I didn’t say anything to him about my newfound well of hate because I didn’t need to add “Have an epic fight with my husband” on the list of things I was currently doing. I just said, “Mmhmm,” and went on soothing our fakey fakerson with her fake ouchy and maybe holding her just a bit too tightly.

My husband went to work unscathed. I went on juggling our life like I do. The rage-filled moment passed.

But all through that day, I couldn’t erase the image of me blasting out of the driveway each morning, my hair streaming behind me in the wind, the car radio all to myself, no one hollering at me, “Drive slower! I’m gonna puke!” The image had filled me with a longing that I hadn’t even realized I had. Oh, to have the entire day ahead of me — filled with me focusing on just work, not having to stop to wipe a butt or say, “What are you doing?! That’s freaking mud!” when they do all of the crazy shit that they do with mud.

Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I enjoy being a WAHM. I have chosen this life and it works.

But…it’s a balancing act of epic proportions.

I have worked full-time outside of the home since becoming a mom and know that the image I conjured is not always true. I know this. And I’m not going to wish this time away. I know that it’s a blip and that someday I will have endless hours of only-me time. My kids won’t need (or want) me as much very soon. But at those moments when I’m literally covered in unknown sticky stuff and trying to keep the kids from destroying each other via stick wars and struggling through maintaining my writing career, I can’t even imagine the luxury of my husband’s life.

Just as I’m sure he can’t imagine being able to stay home all day in his pj’s, playing with the kids, taking naps in hammocks, and you know, writing a little here and there as he probably believes my life to be.