Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spinning Plates - Part 1

Spinning plates
Spinning plates by erikaflynn, on Flickr

This blog post started from a Facebook status I posted today that read:
I'm having one of those days where I feel like everyone else has their stuff together and I'm the only one dropping the ball (or two or five). If I start working on getting one non-working area together, another one that was working seems to fall apart. I just can't seem to get everything working well all at once. Please tell me it's not just me! (Or, if you *do* have everything together, how do you do it all?!)
A friend replied with:
Ok so here's the one has it 100% together 100% of the time. Social media like Facebook seems to perpetuate the myth of Superwoman. We only post triumphs and never defeats! I can usually keep about 50% of my plates spinning. The others are usually crashing to the floor around me.
I started typing a reply, and after a very short while, I realized I should just blog it. (My Facebook friends are probably grateful! LOL) I also realized there will need to be a "Part 2" to this post, which will come later. But let's focus on my personal expectations for now. So here goes!

To a certain extent she is right, though I'm also already aware of what she's saying. I'm not necessarily comparing myself to the Facebook/blog version of people. I do, however, need to realize that even with my real life friends, I don't see them every day (or week, or month, or even year). I only see them occasionally, so I do miss their "bad days," even if they seem to be managing a whole lot more than I ever can. It is also part of the reason I try to share both my successes and my failures on Facebook, Twitter, and here on my blog. I'm just as human as the next person, and it doesn't take much looking to see that I definitely do NOT have it all together. Not even close most days.

Then, on a whim, I actually started writing down all of the things I felt I should be doing in my life. Perhaps I have it more together than I feel I like I do? Maybe I'm doing better than I thought? (Note, this is my list for me; your list may differ.)

First off, and in this order, I need to be a:
  1. good mom (meet basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), love, support, guidance (and discipline, when required), homework, hopefully with dollops of fun and enrichment)
  2. good wife (love, support, time together sans child)
  3. good employee (job duties, continuous learning, maintain contacts/networking)
In addition to those three, I feel I should also (in no particular order):
  1. spend in-person time with friends and family
  2. keep in touch with other friends and family via Facebook/social media/email
  3. be a good housekeeper (that is distinct and separate from being a good mom/wife, IMO)
  4. cook at home (also NOT inherently part of being a good mom/wife)
  5. monitor health/exercise/lose weight
  6. do/arrange home improvements (interior decor, upgrades/improvements, etc.)
  7. crafts/reading/hobbies/time for myself
  8. blog (different from social media, to me)
  9. travel (including the planning; partially relates to being a good mom/enrichment)
  10. go to church (this has never successfully become part of our routine)
  11. take pictures/be better at photography (so we/Luke have pictures/memories to look back on)
  12. maybe watch TV or a movie (apparently, this should be optional in order for everything else to even have a chance of happening)
That's 15 things total, not to mention those I'm almost definitely forgetting at the moment, and also not including things that I consider impossible (or nearly so; it certainly would be impossible to do them all, which will be the Part 2 of this topic).

Even after over 15 years of being a "real" adult, I have yet to figure out how to get all 15 of these plates spinning simultaneously. Most of the time, I'd like to think I do at least a fair job on 1 through 3 (some days are better than others; last Tuesday was a terrible day in both the mom and wife departments). They are at the top of the list for a reason: they are the three most important things in my life and the ones that get the most focus, time, and care. As for numbers 4 through 15, I can only manage a few of them with varying degrees of success at any given moment. I seem to only be capable of doing 4-6 of them well at any given moment. That is substantially less than half, so my friend is handling things quite a bit better than I am. But, as soon as I try to pick up one more plate and set it spinning, one (or more!) of the others that had previously been going along well shatters as it hits the ground, no longer successfully part of the routine.

Right now, this past week or so, my strengths seem to be numbers 5 (social media), somewhat 11 (blog), 12 (travel planning), and 15 (ignore that my DVR is over 65% full). Blogging will probably be dropped in favor of trying to get cooking at home and health/weight back on track. Everything else just ain't happenin'. I could probably get up to the half mark if I let TV drop, but... but... I don't want to! ::pout:: (What can I say, I like movies and TV). Perhaps one day, I will conduct a grand experiment and give up TV for a while and see how my plates spin then. But today is not that day.

Anyway, just my current ponderings on the matter. What about you? What does your list look like?
Currently feeling: trying to hang in there

1 comment:

  1. First of all, you are doing a fantastic job combining 1-3! Those are the foundation, the middle and the topping of your life right now, and anything else you manage is a bonus! So you don't do a brilliant job at those 3 100% of the time? Relax! You're human, not a perpetual motion machine! Your body rhythm fluctuates, sleep patterns alter, your husband and son have different rhythms which you have to adjust to......sorry, Erin, life is a roller coaster, not a train running on rigid tracks.

    Think back to when you were a new wife, trying to adjust to running a home for the first time and getting used to having a husband. Then you had L, and (I think) were a full time wife and mother, juggling another plate, coping with a routine that suddenly went out the window because a baby has its own built in clock which isn't necessarily the same as yours. Back to work - L at school - another plate to juggle, then more as L started activities outside the home which you had to take into your schedule. You didn't stop doing laundry because he went swimming, you didn't give up cleaning when he played soccer: you just added more plates and tried to keep them all spinning.

    I've been married for 45 years, had 2 children who have long since left home, have an ageing husband who retired from work 14 years ago. It sounds as if I have it easy doesn't it? Well, believe me, I'm still trying to keep all my plates spinning and am busier than ever! Unfortunately my energy levels are considerably less so I go from one extreme of rushing between activities to falling asleep in my chair!

    Don't even try to compare your life achievements with anyone else: even a working mom with a child the same age as your has different schedules, skills, priorities. Believe in yourself and never mind the rest of the world - no one can be perfect 100% of the time, and you can betcha life that you are doing far better than some people some of the time, even if you do less well than others some of the time too. And have a cyber hug, cos it sounds as if you need one :)


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