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Juggling Sand: When Doing It All Becomes the Norm

“Another day, another duty.” I remember when this felt like my mantra on a consistent basis.

I can recall feeling quite busy when my children were babies. I was working long distance everyday. I was taking my small children to daycare early in the morning: getting them dressed, fed, calmed, and out of the door. This routine worked on a good day when I did not have to concern myself with one child being sick, having to find an alternate caretaker or consider taking off work with the fear of not being paid. I often completed this task without the assistance of my spouse because he worked a position that required travel 50% of the time.

As a working mother, after getting my children to daycare, I would sometimes struggle with “mommy guilt.” I would quickly have to dismiss these emotions because I had responsibilities at work which required me to be focused and in service to others. After work I rushed to get my kids, praying they were not the last to be picked up. (Remember, “mommy guilt”.) Then I would arrive home, try to make a semi-nutritious home cooked meal, have playtime, bath time, engage in a good children’s book and all other calming regiments that come with bedtime. This again, is when there aren’t any hiccups and we know with kids, there are often hiccups.

When I reflect on this time in my life, though joyous and purposeful, it also felt like I was juggling sand.

I was trying to keep all the balls moving in the right direction perfectly. I worked hard to excel in every area in life; as a mother, spouse, professional, friend, sister, daughter, etc. But as we all know, it is impossible to have a life of perfection. In this pursuit, I often ended up overwhelmed, overworked, anxious, with a poor sense of self, resentful, and just plain tired.

Do you feel life is getting the best of you?

Are you overwhelmed with responsibilities? Does everyone need you?

Do you over obligate yourself, and never have enough space or time for you?

Do you feel like you are trying to hold all the balls of your life together but it feels as if it is just running through your hands with no firm foundation?

If your response is yes, you are probably juggling sand. I want you to stop and ask yourself:

Are my current behaviors working for me or against me?

What role do I play in my current dissatisfaction?

Do I make time for myself?

How do I feel about asking for help?

It is true that different seasons of life come with various levels of busyness. Being a young working professional with young children is one of those. However, during that busy season of my life, I could have done more to care for myself and acknowledge my needs.

I am asking you not to become so busy that you forget about yourself. You are able to be better to others when you are good to yourself.

If you are at a place in your life and you feel overwhelmed, acknowledge it; even if it's only a whisper.

Take a deep breath.

Give yourself permission to take a respite.

Engage in something you enjoy.

Connect in prayer or quietness.

Let someone know how you feel and accept help when appropriate.

And always know, “this too shall pass."


About the author: Kim Langston is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has provided therapeutic services within the Chicagoland area over 20 years. She believes in the ability for people to change, evolve and heal. Kim is continually grateful for all those that have allowed her to have a seat at the table of their lives.

Learn more about the author of this post: Kim Langston, LCSW


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