Balancing Career, Family and Losing Things…

Balance.  Sometimes it’s impossible for me to balance family, career, marriage, kids, friends, writing, keeping up with emails, showering…  okay I do usually get the showering part in there somehow, but other things tend to fall through the cracks.  At the moment I’m consumed with work related things and so the showering part seems like kind of a pain.  Though the old “french bath” notion can be kind of awful if you are sensitive to perfumes and cologne, as I am.  The combination of body odor being masked by an aggressive dose of perfume, no matter how expensive, makes me a little nauseous just thinking about it.   So no, foregoing a shower isn’t an option, but other things fall by the way side or are delegated to others.  And while all this is going on I know I’m not alone.  I know others hold down full-time jobs, have kids, manage to get them fed and into fairly clean clothes and off to school without too many mishaps.

The basics do get taken care of, though Nic’s question of whats for dinner, and my answer, “Ummmm…. how about a bowl of Cheerios?” didn’t exactly gain me any parenting of the year points, Nic didn’t seem too traumatized and Em was thrilled.  In fact, she was already happily digging into her bowl of Cheerios, which is her second favorite meal falling only behind pancakes as her first choice.  I only learned a few months ago that Nic had begun wearing his school uniform to bed at night, “it’s easier, Mom” and I’m pleased to say I put a stop to that, though I was proud of his creative problem solving and told him so.   I am grateful for the small things…

Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote a piece for the Atlantic last summer entitled: Why Women Still Can’t Have it All .  That piece caused a stir, though I never was able to work out exactly why.  My only issue was with the word “still”, implying that we should be able to have it all or that someone else does, but women don’t.  The truth is, it seems to me, no one “has it all”.   I’m not even sure what that means really, but that’s probably not the point.  I did feel an uncontrollable urge to argue the definition of the word “all” and was only stopped by the lack of interest anyone I attempted to discuss this with showed.  The tricky balance of work, family, mother, wife, friend, while maintaining some semblance of sanity is one I continue to look for, but never seem to actually find.  Things just do get forgotten or lost in the shuffle.

I have mail that remains unopened, I know I received some emails that I now cannot find, which require answering.  I’ll try to find them later.  I know there are things I can’t remember that were on my to do list, if only I could remember where I put that list and it’s not a coincidence that the single most common question in my family is:  “have you seen my glasses?”  that or “anyone seen my keys/phone/wallet?”  And the predictable answer, “if I could find my glasses I’d help you look.”  Nic thinks all of this is hilarious and has taken to falling on the floor in feigned horror when either of us ask, our voices suggesting the panic we are already feeling, no matter how many times in a single day this occurs.  That both his parents seem so completely incapable of keeping track of these everyday items does not portend well for either of our children, but at the moment this thought hasn’t occurred to them and we aren’t planning to mention it.

Em (wearing her favorite hat) made it out of the house this morning in one piece…




19 responses to “Balancing Career, Family and Losing Things…

  1. Your glasses are on top of your head. Oops, those are my glasses. At least now I can help you look.
    I don’t know how anyone truly balances “it all”. I beat myself up about it all the time, and I don’t even want “it all”. I just want to be able to smugly say I decided to not balance “it all” instead of needing to acknowledge that I never could.

  2. To me, having it “all” is simply being happy, no matter how you define it. Some women couldn’t imagine life without their career, others are happy to stay home. Whatever works that makes you happy, I say. The rest is just white noise bull#hit.

    I’m currently trying very hard to finish my schooling and get my business off the ground. Even though I already have my hands full with the house and kids, I’ve figured out that I really do need something that is just for “me”. Luckily, my field is such that I really should be able to work from home and carve out a nice little career for myself. I already know I’m good at it, but it’s been on the back burner for awhile.

    Meanwhile, your post reminded me I haven’t taken anything out yet for dinner….;)

  3. Chou Chou Scantlin

    Oh, dear, dear Ariane! Can’t you see how much you do? All you are? As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff! You already have it all! Laugh at the screwball comedy we call life. We all wish we were perfect, and our lives flawless, but they are not. I have no right to advise you, but, when I think the way you are thinking, I take it as a warning I am heading for a meltdown, and avoiding that becomes the priority. I pull back from all but the most basic responsibilities, even at the risk of offending, as I am no good to anyone if I cannot function. I have learned, as I am sure many of your autistic friends and parents, that “all” is a very singular objective, and that is peace of mind. Be still. Breathe. Be grateful. Then you will feel strong and live your best life. You know this. You just forgot it today. 👼

  4. I too read the article and others like it and you know, this is my conclusion. Because of course I know you are dying to know my conclusion… yes we can have it all, but to have it all we must be patient. We seriously need to stop being a bunch of Verucas. (the spoiled brat in Willy Wonka) “I want it and I want it NOW!” Said with one hellavu foot stomp. Why do we think we have everything, RIGHT NOW? Why can’t we have some of this now, work on that later, etc. When my kids were young, when I was in the muck with Ted, I didn’t have time to work and thus didn’t have the money for many material things nor did I have a social life. I had to focus on the primarily task at hand. And you know, because I did focus on it, I now can work (well up till last week, but that’s a different story) and I have the material things I want and I have about as much of a social life as I care to have. My point is we need to start looking at “having it all” as an over the course of a lifetime thing.

  5. p.s. This is a very good, thought provoking post, Ariane.

  6. Ah, yes. We think we know what “it all” is. And that “it all” is necessary. And that “it all” will make us important, successful, or …. happy. xo

  7. If you have Cheerios for dinner I’m pretty sure you do have it all!
    My list of shameful dinners includes; eggs (any way), chicken and corn soup (from the can), and two-minute noodles.. if I’m feeling extra guilty I cut up whatever raw vegies I have in the fridge and serve those too.. sometimes with dip.

  8. ‘Breakfast for dinner’ is sometimes offered as an option at our house and is often greeted with delight. Somehow it has been billed to feel like comfort food. (I know – diabolical – right!!)

    I get the seeking balance thing… I don’t have it…

    I have often reinforced the message with my children, “Want what you have!!” I wish I was better at living that and not just preaching it to my kids.

    And to make you feel better – I can always find my glasses – ALWAYS – but that is because I cannot see a thing without them. *Smirk – At least your vision is still good enough to take them off now and then. 🙂

    Hugs to you for again hitting a home run with this post.

  9. Oatmeal is my go to meal. I can nearly always cope with it and it fills you up. As an added bonus if your milk has gone solid sugar and margarine will do.

    As for having it all I think you can if you are selective about what that means. From here you have it all. You have two children, a husband who seems to love you from what he says here, careers both artistic and useful. That’s the whole package for me. If you want all that and still not to have cheerios for supper every so often well that’s a different definition of all.

    Perfection is impossible 100 percent of the time. While you can be correct nearly always in a very objective area life is too random to hope for perfect. Happy, content and good enough for today usually have to do.

    You are right to take objection to the notion that’s there is something special about being a woman that keeps us from having it all that isn’t an issue for others. No one, in the history of humankind has ever had it all by any other method than concluding all the things people mean by all when they write silly articles are not actually the important parts of all.

    Much of my father’s family immigrated here after my Uncle who had it all but the standards of those articles. He worked very hard, became very rich, was able to help his family, and he kept thinking what a great life he and his wife would have when he retired and sold the business.

    She got sick a few years before that would happen. No one ever really understood what put them together or why they loved each other so much but his pain when he took me to lunch after visiting briefly with her so he could turn her over, left a lasting impression as he felt he had pretty well missed the point and if he could do it over he would work less hard and live some of his dreams sooner. He felt he had it all the way that area defines it, but would soon lose the person he meant to share that all with in old age.

    So you Arianne have it all including the extra special bonus Cheerio dinners. Those will stand out in the minds of your children more than the all the foodgroup ones anyway. One day you will be only a memory for them and in our memories I don’t think we ever give our loved ones bonus points for cooking, cleaning, and finding things. You love and are loved. That’s all.

    • Gareeth, I read this and just felt so happy. Death is, of course, the great leveler. This morning I woke Nic as I usually do, by going into his room, sitting on the edge of his bed and stroking his hair until he woke up. But this morning instead of then leaving I stayed. He put his arms around me and rested his head in my lap. Then Em came in and sat with us, leaning her body up against me and I thought of you and your words. Paradise. And yes. I do. I have it all. Thank you for the reminder.

  10. zack would only eat one type of cereal for dinner until he was about 6 years old! He also went through a stage where for several months he only ate one type of cereal, mashed banana or organic, No sugar etc peanut butter. The cereal he likes is one that turns into a porridge type stuff, very little texture and No crunch!
    I came to the conclusion that as long as he was healthy and his food choices did not include junk food or artificial colouring . . He would survive quite fine!
    So far so good!
    Enjoy your cheerio dinners 🙂

  11. I could have written this. I echos my reality so closely as a spcial needs mum.

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