As a little girl, I had a short list of possible dream professions. A teacher; a singer; an author; a counsellor for women considering abortion and a trapeze artist. An interesting conglomeration of fields! The trapeze artist was probably the most short-lived dream and yet probably something I needed the most training in. I never suspected that I’d walk a tightrope but now, in the throes of motherhood, being a stay-at-home mom, a house keeper and a wife, I find that every day, I’m walking a tightrope.
It requires skill, balance, determination and faith!
I feel far from skilled and consider myself a bit of a Charlie Chaplin – the tightrope shuddering violently beneath me. And yet, juggling all of the responsibilities does require skill. It may not feel that I manage to keep all the balls in the air, but I’ve had to realise that if my family are clothed and fed and cared for, then I’ve got some skill. It’s hard to multi-task and to carry on even when you feel like you have nothing more to give. I have come to realise that if, in spite of the fact that I have a busy toddler undoing the tidying I’ve done and feeding and changing a baby, I manage to cook dinner, wash the dishes, do the laundry and wash the cloth nappies, I’ve done well! It often won’t feel like any major achievement but you’ve managed an impressive amount for having little people demanding the earth from you!
Balance on a tightrope is key – there is always the tension of what needs to be done and what is done. The demands on women as wives, mothers and housekeepers are demanding and relentless. I can’t think if there are toys and dishes on every surface area in the house. If we are going to have clean underwear (or nappies), a clean plate and have something edible on said plate, the job needs to be done. But, I am not only a house keeper. I am also a wife and mother. And, although my inclination is to tackle the housework until it’s done (hilarious!) then my husband would never have a chance to catch up with me each evening and my daughters wouldn’t get a mommy who reads stories and cuddles them. When I don’t get the balance right, my husband walks in the door and gets a verbal checklist of all his “duties”. After cleaning the kitchen, I fall into bed and don’t say “goodnight” because I’m already asleep. My daughters get toys thrown in their direction or follow me around the kitchen crying to be picked up. I can’t walk around all day with children attached to me but I also can delay the housework. Time management requires balance. Sometimes, I just need to stop washing the last two nappies and cuddle my baby. Sometimes, I need to put my children down and make supper even if it means they are trailing me around or crying in a chair. Sometimes I need to leave the kitchen counters, make a cup of tea and catch up with my husband. Other times, I need to leave him upstairs and wash the breakfast dishes for the next day.
Walking a tightrope requires determination. Ladies, you will most certainly wobble and fall off more times than you will stay on in the beginning. It’s an art. If we throw in the towel when the laundry isn’t done instead of throwing it into the washing machine at 9pm, we’re not going to get anywhere. It’s okay to cry in the shower but then, we need to determine to carry on. We are the people our family look to for peace, security and love in the home. I once read that the wife/mom sets the tone for the household. When I’m frazzled and grumpy, so is everyone else! When I’m patient, kind and loving, my family respond with gentleness and cheer. I need to determine not to give up even when it feels like I can write off the day before 6am. Like a trapeze artist, I need to pick myself up and get back on the tightrope. We will fall off again, no matter how practised we are. They don’t have safety nets for nothing! Be determined to be determined.
In all honesty, I can be skilled, have balance down to a fine art and have the determination of a two-year-old to get his way, but if I don’t have faith, I will burn out and mess up in a big way. I thought the life I’m living now would bring me the most satisfaction achievable on this earth. Not so. Each time I think a clean house will satisfy, it’s never enough. When I think being a mom will bring me fulfilment, I am disappointed by the monotony and demands of motherhood. My joy and delight needs to be in the fact that I am loved by my Father. If I don’t find my joy and satisfaction in Him, I will not set foot on that tightrope. I’ll be too scared and too despondent to carry on trying. If faith takes centre stage, balance and skill can be mastered.
Eyes fixed straight ahead on the Father, let’s take a breath and conquer that tightrope, ladies!
Photo Credit: @Sebastian VoortmanTags: balance, balancing, children, cleaning, demands, determination, faith, family, father, God, haven, home, house, Jesus, job, laundry, mother, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, peace, pressures, priorities, security, skill, tension, tightrope, walking