Life's a Juggle

Whenever I tell people about my work and childcare arrangements, they always exclaim about how lucky I am.

Not many people can have the option of working 3 days a week, a mother to help with childcare, and a domestic helper to do household chores. I understand that and don't mean to be ungrateful.

However, the wonderfulness of this arrangement masks the complexities of stuff that I need to juggle. I often feel ashamed or afraid to even start talking about my struggles except to the closest friends. And even when I do talk about it, I hold back the rants and try to sound as factual as possible, not revealing the strong emotions I really feel.

What's there to be stressed about? You have so much help! I even had someone wave aside any difficulty that I may have as negligible because I have the "good life".

The truth is, I have to do more with this part-time arrangement as everyone thinks I have spare capacity given that I only work and care for baby X days a week each. So I end up with more of everything. The whirl of household management that often includes the needs of the extended family lands up on my lap along with the usual wifey roles, childcare, and 'work' work. I have to deal with deep convictions and opinions about bringing up Bubbles - the first and only grandchild on both sides of the family. I have to handle the difficult emotions of people around me. I am expected to perform. It is not unusual for me to be up late, long after the household sleeps.

Someone recently told me about her friend, a young mother, walking out on her family. She felt she was taking on everything. It was too much and she decided to give up, abandon her family and live for herself. If I had heard this story a few years ago, the naive me would have hurled judgement upon this woman. However, being a new mother myself in a society like ours, I can understand how a person can be driven to such actions. Not that I think it is the right thing to do.

Anyway, I recently read this article by Lysa TerKeurst on Finding Balance. She talks about finding the balance between Ministry and Family and shares a little about how she does it. Her context is not altogether the same as mine, but the flurry of comments in response to her article assured me that I am certainly not alone and that feeling the way I do is perhaps normal.

In my quiet moments with the Lord, I thank Him for placing me in this special position in the family to be of such influence. It is a season in life to be experienced, warts and all. I am able to do this because of God's grace and my love for the people that I serve.

Wow this has been a long post. I hope it encourages anyone else who may feel burnt out.

13 comments:

lovexiaolongbao said...

i won't say i totally understand but i do hear you. Hang in there pal...

lovexiaolongbao said...
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corsage said...

lxlb:
Thanks :) When are you coming back?

The Kam family said...

Corsage,
I have not been in your position. But I kinda understand you. As most of the mummies shared, a part time job (like your case, working 3 days a week) in Singapore is usually not a real part time job. It simply means squeezing a week worth of work into 3 days! And at the same time, people thought you are a part time SAHM also, so they expect you to take care of ALL of your bb's well being and the housework! Probably yours is the toughest of all sort! Look at it positively, do what you can do best and enjoy the time you can spend with your bubble!

Kelly (Life with a Mini) said...

I could have written this myself. I am in a VERY similar arrangement myself here. Having help suppresses my ability to say "I am not coping".

Being a new mother is a very steep learning curve, and to be able to keep it all together is hard!

Just wanted to give you a shout that you are certainly not alone in your situation. And thank you for sharing, I am glad that I am not alone in this either.

xxx

Jamie said...

I totally understand how you feel. I think only mothers know what you mean.. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...
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corsage said...

Kam:
Thanks for your encouragement. Thankfully the organisation I am with does scale down our projects when we are on part-time work. It is just that it is a new role I am in and I am still adjusting after all these months! It is great that your childcare arrangements are working out so nicely for you :)

Kelly:
Thanks for your shout out. I can't begin to tell you just how much I appreciate it! I'll pop by to read more about your experiences.

Jamie:
Thank you! Yes, I realise I knew so little about being a mother until I became one.

Yen Chiew said...

I can totally understand. We expect a lot of ourselves as a mother, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, sister, employee ... the list goes on. Whenever I feel like I can't juggle so many responsibilities, I just let go of them for a while. Go for a run, yoga class, facial, essentially some me-time. Then I feel a bit guilty about the self-indulgence, and I go back to the busy busy routine.

BeanBean said...

my dear corsage, i totally understand where you're coming from! both our arrangements and stresses are remarkably the same. thank you for sharing, again. need to squeeze out the time to reply to your e-mail soon :)

Cindy said...

Hey there...a bit of everything sometimes amount to a lot more! The whole is not the sum of its parts! But you've done so well so far! Jiayou!

lovexiaolongbao said...

Next week! I will text u.

corsage said...

yen chiew:
I hear you about the guilt. Someone emailed me an article about it. Will write more soon - an article to be shared!

beanbean:
You must be so busy with the new house! Take your time in replying, don't worry about it! Enough to know that I'm not alone in this.

cindy:
Nicely put! A whole not the sum of its parts!

lxlb:
See ya soon!