I came across this really interesting concept relating to juggling work and kids. Someone asked Nora Roberts how to balance writing and kids, and she said that the key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass. And, if you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritize catching the glass ones. Nora was not talking about juggling five balls. She was talking about juggling 55 balls. The balls don’t represent “family” or “work.” There are separate balls for everything that goes into each of those categories. “Deadline on project Y” or “crazy sock day at school.”
And her point was not to “prioritize kids over work.” It was some kid stuff is glass and some is plastic, and sometimes, to catch a glass work ball, you have to drop a plastic family one, and that is okay. And the reverse is also true. Sometimes, to catch a glass kid ball, something at work has to slide, and that is okay, too. If you are juggling 55 balls, some are going to drop, so you have to focus not on broad categories, but on the glass balls.
This concept was so freeing for me. You don’t have to find perfect balance; and I do not think that balance truly exists, as things are constantly changing and shifting daily. I just have to try to figure out which balls are okay to drop on any given day, the plastic ones, and catch the glass ones before they break. Sometimes, things just slip, and we can give ourselves grace, and try again the following day!