I missed Little Girl’s 18-month pediatrician appointment. It was right there, written in my calendar, but somehow I never saw it. And so I just didn’t show up. When I realized that I screwed up, I felt terrible, and guilty. I’m not sure why, but I think it probably has to do with the fact that I worry sometimes that my baby, my third, doesn’t get enough of me, of my focus, of my time.
Today, Big Girl has an after school picnic that conflicts with Middle Girl’s pickup. I must decide. I have signed my baby up for a sprinkling of classes – music, art, etc – classes that her sisters took once upon a time, but are morning classes and I had planned to sit down and write in the mornings, to finish my book that keeps getting shoved aside. I don’t yet know what I will do. She is my last kid after all. Five years from now, I will not be welcome in My Big Messy Art Class or Free to Be Under Three.
There are three of them. There is only one of me. And I know this is not a tragedy, but a triumph. I know that feeling stretched thin is not a horrendous fate, but a standard-issue fact of life and something I dreamed of, and chose. I know that I am fortunate to have flexibility with respect to my work, and to have wonderful help with my kids so that I can do that work.
But still: I’m having a hard time. And it kind of helps to admit this, to confess to you (and to me) that I am overwhelmed. That I do not have it all together. Far from it.
What matters, I hope, is that I am trying and that I will continue to try.
Okay, now it’s your turn to tell me that I’m not the only one who is struggling to juggle, who is botching things up from time to time.
Any tips on how to keep my nutty three-kiddo schedule straight? Do you keep an electronic or paper calendar? Have you ever felt stretched thin, pulled between multiple kids or interests? Why do you think parenthood and guilt are so inextricably bound?