This is the fourth entry in “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” a series of guest posts about the working mom/stay-at-home dilemma. It’s written by Shari Simpson, the co-writer of the comedy “Maybe Baby, It’s You” , (Dramatic Publishing, Inc.) and the non-dizzy redhead behind the blog “Earth Mother just means I’m dusty.” She is also the editor of Mommy Poppins NJ and writes a weekly humor column for Aiming Low.
Shari won a 2006 Telly Award in the “Social Issues” category for her short film script “Positive Choice” and writes for the HOPE Worldwide children’s theater group, The Story Tree Gang, targeting at-risk youth. In her spare time, she is a Girl Scout Troop leader for 30 painfully adorable 8-year olds.
Shari is one of my first blogger friends and is someone I feel very privileged to know in real life. I’m so honored that she agreed to guest post in this series.
I Don’t Know How She Does It, Either,
Oh. Wait. Are we talking about me?
Ohhhhhh, sorry. In that case–
I still don’t know how she does it.
I have a vivid memory of attending a parenting workshop at my church. The man who was speaking put a huge plastic container on the table and said,
“You could fill this container with the amount of important things there are to do in this world. Important, desirable, fun, exceptional things.”
Then he placed a slender glass next to it.
“And this is the amount of time that you have.”
Let us raise a slender glass to important endeavors, exceptional pursuits, and delightful, soul-stirring pastimes. I want to do them all. Passionately. I simply cannot understand and have no patience for people who are bored. There is nothing, outside of shopping in strip malls, that bores me.
But there is a wide chasm between what is important and what is essential.
I have to be extremely careful to fill my glass with the essential. Luckily, I’ve been given a sensitive internal meter with which to judge myself. When I’m feeling uplifted, hopeful and full of excitement, I know that I’m filling my glass with the right things. When I’m feeling frazzled, frayed and grim, I know that I’m trying to jam a whole world of experiences into my wee little stein.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not speaking of the general “fried” feeling of daily life, trying to balance work and parenting. I am a work-at-home Mom (but you can call me WAHM, you know, because we’re close), and that has its own very particular set of challenges. I’m typing this article and thinking about three deadlines I have to meet and I’m making lunch and doing laundry and letting the dogs out and tallying Girl Scout Cookie orders and answering emails from school and praying it’s not about head lice again—who wouldn’t be frazzled? For all of us, whether you’re WAHM or SAHM or WM or my own personal acronym DJBWAWM (Don’t Judge Because We All Work Mom), daily life can make you feel like a pair of distressed jeans from Bulldog Apparel (<not an affiliate link, just an analogy).
I’m talking about the other kind of distress. The distress of confused priorities, misplaced treasures and essentials gone AWOL. My “essential” is my relationship with God. When that’s the first thing I pour into my cup (followed by some strong Starbucks and as a particularly “special” day wears on, perhaps a shot of Irish whiskey), all is right in my world. When something else vies for that spot, whether it be important and good (family, work) or unimportant but still captivating (trying to impress, hell-bent on convincing others that I’m worthy), I’m not a whole lot of fun. Ask my kids.
Actually, hang on a minute.
Okay, I just asked my kids. “What’s the most important thing in the world to Mommy?” They looked at me a bit suspiciously. “God.” Yes! Score! And then my son said, “And eating protein.” O-kay. Not what I would have guessed, but better than “And your computer.”
So how does she do it? Divinely, Dahling.