kids

Why Jo Abi will always keep trying to 'have it all'.

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“Is it possible to have it all? Here’s how I try.” I will never stop trying to have it all, no matter how many times I fall on my face.

Sometimes I do actually fall on my face or on my butt. But that’s usually because my dog Sadie has developed an annoying habit of trailing me around the house, and in an effort not to squish her, I normally end up falling.

Strangely, rarely do I drop what I’m carrying at the time. I’m like a circus performer – I fall over but I never drop what it is I’m holding. There I am, sprawled out with a dinner plate in each hand, meals perfectly intact.

Normally I just get up, brush myself off and yell out, “Dinner’s ready”. Meantime I feel the beginnings of a giant bruise on my butt. But the kids get fed and that’s all that matters.

So here I am, bumped and bruised and busy beyond belief – like every other mother in Australia – and I still get up each morning convinced this will be the day I’ll figure out not only how to have it all but to also how to enjoy every single crazy minute.

When I step back during a rare, quiet moment, I can see that my life is near perfect. I love my husband, my children are amazing and we have lots of cute little pets.

I am grateful for my family. Image: Supplied.

I also have an amazing job and my wardrobe is getting pretty great. Sometimes I even fit into it all.

And yet each night I go to bed trying to strategise how best to juggle everything the next day. Each morning I get up wondering if I’m going to pull it all off.

But the key word is “try”. To me, that’s just life…the quest to have a perfect day and never quite getting there. Doesn’t that say something about us all? The fact that we never give up on living the dream?

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What I’ve learned is that the best way to be a truly engaged parent is to allow myself to disengage. We don’t always have to be sitting on the floor playing with our kids or micro-managing their every move. Sometimes they need the space to grow and learn on their own or with their siblings, and I need to go off and do some the things I need to do, or have a cup of tea, or paint my toe nails.

Some of my favourite times are when my kids have found something to keep them busy, preferably playing with something that is teaching them as well, and I just sit back and watch them immerse themselves in it.

I just get to watch on and think about how much I love them and delight in every new skill they learn. I’ll be knitting or reading or drinking tea or doing a bit of work on my computer happy in the knowledge that they are safe and happy and loved.

"Some of my favourite times are when my kids have found something to keep them busy." Image: iStock.

Sure, my days would be better if I got up an hour earlier each day. At least I’d get to eat a proper breakfast instead of eating a banana in the car on the way to school or while walking to the bus.

The night before I always picture myself getting up, dressed and ready before the kids are even awake and only waking them after I’ve sat down to a leisurely breakfast of peanut butter and honey on toast or scrambled eggs.

But I don’t beat myself up anymore. Each day is what it is. And at the end of the day, I have a happy and healthy family who are doing their best and living life.

Besides, perfection is boring. It’s way more interesting to keep on trying to figure things out and teach our kids that “okay” is okay.

How do you juggle life as a mother?

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