Motherhood,  Special Needs Parenting

How to cope when you keep dropping the ball

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“Balls dropping everywhere!” I mutter in frustration while seeing my husband out the door for work. He grins gleefully like a pimple-faced middleschooler because he’s a guy and I said “balls.” But for me, it’s my way of saying, “I did it again. I dropped the ball. I failed to manage one of my responsibilities.” 

This happens to me all the time:

Like when I’m driving home from therapy at 3:50 P.M. and I realize I have no dinner plans. Okay, grilled cheese (again) I guess. Darnit. Dropped the ball. 

Like when I spend the day running 15 million errands with both of my children in tow, including squeezing in a workout at the Y, all before 11:30 AM – but arrive home to a house that smells like poop because I forgot to throw out the diaper left on the changing table. Darnit. Dropped the ball again. 

Like when I log in to work on our budget and realize three bills are overdue. Darnit. Dropped the ball again. 

When we spend some summer days doing magical things like pool trips and museum visits but every day for a week I am pulling clean underware for every member of my family out of the six baskets stacked in my living room – or worse – find a load that’s been left in the washer for three days. Yup. Balls dropping everywhere! 

Like when I spend the day decluttering and take a whole trunkload to Goodwill but then I look at the clock, and realize that Netflix has been on for four hours. Darnit. Dropped the ball again. 

Like when I have been patting myself  on the back for all the times I have read him EVERY DR. SUESS BOOK the library owns because I am a great mom like that, only to login to my library account to find that I owe $80 in library fines because those Kindergarten preparation and phonics DVDs that I forgot I checked out that he never even watched are weeks overdue at $1 a day. Wowza, completely dropped that one! 

Like when we are out of milk again, our house is a disaster, the baby is wearing his last clean pair of pajamas, the pile of junk I PROMISED myself I would sort through THIS WEEK is still hanging out on my kitchen floor which is covered in sticky spots and last night’s dinner – not to mention the parmesan cheese and baby food that got left out on the kitchen table. And I had planned to get this blog post posted two weeks ago. (We won’t even talk about the 17 pending blog post comments I haven’t responded to.)

#truestory. Every. Single. One.

Balls dropping everywhere. 

I talked about this two years ago:

I was living frantically and didn’t even realize it. Always hopping from one thing on my schedule to the next…it was a lot of mental busy.

I was so frustrated that I just couldn’t keep up with life between doing all I do for the household, mothering, caring for my husband, being a blogger and all that entails, and being a friend. There simply wasn’t enough of me and my personal resources to go around. Someone was always losing. And I hated that.

I’ve asked myself this question over and over and over:

Do you always have to give up something to gain something?

Personally? I have found the answer to be a resounding yes.

We women have been sold a lie that says we can do it all. We can shop organic and cook from scratch and clean and DIY and craft and plan creative date nights for our husbands and make sure our kids have sensory bins and blog and read blogs and manage 15 social media accounts and write ebooks all while keeping a healthy BMI and having a bikini-ready body.

And we know doing it all is insanely impossible – but we keep trying because we are women and I think that’s sort of how we are wired. It seems like everyone else is doing it so we should give it our darndest too.

– read more: Waving the white flag: giving up and gaining #whitespace

So what do you do in those moments when you realized you’ve majorly dropped the ball? I have two tips for you:

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1. Give yourself a mantra.

Mine is this:

No one can be good at everything, all the time. Click To Tweet

Another great one I have to credit to Katie at Pick Any Two. The tagline of her blog is this:

Moms can do anything, but not everything. ~@KatieMarkeyMcL Click To Tweet


Every time you hear your inner adult voice chiding you for all of those things you haven’t done today – all of the balls you have dropped – turn it around by saying something positive to yourself as a replacement.

2. Look up!

If you are anything like me, no doubt for every ball bouncing on the floor there are 20 up in the air. Look up! Count those balls you are managing. Give yourself more credit for what you HAVE accomplished than for what you haven’t. If you need to sit down and write out a list of all of the things you do, DO IT. If you need to make to-do lists that have tasks like “shower” and “eat lunch” on them just so you can feel a sense of accomplishment for the things on your plate, DO IT. Talk back to your inner Mrs. Judgy Pants and put her in her place by telling her to take a hike because, ($80 of library fines or not), you’ve got this.


Dear Moms: for all of the responsibilities you are handling, if you focus on your successes rather than your failures, you are probably managing better than you think. Pat yourself on the back. Balls might be dropping everywhere, but you still have mad-crazy juggling skills!

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