Are you overwhelmed and juggling a lot? Let me make a suggestion — put a ball down.
Notice I didn’t say “drop a ball.” If I did, I’d be encouraging you to give up control and approach your days as a helpless participant in your own life. Rather, make a choice and put it down.
Let me give you an example from my own life.
I juggle a busy career that is high-demand and fairly high-visibility. I also have two young children who are in elementary school and currently learning in a hybrid model. I’m in graduate school working on a program in Strategic Communication. My days — probably like yours — are more than full. It isn’t just my schedule that stays packed. My mental and emotional capacity is also maxed out between pandemic and general life demands on me. As a result, I have to choose to put some balls down. I simply cannot do it all nor can I be all things to all people.
Putting the Mealtime Ball Down
One ball that I put down and choose to ignore for now is the mealtime battles over food.
I know, I know. Parenting books and blogs would love to give me tips for how to make my young, picky eater eat a beautiful variety of foods but I just won’t do it. I won’t read the blogs, I won’t listen to the podcast, I won’t try to force the issue. I’ll let him be picky and limited in his mealtime selections because this is one area I refuse to expend mental and emotional energy.
I am choosing to be an imperfect parent at mealtime. Yes, that means I occasionally accommodate his fussy tastes and preference for nuggets. Don’t worry, he has a short list of veggies he will eat and I make sure to fix them often. However, the bottom line is that I’m not going to sweat it and make meals one more thing I have to work hard to achieve, accomplish or persevere through.
Someday he may grow up and actually like seafood. Maybe, just maybe he will try sushi and surprisingly like it! And perhaps, there will be a time that he enjoys a salad. But until that day happens, I’m going to let it go. I’m letting go of worries, anxieties or concern over what it means to have a picky eater. Does it reflect poorly on me as a mother? I frankly don’t care and wont even entertain the reality that it may. I am putting that ball down.
I’m not “dropping the ball” at all. I could fight him each and every meal. I could dig my heels in and make mealtimes an issue — but at what cost? Instead, I will take the “meal time” ball that I could juggle and I will lovingly place it down for now. There may come a day I choose to pick it up but today is not that day.
These choices must be individualized decisions that only you can make for yourself. I have dear friends that choose to make mealtime and food selections an emphasis within their families. Are they wrong? Nope. Am I wrong for choosing a different approach? Nope. We must all make the unique choice that best supports our own wellbeing while also aligning with our priorities. It is beautiful when we recognize that each family and person lives a unique reality and must choose accordingly.
What Ball Can You Put Down?
Are you fighting battles and juggling balls that you could choose to place down? Don’t drop them. Demonstrate control over your own life and well-being, take it and put it down.
When you put the task-related ball down you also have to put away self-judgement over what it means to let it go. There is freedom in making choices that underscore our imperfection. As someone who has battled perfectionism my entire life I find it oddly refreshing to own out loud (or at least in this blog) that I will not be perfect in this area. What area of your life will you own out loud?