I’m a plate spinner.
No, not the kind you might catch in Vegas or even on a rerun of an old variety show. In fact, my “plates” are not so much objects, but those elements of my life that get me out of bed in the morning faster than the promise of a hot cup of coffee.
With five young boys, and a full-time job, I have plenty of plates to spin. My “act”, while not nearly glamorous enough for Vegas (and a little difficult to simulate on a stage), does seem to provoke the same sense of awe in just about anyone I meet who, on hearing that I have five boys, inevitably exclaim, “How do you do it?”
Before responding, I imagine an announcer’s voice hushing the eager crowd in the audience.
“And now, ladies and gentleman, the amazing PLATE SPINNER! Watch as she sets each of her plates spinning! See her dazzling display of making five peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while checking her office voicemail – AT THE SAME TIME. See how she unloads the dishwasher while dictating a shopping list to her HUSBAND. And, finally, home from a long day at the office, she helps the kids with their homework while MAKING DINNER!!!”
The crowd roars with applause and the curtain parts. I appear, dressed impeccably in business casual and they watch as I go about spinning through a typical day. I sigh at the millions in ticket sales I could be making and then soberly reply “Oh, it’s easy. They’re great kids.”
Welcome to the heady world of working parents. In some households, both parents work, and in some, just one parent works.
In my case, it’s me.
After our third son was born, it only took a couple of months to realize that we were using hard-earned vacation days to stay home with a sick child or two while watching thousands of dollars go to the day-time care and feeding of our three boys. We came to the inevitable conclusion – one of us had to stay home.
Careful and deliberate analysis over each of our career prospects, along with our individual ability to be a full-time care giver to our children, yielded the obvious choice – my husband.
It took about 30 seconds.
I reveled in the wave of relief that followed.
No more stay-at-home mothers accosting me with comments like “I can’t imagine paying anyone to raise my children!”
No more having to endure raised eyebrows when requesting yet another afternoon off because a child had a slight fever.
No more having to fly out the door by 5:30 to reach the facility before closing time (and incurring additional “late” fees).
No, I don’t feel that this makes me a bad mother. Quite the contrary, it’s a testimony to my wonderful, loving mother who worked full-time while raising us. She was a plate spinner extraordinaire. The one who taught me that plate spinning, while a stress-inducing and largely under-appreciated skill, is done by loving parents the world over whether they’re at home or at work.
You don’t have to fly to Vegas to catch my act. Just tuned for my next entry!
More from living