Let the Plastic Balls Fall


If you are like me, this year … has been a lot.

Too much?


And, you’ve started to realize that all of you just isn’t here anymore.

You don’t get to show up fully present anymore.

You don’t even show up distracted.

You show up in pieces.

Never all of you.

Just whatever functioning pieces you were able to cobble together for the day.

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay.

I’ve fallen in love with an illustration lately of how to maintain a work vs family balance:  when you are juggling all the balls – deadlines, virtual school, telework, etc…

Don’t think to yourself, “should I fail as an employee or fail as a mother? Do I drop the work balls or the family balls?”

Instead, realize which balls are plastic and which balls are glass. What can you let slip at work and life still go on? What can you let slip at home and life still go on? If failing a task isn’t earth-shattering – if it’s just a plastic ball that will hit the floor and bounce away, don’t freak out; just focus on the glass balls.

This analogy has served me well, but…

This tortuous year.  I want to tell you something:

Relationships are not glass balls.  They’re plastic.

  • You don’t have to return that phone call.
  • Or make it to that baby shower or birthday.
  • Or plan the virtual wine night.
  • Or respond to that text from your mom.

Healthy relationships don’t require your constant attention.  If they take a backseat to the world being on fire, well that’s ok.

If there is any time you can drop the plastic balls, it is now.

People who love and respect you will still be there when you aren’t constantly showing up piecemeal.

Oh, and the people who don’t know how to handle giving you that space, those people are probably less than healthy (but that’s a blog for another time).

Keep catching the glass balls.  You aren’t failing. You are doing the work. One day, we will have a girls’ night and all of us will be there, not just the barely-keeping-it-together bits but our whole souls.

Focus on you and your loved ones.

We’ll still be here when this nightmare is over.


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Hannah Parker is a queer mom living in the center of Oklahoma City. She enjoys spending life with her partner and toddler. She loves making politics, philosophy, and sociology accessible to everyone possible. She aspires to one day cook by feel rather than by recipe (a.k.a. experiments on the family members). Oh, and Insomnia Cookies or Pie Junkies any day of the week.


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