Trying to juggle motherhood

juggling motherhood: jenni kayne and kids

After promising JB a week ago that I’d make matzoh ball soup for dinner, I finally made good on my word last night. While he ran to Costco with Levi, I rolled matzoh balls and chopped chicken while wearing Asa in the Baby K’tan. For 15 minutes or so, I was a champion at multi-tasking.

Levi and Asa were sleeping by the time the soup was finished cooking, and JB was out in the garage installing a car seat protector. As I ladled out the first portion of soup into the low-rimmed soup bowl I was holding in my left hand, I clumsily tipped the bowl, spilling boiling broth onto my palm. Yelling in pain, I tossed the bowl onto the stove and ran over to the sink to run cold water on my hand.

My hand under the faucet, I began to sob. JB, who had come in from the garage when he heard me yell, asked, “I know your hand hurts, but why are you really crying?”

The boy knows me too well.

Because the kitchen was such a mess that there wasn’t space to the bowl on the counter while pouring the soup.

Because we were eating at 9pm.

Because Levi, who only got half of his usual nap, missed his 7:30pm bedtime.

Because he and his brother had put me through the ringer all day.

Because I haven’t figured out how to be the mom of two and the type of wife/friend/professional I want to be.

Because I don’t like being away from the blog for too long, and I’m struggling to find the time, motivation, and brain power to do the work I want to do.

Of course, I wasn’t able to articulate most of this last night. I just wanted close my eyes and fall asleep as I iced my palm and cried into JB’s shoulder.

Eventually, the pain in my hand subsided, and we quietly ate our soup (that JB served) while watching an old episode of Hollywood Game Night. But my frustration with trying to juggle motherhood and the other things I’d like to accomplish (having a successful career being at the top of that list) remains.

Right now I don’t have any answers. I have no idea how to nurture my family while nurturing myself, how to not feel like a failure when I can’t manage it all.

I have more to say, but first, my baby is crying…again.

(images via The Glow)

Let’s Discuss

  1. Julia

    Let me start by saying that I love your blog. You say all the things that we all are thinking and that is so reassuring. I have a 2.5 year old and a 4 month old and dinner is always late and the laundry is never finished. Ever. I love to shop but I feel guilty because I am not currently bringing in any income. Being a wife and mommy is exhausting and frustrating but there are times when my boys are so sweet that I have to forget the times that I just want to lock myself away and hide. A few weeks ago someone posted when you are thinking “I have to” instead think “I get to.” It really does help. When I am at the end of my rope thinking, “I have to iron the laundry,” I instead “get to help my husband who takes such good care of my family.” Or instead of “I have to bathe the boys,” “I get to spend time with my boys.” Its a nice strategy that helps me keep perspective. Hang in there PJ!

  2. Jess

    Once again you are able to articulate exactly how I expect to feel in only a few weeks. With such a huge increase in responsibility, the only reasonable thing to do is decrease your expectations, at least for a little while? And forgive yourself, it’s a huge change! I’m hoping that by typing these words I’ll be able to consider them for myself, too!

  3. April

    Hi PJ, let’s start with a hug. 🙂 I can’t really say I feel you because I only have the one 20-month-old for now but I guess even someone who has two boys the same age as Asa and Levi can’t really say they feel you, too, as every situation is so uniquely special and different. But I think the universal thing we have is the love we all feel for our partners and our children, and you are doing such a wonderful job just being there for them, raising your sons and maintaining your home the best way you can.

    I do get that niggling feeling and need to feel accomplished career-wise (or anything-wise really) that is separate from me being a mom and a wife and I haven’t figured the whole thing out, too. But I feel like I would someday anyway, just like I ended up where I am right now in my life not knowing 5, 10 years ago how great it can be.

    Time is a funny thing. And cliche as it may sound, the days are long but the years are short so no matter how long and dreary and physically-and-emotionally-exhausting it can be at times, the bigger picture shows me that it’s a better use of my hours and energy to focus on what is so clearly beautiful and right in front of me because, good or bad, they are all temporary.

    Also helps me heaps whenever I shift my mind’s spotlight from what I am doing for my family (and how I fail to satisfy my very own standards) to what it is my husband and my son do for me and my happiness, especially the ones they do daily that I tend to overlook and take for granted.

    Sending you and your boys love and light always. <3

  4. Joy

    Oh, friend! I obviously don’t know what it’s like to have two kids, but I do know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed, and it’s no fun. Just a few weeks ago, I listened to this episode of Fresh Air where Terry Gross interviewed a journalist named Brigid Schulte about her book Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time. She was going through a lot of what it sounds like you’re going through now, and then she went to a workshop where the instructor pointed out that people never make to do lists that include the things they WANT to do. She also suggests making a to do list that includes just one item. I haven’t quite gotten down to just one thing, but her suggestion did get me to narrow my to do list down to three items each day. And now I’m getting better about scheduling in the fun stuff too.

    Here’s the interview:

  5. Erica

    Thanks, as always for sharing your thoughts and feelings during this time, PJ! It’s so reassuring to read much of the same thoughts I am having this week. And to know I’m definitely not alone in feeling them. I’m so new at this and definitely know that I don’t have the answers but I keep trying to be patient with it (which is something I’m terrible at). Hoping that I’ll figure it out soon. Hang in there, you are doing a magnificent job.

    PS – how do you like that baby carrier? I’m not sure baby E likes the wrap I have…

  6. Monica

    I’ve been feeling the same way lately with only one little guy to take care of. Comforting that another Omaha mama is going through the same thing right now. It’s exhausting. Hopefully some nicer weather will have us both feeling a bit better!

    XX! Monica

  7. Lynn

    Oh PJ! I’ve just read this. You’re in the hardest part of being a mom of two. There is no real humane routine. EVERYthing is about your boys and it feels like there’s no time to do anything for yourself. But hear this: IT GETS BETTER. It gets easier. Maybe you just learn to accept that the house is kind of a dump for most of the day. The baby becomes less demanding. The toddler grows up just a bit. This time is SO temporary, and so challenging, and you’re very much allowed to cry about how exhausting and draining and unfun it all feels. It gets better. Thinking of you, friend! xx


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