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Juggling

Juggling

 

Too many balls in the air.

You’ll understand the title when I explain where this is going. So I’m writing this at home while my youngest daughter is on the couch. It’s 2 pm in the afternoon on a school day. Get where this is going? She is home sick. And not just a runny nose sick, but high, high fever and too many doses of Tylenol and Advil and still a very uncomfortably high fever. And then there are all the other kids in the house whom I assume will be sick within the next 2 days…oh joy. But the point of this is having soo many things to do and yet when life throws another ball into the mix you just have to learn to juggle.

And I am lucky that I have an amazing husband and a great employer and wonderful boss who understand that life happens.  I have priorities and I know what they are: my kids and my family will always come first. I have ways of coping when life gets crazy. I can work a little from home. I can text and email on the run. I can have Facebook chats at night with my clients, and I can field crises from the upstairs hallway while putting kids to sleep if I must. I have a husband who can drive to the store at 11pm to get more Tylenol. But there was a time when I was a youngish’, single mom and I didn’t have those supports.

So juggling is a skill you never knew you had until you have to use it!  Being 19 is a tough stage in life. The world is big and there are things you want to do. Now imagine you have a child. You need food, shelter, clothing, baby supplies and all the other necessities.  You want to finish high school but you took some time off to have a baby and learn about a whole different world while your friends continued on with theirs. How do you come back? How to find that place where you get to be 19 and also be responsible for the loving and nurturing and caring of your child?

You learn to juggle even more balls. Some of you want to finish school because now, as a young parent, you realize that you need to have an education to compete with even the basic jobs. Then, you need to find quality, affordable childcare. Childcare that has hours that allows you to go to school. Add another ball into the air. Then there is the study time. Then transit time. Then chill time at the coffee shop with a friend talking over the latest assignment. But no, you have a child to pick up, on time. You need to get dinner on the table and a baby fed and bathed before 8. Then you can sit down, in relative silence, and study if the dishes are tidy, baby isn’t sick or fussy and you aren’t exhausted!

Not much free time to hang with friends. Cleaning the house? Not always the priority. Making the lunches for the next day? Paying the bills on time so there is hydro next month? You can see how many balls are in the air now. But when you have a partner, a support network, then there are more hands helping keep those balls in the air. But being single and parenting while trying to finish growing up, well that is monumental.

So maybe this is just a reminder to realize that juggling is hard work. Maybe it’s hard, but be grateful for the support system you do have. Look at your needs. Do you need to find more support? What areas do you need support in? Identifying the areas make it much easier for others to pitch in and help. People want to help but often they don’t because they don’t know what to do. So think about what you need to be successful and then ask.  There are more people that want you to succeed than you know! It might also be time to be a better part of a system for someone else you know. Anyway you look at it, the more hands that help, the easier it is to juggle.

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Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program

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Young Parent Outreach is a dynamic resource program providing services and support to young pregnant women, young moms and dads, and their children in the Greater Victoria area.

These services – provided by The Cridge Centre for the Family – are designed to give young pregnant women and young moms and dads the help and support network they need to have healthy babies and to be effective, successful parents. Whether it’s housing, income assistance, food back or dealing with child custody or substance abuse, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach program can help.

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