I Gave Up on Juggling, and Something Magical Happened

I Gave Up on Juggling, and Something Magical Happened

You can’t do it all, but you can do something great. All you have to do is give up.

By Maria Mora

When I was a kid, I tried to teach myself how to juggle. It only took me a few hours and about 100 dropped balls to decide that I really hated juggling. More than 30 years later, I still hate juggling.

Over the summer I sat with an old friend and watched our combined six kids play together in a field. We mused on how complicated our lives had become as working women, mothers, and writers. She said something that really stuck with me: One thing always has to give, whether it’s health, housework, parenting, fitness, or fun. And she was absolutely right.

Having it all means doing it all.

Every day I have to decide what I’m going to focus on. Some of my responsibilities aren’t optional. I need to parent my kids. I need to show up at work. Everything beyond that – even my own health – falls by the wayside depending on what I have going on.

For a long time, I felt like a failure. I wasn’t very good at juggling, and I couldn’t figure out how to fix that. If I spent too many nights working out, my house fell apart. If I spent my entire day cleaning, I didn’t get any writing done. If I practiced self-care for an afternoon, I wouldn’t focus on my kids. For two years, I didn’t write fiction because that whim – the dream of becoming an author – was last on my long list of priorities.

Then I tried something that felt radical. I quit juggling.

I stopped focusing on what I wasn’t doing enough of or wasn’t doing right, and I prioritized what actually mattered to me: my sense of wholeness and wellbeing. I budgeted for someone to clean my house twice a month. I let laundry pile up until we ran out of underwear. I skipped yoga. I dialed back extracurricular activities.


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And I wrote a book.

Months later, I’m still working on that book, and I still have to let go and realize that I won’t be good at everything I do. I won’t be the most flexible yogini in class. I won’t prepare fresh, organic food every night. My house won’t always be ready for visitors. But I’m a good mom and I’m good at my job and I’ve made room in my life for a meaningful accomplishment.

If you gave yourself permission to drop a few balls, what would you accomplish?

Maria Mora is communications director at Big Sea Design and Development in St. Petersburg, Florida. She lives with her two sons and their rescue terriers.

Image ©iStock.com/STEEX

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