I was talking with a friend of mine recently, who is a mother of two (tween and teen), a solo lawyer, and soon to be a high school teacher. Like me, she enjoys a variety of professional activities and manages her life with the skill of an inveterate multi-tasker. It has been said to both of us that we cannot do so many things and do them well, but she and I disagree. We thrive on the variability of each day and love each aspect of the tasks in which we engage. So, what does this have to do with my topic today? I’ll tell you.
I am a therapist, a lawyer who defends therapists, a mother of now college age and beyond children, and a lecturer primarily for health care providers. In my spare time, I also manage my two rental properties in New Orleans and enjoy meeting new tenants each new rent cycle. Like my friend, I balance a myriad of tasks and frequently during each day flip hats – now a lawyer, next a mom when one of the kids calls me to discuss something emotional or maybe just ask for a transfer into his or her bank account, next getting ready to go to my therapy office to see a client, and so forth. Life is full and rich.
The ongoing day-to-day juggling of multiple professions or multiple caretaking responsibilities, while it definitely can be taxing at times, serves to keep our brains lively. Avoiding getting into ruts in life has been studied to help retard the aging process, but I believe that it also helps us expand our options and creativity throughout every stage of life.
As therapists, we want to see a myriad of alternatives in working with our clients. The more open and expansive our brains remain throughout our careers, the more we can connect with and inspire our clients to reach their highest potentials.
As parents, the same applies. The more options, choices, possibilities and paths we envision while raising our children, the freer they will feel be to pursue their own ideas and dreams.
It is hard to juggle multiple roles, yet the rewards may be worth the occasional despair of wondering why a day only has 24 hours. Becoming more efficient is one tangible reward of multiple career juggling. As my mom used to tell me when I was growing up in her household, “Busy people get things done, honey.” The message from her was that work was enjoyable, enlivening, and worth pursuing with excitement. She modeled being actively involved in work away from home as well as taking care of kids at home and balancing the two full-time “jobs” with humor and delight. Well, yes, she was tired at times, but I never remember that being the foremost emotion.
Here’s to all of you out there who find yourselves juggling, balancing, and sometimes, dancing as fast as you can on the head of a pin. But, hey, as my grandmother said, “There’s plenty of time to rest when you are dead!”
So, let’s multi-task if that suits us and find joy in the balancing acts.