This weekend I am selling cupcakes at a Christmas themed trade show. I’m half way through and it has been really rewarding and reminds me why I continue to push my cupcake business.
It has also been a lot of other feelings, some not so positive.
Today as I people watched I noticed that quite a few vendors and business owners appear to be just a tiny bit younger than yours truly with a whole lot more style. I really need to do some shopping. I’m not sure when, but it needs to happen. If I had a dollar for every black and red flannel shirt and puffy vest I saw today I might not have had to do the show to start with. I almost bought one of those flannels for myself last night at Target. Instead I bought a scarf and spent 27 minutes before I went to bed trying to figure out how to wear it. It shouldn’t be that hard but darn those scarves. I kept watching today how easily these tiny-bit-younger-than-me people were wearing their scarves and all I could think was, “When I was your age (which wasn’t ALL that long ago) I had one baby permanently attached to my nipple and the other laying in the threshold of his bedroom kicking his feet on the door screaming something about how his socks were too long.” Ugh. I feel old. And out of style.
(It occurs to me now that maybe wardrobe issues runs in the family. His socks were too long…)
Anyway, it took a lot of effort for me not to bail out of this show. Hubs is out of town. We…er, the kids…had basketball practice and hockey practice, a basketball tournament and a hockey game all between Friday night and Sunday, you know, when I’m supposed to be at the show all day both days of the weekend. I had to arrange care and transportation for all of these things while single-parenting. I took a personal day off of work late week to bake in the commercial kitchen because Hubs was going to be leaving when I’d originally scheduled to bake. Also, nine hours of squeezing a cupcake scooper and pastry bag takes a toll on one’s hands. I walked 5.2 miles in the kitchen, thank you Fitbit. My house is a disaster right now and I’m in a wait it out game with Hubs to see who’s going to clean the kitchen first. And he’s not even here. And it’s Christmas, if you didn’t know, which is like having a needy toddler all over again.
I say all of that not to throw a pity party for myself but to recognize that I’m dividing my time.
There’s this work part of my life that is fulfilling in a humanitarian sense. As a special ed para I get to help kids and occasionally I see growth and the impact that work has. Then there’s this creative and business part of life. It’s hard not to be happy when you’re holding a cupcake. I get to create that cupcake, bake it from scratch, make it pretty which I’ve gotten kind of good at, and see people smile when they eat it. I mean, that’s rewarding too. And still I get to take my kids home from school every day, cook them dinner, and ask how their day was. I get barely more than a grunt most days if I’m lucky but every now and then I get to be the first person to see that thing they did that they’re proud of. Even parenting can be satisfying. 😉
But still, my time is divided.
Dividing my time looks like leaving hockey practice to go
run errands buy a scarf. Dividing my time looks like being the last to set up for a show between work/school and practices while the kids play games on their phones on the floor and choke down a cold slice of pizza they found all while feeling pretty lucky that I don’t have to cook dinner now. (I didn’t have time anyway.) Dividing my time looks like remembering at 7:35 this morning that I might want my card reader so people can pay me with plastic, digging it out of the junk drawer and setting up the app on my “new” phone. I’ve had the phone for six months and I was supposed to leave at 7:30.
I got it. I did the things I was supposed to do. I cut it close and I felt like a hot mess in the process, but it’s a juggling act and sometimes I drop the ball.
Tonight at bedtime my very tired ten year old was falling apart because his brother missed his basketball games today but he has to go to his brother’s hockey game tomorrow instead of stay at a friend’s house. “It’s just not fair!” I tried to explain that just because things are not exactly the same doesn’t make them unfair and that we try very hard to treat them fairly but this weekend is just different. “But YOU chose to do this this weekend!”
Yep. That’s every parent’s favorite moment.
Oddly enough, in that moment I was BOTH truly proud of myself for the continued success of my cupcake business – for making that choice for myself this weekend despite all the hoops I had to jump through, AND I felt a tiny bit like a failure as parent. I couldn’t be where my son wanted me to be today – in two places at once. And I dropped that ball.
But you know what? IT’S OKAY. We’re allowed to divide our time. I’m allowed to make a choice in favor of family one time and in favor of something else another time. Some people call it balance but I don’t believe in the elusive “balance.” I believe in juggling. I believe in holding on to the ball sometimes and dropping the ball sometimes. And I believe that if it weren’t for juggling I’d be sitting in a bar somewhere with a local craft beer in my hand, red and black flannel shirt, puffy vest for when my body is really cold but my arms are hot, and those cute duck boots.
I gotta get me a pair of those boots.