I assume that you’ve played “The Balloon Game” at parties. You know, the one where you bat balloons up in the air and they can’t touch the ground or you’re “out”? My family plays this game whenever we have balloons and the house soon becomes filled with screaming and yelling as people leap and bat to keep the balloons aloft.
It hit me today that this is what motherhood is like. It’s The Balloon Game on a pro-level.
Think about it, the game has very few rules to guide you along. Instead, it’s a free-for-all of wild activity. People get up into each other’s spaces and you can’t really play without some yelling, shouted commands, disappointment, laughter and tears.
Motherhood is all about keeping numerous balloons afloat at the same time. There are relationship balloons, a balloon for each child, friend balloons, elderly parent balloons, learning-issue balloons, health balloons, housework balloons, meal-planning balloons, and on and on and on.
And, when you’re serious about playing the game, you try and keep your eyes on every single balloon at the same time. Because, if you let your guard down for even a second, some of your balloons will drop to the ground.
That ability to keep multiple balloons in the air is the hallmark of motherhood.
Even though some balloons fall at a faster rate than the others and need more attention, moms somehow manage to keep all their balloons in play. I personally think that’s an amazing talent.
There are different types of players and sometimes it’s helpful to study their unique styles. There are frenzied players who quickly grow too tired to keep up with the constant action of the game. There are organized and focused players who seem to easily keep their eyes on multiple balloons at the same time. And, I love playing the game with those who play with zeal. They seem to flourish under stress, making wild leaps to catch balloons just milliseconds before they hit the ground.
But, perhaps we can learn the most from the players who recognize that nothing catastrophic will really happen if a balloon hits the ground every once in a while. They simply brush it off and lift it back into play.
Whatever your style is, kudos to all the moms out there. Your ability to keep all your balloons up in the air is awe-inspiring. And, if “The Balloon Game” ever became an Olympic sport, you’d all be medal winners.