Real Life Mama: Juggling on an empty tank


By Sarah Shrader - Guest columnist



I have heard it a million times: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” And while yes, that is true in the sense of having an actual cup that is empty and trying to pour from it, I think it is a little off when it comes to mothers.

First of all, it is kind of a misconception that there is only one cup. I don’t know about you, but I constantly feel like I am juggling several cups that I have to dump into daily. Here’s a long drizzle to the Mom cup, a full pour to the work cup, a splash to the wife cup, a trickle to the daughter/sister cup, and if there is any left, a drop to the friend cup.

Sure, in a perfect world, those cups are pretty evenly filled or at least I think that is the goal of everyone. But let’s be honest, as a full-time working mommy, creating the balance in those cups is about as hard as getting kids to sleep every night. Even more so, maintaining that balance lasts about as long a Reagan does before she comes out at bedtime with any and every excuse.

But here’s the thing, ultimately all of my cups are being fueled by one tank inside of me. And while I hate to admit it, when one cup needs more of me, that means that I put less into all the other cups. If I have a sick kid at home, then I am going to dump more in my mom cup which means I will probably be working from home so I’ll steal a little from the work cup.

Work trip or deadlines coming up? Here’s an extra splash for my career cup. Ah, but not without swiping a bit from my mom cup and a little from the husband cup. A friend wants to catch up? Hmm. Which cup do I lift from for this? Certainly, I cannot take any more from my mom cup. And I need all I have in my work cup. Would it be OK to squeeze some out of the wife cup? Or do I just leave the friend cup empty?

Empty.

That’s another misconception. The tank is never really empty. Sure, a cup may be, but that is only because its inventory has been yanked to fill another cup. Stealing from one cup to fill another is a tough decision to make. But it is one that a mother must consciously make daily.

And the mom cup cannot run dry. It just can’t. Oh, trust me, I have run on pure coffee and liquidated prayer before. I have even gotten down to the very last drop, but the mom cup must keep flowing.

Providing us financial stability, the work cup gets a good chunk of me as well. And let’s be real, it is not like that is a cup that can be easily skimped out on. I mean, having a career means being relied upon and comes with responsibilities that cannot be ignored.

Which typically leaves all the other cups as “flex” cups. It’s not on purpose! I try to be the best wife, daughter, sister and friend that I can be. But, sometimes unfortunately, those draw the short stick.

Recently, my tank seemed rather low — like no matter what, I couldn’t fill any of my cups. It probably took me longer than it should have to realize I was leaving out the most important cup.

The God cup.

You see, the God cup isn’t like the rest of the cups. It doesn’t pull from my tank. On the contrary, it provides me fuel into my tank to be able to pour into all of my cups.

And it wasn’t like I stopped going to church or praying. I think I just stopped relying on the truth that God could and would carry me through. As my tank seemed to get emptier, I thought I could handle this cup game on my own.

Boy, was I wrong. I cannot handle any of this cup pouring on my own. And honestly, without God, none of the cups or variations even matter anyway.

Thankfully, like He does, God flew in and reminded me that He fills me up, that He is the missing fuel that I had been needing to get back to a full tank. With prayer, praise and trust, I handed over my tank to be refueled by God. Miraculously, my other cups started to build.

One cup or many, they may never be balanced during this chapter in my full-time working Mom life. But I do know that once I again gave it all to Him, I truly felt that all of my cups runneth over (Psalm 23:5).

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By Sarah Shrader

Guest columnist

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.

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