Something that’s been on my mind long before I even thought about having kids is: how do people balance successful, fulfilling careers and successful, happy families?

I’m scared.  I mean, when I think (or rather, don’t think?) about this topic in a vague, all-will-be-just-fine sort of way, I believe I am superwoman and somehow will manage it all just fine!  But when I think about it in a more realistic way, based on my own experiences, I’m just doomed.

See, at times in my life when I was juggling aLOT – for example, training for a 70K Ironman while applying to graduate schools – I wasn’t that happy.  I mean, I wasn’t miserable or anything, but I felt very overwhelmed because there were long periods of time during which my schedule was, out of necessity, very rigid and jam-packed.  I didn’t enjoy this.  I really thrive off staying busy, but I like that busyness to be made up of part scheduled stuff and part spontaneous stuff.  When the fun stuff becomes so… scheduled… I stop enjoying it.  My long training runs weren’t as fun when they had to be done between such-and-such hour, and were sandwiched between work and more work.

I like time to smell the roses… or throw open all the windows, turn on some music, and organize my sock drawer… just because I feel like it.

And I haven’t even had kids yet.  How will I manage this?  How will I be super career woman when all I want to do is snuggle with my baby?  Or how will I be an attentive mother when I really want to bury my nose in the novel I’m working on?  I haven’t even had my baby yet, and I feel confused, like my life is somewhat in limbo or something.  Like something big is coming that matters way more than anything else ever will.

How do those people who manage to do it all, do it?  There MUST be some trick.  What is it?  I demand you people give me your secrets!