One of my children held two juggling balls in his hand. “Look Mommy,” he told me as he threw them in the air and caught them with ease. With practice, I’m confident that he can add another and even maybe one more. However, I know what would happen if while juggling those small balls, a sibling or a friend were to come by and throw him a big basketball. All would fall to the floor.

I think about my life. I look around, and I see manyWe’re being sold that success is doing everything right people in a similar situation. What are we doing? We’re juggling. We’re juggling a lot of balls. Juggling roles and responsibilities. It’s like we want to do everything and be perfect in everything. We’re given a message through advertising and social media that you can or should do it all. We’re being sold that success is doing everything right, and, of course, doing all that as you appear beautiful and calm.

Having goals and things to strive for is motivating and wonderful. With time, patience and practice, you can throw one more ball, take on one more thing, continue to catch the balls. But I find that when I take on too much, too fast, or something too big for me to handle, I end up overwhelmed, wiped out. I end up dropping all the balls and feeling like a failure.

I teach a class of young women all at a point in their lives where they are about to embark on a new stage, a new journey. They finished high school and took a year off to study in Israel before striving for a degree. It’s enriching this year, so fulfilling and fun. But I also see how sometimes they can’t even enjoy this year because their shoulders are heavy from the weight of high expectations, eyeing all the things they must accomplish in the near future. Because again, they were exposed to a message that says, “You must do it all and have it all and be perfect in everything.”

When I look inside to what the Divine wisdom of our Torah says, I see that it never says that the goal is to have it all or do it all. There are 613 mitzvot, and many of them are delegated to different roles and different persons. Men have commandments that pertain to them. Women have commandments that pertain to them. Your birth order, tribe, stage of life and many other factors define and guide a person as to their roles and obligations.

I think about my own preteen daughter. I want her to haveTheir shoulders are heavy from the weight of high expectation self-confidence and find joy in what she does. I want her to thrive and fulfill her personal potential. I don’t want her to drown in a sea of expectations based on incorrect values and a lack of priorities. I pray that I can be a good example as her mother as I try to find my own balance and juggle my own responsibilities. I breath with a sigh of relief that the Torah doesn’t expect me to be more than I am or do more than I can.

We have the wisdom of our sages that tell us, “You grabbed a lot, you didn’t grab anything. You grabbed a little, you grabbed (something).” (Rosh Hashanah 4b)

And that bit of wisdom says a lot. It gives us a guideline, but also, it gives us a break.