Thursday, September 10, 2015

On the Sidelines

As I was trying to fill in Nate's baseball schedule, his aspiring leaders course schedule, his cooking class schedule, and then Ave's schedule with horse lessons, soccer, and girls scouts I was struck with the one schedule that was missing that in the past had been one we needed to work around at times, mine. For a brief moment, every now and then, I will have a moment of feeling like something is missing, like I should be doing something more. Maybe I should have taught that college class, maybe I should have signed up to sponsor a club at work, maybe I should start trying to take classes for the grad certificate I want or even yet start looking into the PhD programs that are on my big maybe one day dream list. Those thoughts last very briefly. They are honestly quite fleeting; they are there but I don't spend much time thinking much past the initial thought. Part of it I wonder if it's guilt because I'm use to being the one to pick up extra work because as a high school teacher there were always more options available, I see other moms taking on extra commitments with work and kids so I think I should too, and I'm use to pushing myself honestly beyond my limits. However, I know that is not a healthy place for me to be in, and right here on the sidelines really is the best place for me right now.

Unfortunately as a teacher part of the reflection on how dedicated of a teacher you are is measured in the extras you take on after the regular school day. I've talked to too many new teachers that after the first year start stressing how they need to sign up to sponsor clubs or coach sports now because there is such pressure to get involved. Again after spending ten of the last eleven years (I did not oversee or take on anything extra the year Kenzi was born) that guilt that I should be doing more because that's what's expected, or so and so is ,or just because I always have can sneak in, but honestly again if I look back I needed a serious step back. Not just personally but professionally because I lost my enjoyment of teaching and with it my confidence. I think to build both of those back up I really needed to be able to focus on what I can do to be better in the classroom for the students I serve in my class. I have that chance now, and I am loving it in a away I haven't in years. With passion again comes motivation to try harder, to try new things, to challenge yourself. That is where I need to be right now.

The best part of all, professionally and personally, is I am really enjoying being right where I am right now.   I love being home to get Ave off the bus, to run her to activities and watch her engage with friends and things she's coming to love. She reminded the other day how I teach her things because I worked with her on how to hit a pitched ball, catch the ball in the air, to ride her bike, and to tie her shoes. I've even taken up cooking dinner once or twice week this year so by the time Nate walks in the door he doesn't have to worry about it, and with me here every afternoon and evening if something comes up with work foe him it's no big deal because I'm here every night for the girls.

Stepping back has also been not just a huge improvement for me professionally or as a working mom but has made such a huge difference in my relationships too. It's definitely improved my marriage. I don't snap at Nate as soon as he walks in the door because I feel overwhelmed and like I'm taking on the world alone. Unfortunately, when I look back I think in some of my most peaked moments of overwhelming stress I think it really took a toll on my relationship with Averi ( I think Kenz was too little),  and I feel I'm  in a much better place with her now too.

So to some maybe I did place myself on the sidelines, but again we all have to evaluate what is best for us and ours. That call has to come from within us, not from what everyone else wants from us. It's so easy to always think more is better. The more I can do the better mom I am. The more money I make the better our life will be. The more time I work the better employer I'll be.  Sometimes I feel as if by not doing more I am less, but the thing I have to remind myself is I have done it. I've been the working mom that took on the extra commitments after school and with grad classes. I have done that balancing act, and I would do it again if I felt there was a need, not a want, because I know I can do it but I also know it comes at a cost to myself. I definitely learned we are the caretakers, moms, and I had to make taking care of myself a priority for everyone's benefit. If you need me I'll be on the sidelines, coaching and cheering on team Glenn, because that really is the best place for me right now.

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