I had the best of intentions today, like I do ever day. I was planning on being up early, showered, dressed and ready before the kids even got up. I was going to have lunches made and ready to go Leave it to Beaver style. I had awesome ideas of having a breakfast all laid out and have morning devotional as we all sat around the table conversing as the cute little family that we are. I was going to wear a killer outfit, have awesome hair and try out some of the great new make-up that I got over the weekend to look like a 20 something bombshell that I know I can be.
And then, I woke up.
I woke up late, after hitting the snooze button half a dozen times (that reminds me to change the alarm tone since my body has obviously become immune to this one.) My morning turned into a race against the clock with no country styled breakfast, no homemade lunches, no conversing (only light yelling) and I laugh when I think that I would actually look cute! Heavens, I wore the same outfit to work today that I wore yesterday. Thank heavens no one from work saw me yesterday. My hair was still slightly damp, my allergies caused my make-up to melt down my face and I certainly looked no where near 40, let alone 20.
Kaeson yells to me from his room “Mom, I found a way to avoid taking a shower every day! ” Alarms and red flashing lights go of in my head as I race Indiana Jones style across the hallway hurtling a child in the process. In slow motion I see him shaking a ( thought to have been discarded) can of Axe body spray. I do a dive through the air into his room snatching the can from his grasp just as his finger his the dispenser.
“Ahhh Mom! Now I have to shower.”
I raced the kids into the car throwing sandwich bags of dry cereal at them and having them say family prayer in the car as I screeched down the street to drop them off at the back of the school. I pulled up just in time to have Kaeson tell me that he hadn’t taken his meds. I love his teachers too much to do that to them, so I turn around, go home and have him take his morning meds.
We go back to the school just in time to have Kyra tell me that she forgot her homework that is due no later than today as it is the end of the quarter. OH MY HEAVENS (or someplace that began with an H)… I actually vocalized that (thus the light yelling as mentioned earlier.) We turned around yet again and got home in time to get the homework and drop two now slightly disheveled children off at the junior high two blocks away.
Toad and I then go to school, as we usually do, listening to the radio and playing the Alphabet game. It was a pleasant drive, looking for the letter Q for half of the drive. Would it KILL business establishments to put the words, quick, quality or equal on the facing of their buildings? I mean come on guys! Help those of us with overly inquisitive children that are trying to avoid the heavy conversations with our children before 7:30 a.m.
Once at school, I look at the room that I left on Friday, in a bit of a disaster as I had spent my time configuring data and entering it into a data base to show growth of the students in my classroom. It shows the rate as to which is student is progressing. Some faster than others and this brings to the surface some of my feelings of not measuring up, as I take my student’s academic performance personally. My room was not in the state that I wish it would have been. I had copies that needed to be glued to cardstock and laminated. I didn’t have my spelling for the week copied. I had not yet made and copied my plans for my substitute later this week. They were nominal tasks, but at that moment, they were daunting.
I reflected back onto my weekend. My children were with their dad and I was home getting things done. I find that when the kids are gone that is the ONE time that I have a chance to play catch up. I do laundry, do the grocery shopping, home repairs, errands, returns, and meal preps. I do everything that I used to do when I was a stay at home mom during the day. I find that as a working mom, and with growing kids that are into activities and hard homework (and let’s just throw autism in there just for kicks) I really don’t have time to get it done during the week. I may get a few loads of laundry done and the dishes to get washed “everyday,” but beyond that, honestly, I am too darn tired and end up simply without energy to do anything at the end of all of that.
To boot, I sat down on Sunday night at looked at my budget. I am in one of those many professions where my Master’s degree really doesn’t get me very far financially. Having been through two rather pricey divorces, my savings are gone, as is my credit. I live on a cash only basis, and don’t have a single credit card, which ironically makes life rather difficult sometimes, but keeps me living low. I recalled a story of a coworker telling me earlier in the week that she had overheard a man at the bank talking with the teller about the balances in his account. The teller mentioned that he had $4 in savings and $72 in checking and the customer was trying to figure out what to do with the $16 check that he was trying to cash. She said, “How can people live like that????” My response, was, “That’s me most of the time!” She was very cute and said, “I don’t know how you do it! That is totally how I would be as a single mom!” Yes, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
That is when it hit…. I am inadequate. I felt my world closing in around me and my anxiety rise. My heart started to race and my breath got short. I tried to hold back tears as I realized how out of sorts I was feeling. It was pretty intense. I felt that all eyes were on me with judgement. I felt that I was not measuring up in any part of my life. Motherhood, work, finances, my home, everything.
I all of a sudden felt as though I would never be as good as those that surround me. Although I give my job my all, I feel like I am always missing something. Work comes before my family most of the time and it all goes down from there. Finances… I mean really, working as a teacher is moving into a cute, adorable bike riding financial cul-de-sac.
So, I stressed for about an hour with deep thoughts. I ran the gammot of emotions. I felt myself circling the drain. So, when I had a moment, I stopped.
This type of thought pattern is never good for me. I have found that I can’t let myself dwell there as it leads to feelings of despair and depression. Nothing is so big that it can not be overcome. Nothing is so deep that one can not survive. Nothing is so bad that you can’t come back from it. So, I needed to stop before I got myself too far down the dark rabbit’s hole. This is HARD for me 🙂
So, what did I do?
- I did a series of deep breaths. I know that sounds cliche, but taking a moment to just take deep breaths calms me, my heart rate lowers and my mind clears.
- I sat and thought for a minute of the fact that I do have a lot going on in my life and not everything can be perfect. It is OK. It is hard for me to think that not perfect is OK, but it is just that. It is OK.
- My house is not all pulled together every day, but my house is cute, cozy and a place of peace for my children and I.
- I don’t have the laundry all caught up, but we have enough that I don’t need to do laundry every day to keep it that way.
- My finances are tight. Very tight. I sat down and drew out my list of ins and outs and did some moving around. I will be ok. It isn’t perfect by any means. I need to watch what I spend and really separate the needs from the wants (oh, I have my wants) I still need to figure something out long term, but we are ok.
- The kids are alive. That is a HUGE feat! I have had to deal with teachers, IEP’s, doctors, their father and their own personal struggles. However, they are well fed, they are happy, they have their own rooms, they are adorable and sweet and well behaved. They get along well and are best friends. To boot, they are HILARIOUS!
- I am a good teacher. I have to tell myself that. Every day. I work hard to find fun and educational activities for my students. I work hard to help my students feel loved and safe and keep their parents involved. I enjoy my team and like those that I work with. I try to not take things personally. I am doing my best to balance it all, and work gets more than its fair share and right now, that is OK.
- I am ok with me. I am not perfect. I have a million people that will attest to that. However, I have some good qualities and attributes that I like about me, and others seem to like about me too. As conceited as this sounds, I listed off the things that I like about me. I have a girlfriend that makes me do this whenever I am feeling down. I HATE it, but she is right. We need to list things to let us know that we CAN do and ARE good at. It counteracts the bad.
- I have a kicking sense of style
- I know how to do make-up and LOVE helping my friends feel pretty.
- I am a good seamstress and can make just about anything.
- I am kind to people and try to find the good in them no matter what.
- I an strong, and I have survived this far, and I am not dead yet.
It took a little bit of time, but I came home feeling much better. I had cleared my head and was able to put my thoughts in order. I had pulled myself out of my slump and had a plan in my head. I know that it isn’t perfect, and that is ok. I will go with it until I find something better.
On the way home from work, I continued to play the alphabet game with Kelton. We found the letter Q on the side of Taco Bell as they were advertising Quesadillas. We did our few errands, stopped by the doctor’s office to pick up a prescription and dropped it off at the pharmacy. Stopped at the grocery store and bought bread, eggs and cheese. Stopped at the bank and got $20 for the kids’ lunches. We were thrilled that as we pulled into our street we followed a car that had a Z on its license plate.
We walked in, both tired and in need of chocolate and caffeine. The kids, as always are thrilled to see us as we come home. It was at this moment Kaeson rushed up to me and gave me a huge hug. “Guess who has all of their homework done!” I respond as the proud parent that I am, “I’m guessing you!” Kaeson looks genuinely confused. “No, why would you think that?”
I need a manual for this kid somedays, and that is OK.