Sunday, February 21, 2010

"How Do You Do it All?"

               (Wonder Woman "doodle" by Beck Kramer)

It's a question friends, family, colleagues, and fellow Army wives ask me, and my response is always the same:

I don't.

As busy as I stay, I don't get everything done that needs to be done.  I don't begin, try or explore everything I want, and yes, there are occasions when I come home, order pizza online and crawl into jammies, staying awake only long enough to eat with my children, bathe the pre-schooler, and kiss Dear Daughter goodnight before I head to bed to get as much sleep as I can.

It's been six months since Dear Husband left, and with him gone, I am the sole parent to a four year old and fifteen year old.  I teach full time, and this year my class includes five ADHD students, one non-English speaker, and one student with spina bifida.    Several of my students' fathers are also serving overseas this year, which means that busy and emotional stress is a palpable undercurrent for not only teacher, but students and their families as well.  We share hugs, look for ways to generate extra laughter, and I make sure to remind myself of my students' intentions before I react to their mischief, mistakes and moodiness.

Chocolate helps.  Regularly shaking our sillies out and dancing certainly lifts the spirits.  Coffee warms me up and gives me a boost.  Working in my craft nook playing with paper while the kids cuddle under blankies watching movies on the futon in front of my craft table has made snow days both fun and relaxing.  Participating in OWOH and the Heart to Heart Swap provided me the chance to make new crafty friends and refuel my creative inspiration.  Making sure I use every moment I spend at work being as productive and efficient as possible frees up my afternoons, evenings and weekends for my children.  My attitude and belief about my responsibilities and opportunities during Dear Husband's extended absence keep me from becoming a wife that wallows in loneliness, numbing her fear and stress with inappropriate behaviors and exploits.

My attempt at discipline and balance didn't impress Mother Nature however. At a recent doctor's visit, my blood pressure was abnormally high.  High enough that two nurses and my doctor asked if something was wrong.  I've cut back on the caffeine (shudder), made sure to drink more water, and have had our school nurse check my blood pressure daily.  It's gotten better, but when each Monday morning rolls around, I feel *it* in my chest, the pressure, the expectations, the responsibilities, the chores, the job, and the need to get it right.


Tomorrow is Monday.

Lesson plans are done.  My coffeepot will brew one teaspoon of regular coffee with two teaspoons of decaf.  I'll wear comfortable clothes and shoes.  I'll drink lots of water, enjoy laughter with my aide, creative constructions with my Super Stars, wrestle with the pre-schooler, help Dear Daughter with her homework...

... and let a pizza place make dinner.

"Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity."  Joseph Addison

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."  Winston Churchill

"Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same."  Francesca Reigler

"A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes."  Hugh Downs



  1. I love a woman/teacher who's not afraid to admit she's human! Hope your Monday is more like a Friday! :)

  2. I never cease to be amazed by you. Your willingness to be so honest about the difficulties and challenges you face is admirable. We all feel overwhelmed often and it is reassuring to hear others say the same.

    Please take care of yourself.

  3. I bet you are a wonderful teacher! I LOVE that you don't react to the mischeif first, but look to the reasons and emotions behind the acting out. Even little ones have bad days and don't know how to react to them.


As always, thank you for your comments, tips, suggestions and questions!