Sunday, March 4

Kids vs. Work

Life has been busy.  That's an understatement of epic proportions, but it is what it is.

We got hit with another doozy of a sickness.  The kids came out unscathed and we're all alive, so I'll call it a success.  But seriously?  Can we be done for the season?

It might be the winter, the constant sickness, the zero time to breathe, stress at work, the combo of all of them.  But I am so over being a working mom.  I started teaching 6 years and I loved it.  LOVED it.  I had wanted to teach since the 3rd grade, so it was great to be living my job.  And I know that I am SO lucky to have gotten to do it for the past 6 years.  But somedays I just feel like I can't handle it anymore.

Statistically over 50% of teachers burn out by their 5th year.  So when I hit year 5 and I was still it in I felt like I was good to go, but not so anymore.  I still do like it.  Love it even.  But I'm stuck between motherhood and teaching.  I cannot give 100% to either avenue (and add in grad school & wife-dom too) and I hate it.  But I still try.  Any minute I am home I am 100%+ about the kiddos.  Play & feeding & diapers & baths & stories & bed.  Motherhood, right?  But once they hit the hay (however fitfully because sleep?  They still don't get it.) I can't shut off my brain.  Then I have lesson plans, guided reading lessons, correcting, homework, anchor charts.  And grad class work.  And the normal laundry, dishes, bottles, sweeping.  But by midnight I'm so drained that I have to stop even though I easily have another few hours of work I could do.  So I go to bed, wake at 5 to get the day started, am in the car by 6:30, at school by 7:30.  I get through the day and try to steal minutes to get ahead, but it never works.  Instead my todo pile get precariously high.  My recess & lunch are spent catching up.  Then the end of the day comes, I shoo the kids out, pick up some of the mess (because for some reason by the end of the day there are 52 pencils on the floor no matter how often they're reminded to PICK UP).  Soon it's time to grab my bags so I can be home to let off the babysitter by 3:30.  But again, as I walk out that door I have hours of work left to do.

I never seem to get ahead because I'm not willing to sacrifice that time with my kids.  Because Colby was a baby just days ago I swear.  But now he's 2.5 going on 12 and too funny for his own good.  The girls were tiny babies needing new carseats because the regular ones were just too BIG, but now they're on the verge of walking and destroying the world.  And I can't keep up.  I can't miss this time, I won't forgive myself.  But I also can't keep half-assing it at work.  I mean, I work my butt off, but not the same way I used to.  Not the same way I want to.  Not the same way these kids deserve.

And that's where I'm stuck.  I went into teaching to be the best teacher I could be.  To give these kids the best start in life.  To make them LOVE school.  To be new and innovative and fun and educational.  I vowed to be the kind of teacher I would have wanted.  The kind I would want MY kids to have.  Because I believe in what I'm doing.  I'm in a job where I CAN'T slack.  I can't slack today and make up for it tomorrow.  I can't do it because it will impact a life forever.  I can't call this year a bust and vow to do better next year.  I just can't.

So I'm left exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling defeated by my job.  I can't slack so I am still giving 100%, but feeling behind and beaten.  And then I'm told I need to be more social.  That I need to do more to be part of the group.  That I need to stay later to have time to chit chat.  But I have those three balls of beautiful energy waiting for me.  I have the reasons I wake up and live waiting for me.

So I'm feeling torn.  SO torn.  And I know it's not a new dilemma by any stretch of the imagination.  But I haven't felt this over it before.  I haven't felt so strongly that I could walk away and really be OKAY with it.  But practicality hits and I know we NEED my insurance (million dollar babies, anyone?) and my pension will be nice when those days come.  But we need to rework something because I have a feeling that I can't go on feeling like this for too long before things get bad...


Ashley said...

Girl I don't know how you do it! Midnight!! If I'm not asleep by 10 I'm a mean teacher;) I wish I could help you!!! Stop worrying about being perfect and do your best! You are great at both your jobs!! ((hugs))

Leah said...

I can't imagine how difficult things are for you. Seriously. I have no doubts being a stay at home mom is difficult, but for me, the really difficult thing is juggling work with family. It's near impossible, and one area (or many) always suffer. I just want you to know you're not alone. I don't think superwoman herself could handle all you have on your plate. Thinking of you.

svallely said...

Honestly Stace.... I only have 1 million dollar baby at home... and I feel the SAME WAY AS YOU. I couldn't believe that I was actually looking for a new job the other day... what? This is my DREAM... how could I consider giving it up? But at times, I fee like I would much rather be with Ty and work at night at CVS or somewhere than miss out on his life. I come home from work around 5:00 and Ty is off to start the bedtime routine around 6. I STILL need to get my masters. But this year I am taking 2 courses that my district requires, was asked to join a committee for the school that meets and has work to do outside of the meetings, AND I am coordinating the walk this year... which is a HUGE undertaking. I just feel like I am half-assing everything and not doing ANYTHING particularly well. I guess this rant is really just to say that, like always, we are in the exact same position. Why don't WE open up a day care? We can teach and spend time with the kids all day? We can always go back to teaching when the kids are old enough! :)

Jen: Proud Mom of 7 Adopted Miracle Blessings said...

Sending hugs!!! I do not know how you do all you do... please try to be easy on yourself!!! Thanks for the kind comments!!!