Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: Finding Balance - I Didn't Plan to be Gone This Long

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Finding Balance - I Didn't Plan to be Gone This Long


I didn't plan to be gone this long. I always think - "I can do it all". I figured I'd take a few weeks to get acclimated to being a full-time teacher while juggling being a mom, wife, etc and then I'd be back to blogging and sharing with you all. It's now been 7+ weeks and as I sit and write this I'm worrying I'll never find a way to really get back at all. I'm worried I won't be able to navigate my way through this puzzle and find a way to make it all fit - harmoniously.



Here's the thing - teaching isn't an 8 to 3 job. Not many non-teachers realize that but it's true.  I'm always thinking, creating, planning, grading, doing. I should be doing that right now. I have a pile of "stuff" sitting here next to me and lesson plans to write. I need the break though. I'm feeling overwhelmed and tired. So here I am. Blogging instead. Not my usual sort of post but a post I "needed" to do versus one I "wanted" to do.

Thank you to all of you that have reached out - wondering where I am and how we are doing. It's amazing how awesome our readers are! To put it simply - we are adjusting. The Lil Divas love having me at their school. They think it's awesome when we bump into each other walking in the halls. Their little faces light up and they get all excited and wave. Ok, they sometimes run out of line to give me a hug too. We're working on that but secretly - I love it. They won't always be so excited to have mom at school with them so I'm soaking it all up while I can. Thankfully, their teachers are very understanding (tolerant). I'm grateful.

They aren't as excited about the hours I've been putting in (10+ hr days) and the lack of free time we've had together. It's been a BIG change for all of us. I'm still trying hard to find a way to balance it all. I'm very hard on myself. I have a hard time not being able to do something or needing help. It's been a difficult journey - adjusting to not being able to do it all. Most days I feel like I'm losing that particular battle. I'm struggling to keep up. I mix-up the days the girls have P.E. I forget when we are supposed to meet for Girl Scouts. I am always running late to dance class. We eat out way too often. My house is in need of a good cleaning. I haven't had a real conversation with my best friends in months. The list of things I promised the girls we'd do together and then ran out of time to do - is getting long. All these things have me feeling unhappy and like a less than stellar mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, etc.

Here's the thing though. We need to find balance, don't we. It's wonderful to want to give your all at work (and I truly do) but it shouldn't be at the expense of my family or myself. I feel like a first year teacher all over again because this time I'm a mom too. I'm juggling way more than I did before I had my precious girls. The result -  there have been way to many calls left unreturned, invitations turned down and simple moments with my girls missed. Those moments matter and I'm missing them. I hate missing them. 

I don't want regrets to be a big part of my life so I'm making a simple promise to myself. Starting next week - no more 10+ hr days 5 days a week.  No more working at home every single evening. It's too much and it's taking a toll on me. It's taking a toll on all of us. I'm going to work hard to manage my time more effectively and a few days a week I will leave on time.  I will leave it all behind. I will pay attention to everything else besides work. My family and I both deserve that. 

Hopefully you will see a bit more of us - soon. I miss blogging. A lot. Though this too can be time consuming (any blogger will tell you that) - it was something I truly enjoyed doing. The Lil Divas miss it too. They have been crafting a lot on their own lately. It makes me both happy and sad. Happy that they truly enjoy being creative and I sparked that in them but sad that I've stepped away from it for so long. We need to find our way back to it - together.


Here's to finding balance. Hopefully. Soon. 

Thanks for sticking with me. 
We appreciate it.


Bern

37 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your heart! You have a lot going on! As a former 4th grade teacher, I know how time-consuming it is! I felt like work never truly ended...from grading, planning, creating, parent emails, etc. Hope things settle down for you and can find a great routine! Thanks for all you do!! :)

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  2. I'm thankful for what post you do get out! Teachers are amazing people! Just remember that always!

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  3. My blog is a bit neglected lately too. I try my best to at least write one post a week, but it's amazing how fast the weeks goes by! This is my 20th year in the classroom and I always forget how draining the first few weeks/months can be. I'm just now starting to feel like I have my feet under me. It gets better, but you're right to make the conscience decision to carve out more time for you and your family. Good luck!
    Denise
    Sunny Days In Second Grade

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    1. The beginning is always like treading water while drowning isn't it? I hope to feel my feet underneath me soon. Thanks for sharing with me. I hope I can stick to my plan :)

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  4. I always wish I had more time. The fact that you recognize the need to find balance is key. Most folks go, go, go without even seeing the toll it can take on their family. You are doing great and I know you will find the right balance soon. Don't fell bad about the adjustment period in between. You are awesome!

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    1. Thank you Ana. I have been doing the go, go, go the past 2 months. I'm exhausted though and know I can't keep this pace. Especially since it's not really making me more effective. Just more tired and cranky :) Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot.

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  5. Finding the balance between work and family and everything in between is so hard. I think you're already on your way to figuring it out though. You recognise that its taking a toll on you emotionally and on your family and that's a great first step.
    Be good to yourself and take as much time away from blogging as you need to. It shouldn't be one more thing you "have" to do. Your readers will be here when you're ready to get back at it. :)

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    1. Balance is such an elusive word right now. I'm striving for it though. At least something better than what I have now, anyway. This week shall be about trying to make changes in a positive direction. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

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  6. I started teaching preschool 5 days a week last year and it was too much for me to juggle with 3 kids (2 with special needs) and a husband that has a BIG job. Fortunately my school is amazing and they let me scale back to 3 days a week and I feel like now I have a great balance. I know not everyone can switch from full time to part time, but I'm grateful I could. Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. I sure miss my part-time teaching days. There is no cutting back for me but I am hoping to be able to make some clear distinctions and balance how much of me is at home versus work. Thank you for sharing and good luck to you with your juggling act. :)

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  7. It takes a lot to admit that we can't do it all. Congrats on recognizing it and to coming to terms that something's gotta give (besides your sanity!). Give it some time and you'll figure out the right balance for you and your family.

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    1. Ha, Charisa - some days it feels that my sanity is what's giving. Thank you for the encouragement.

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  8. Aw, Bern. My eyes are a little misty now. It's hard to find that balance, isn't it? Especially when your children are young, and your hours with them are few. I hope you find the balance, Bern. I hope you stick to your commitment, and do what you can do work-wise within the hours you allow yourself, and then leave it behind to enjoy your life, your family and your friends. That's the tough part - sticking to the commitment. It used to be easy before the internet and social media and cell phones. We COULD close the office or classroom door at the end of the day, and leave it all behind, but we are so easily pulled back to it all in this age of technology. Good luck Bern. And all of us in the field of education and early childhood can relate. What is it about this field that has us focusing on our work long after our work day has ended? I guess it's because we're passionate about what we do. If we weren't, we'd be happy to shut the door on all of it at the end of the day. :) Good luck to you Bern. I wish you luck reclaiming some time for yourself and your family.

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    1. I hate missing the time we do have. They spend so much of their day in school and away from me - the time is precious. I'm going to work hard at carving out that special uninterrupted time. They are only young once. I don't want them to recall me as being too busy for them. I want them to remember me being there for the big things and the little things. Thank you for the kind words and encouragement.

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  9. Finding a balance is so hard. I even struggle with it now, and I don't have a full time job. But, being a classroom teacher is such a challenging (but very rewarding) job. Like you said~ it's not just from 8 to 3. It's something you think about and work on non-stop. I remember the first month of the school year coming home and napping everyday from exhaustion (didn't have kids back then). I used to go into my classroom every weekend to work. I finally had to set limits for myself~ one weekend day a month. It sounds like you are already doing that. Lots of positive thoughts for you! You are super amazing and talented!! Your family and students are so lucky to have you! Take it one step at a time.

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    1. Setting a schedule will hopefully give me some of my family time back - even if it's a forced schedule and some things go undone. I will find a way to make it work - hopefully. Thanks for sharing what worked for you.

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  10. I hope you manage to find your balance. I am still searching for mine. Scheduling posts helps with blogging. But with children things come up all the time!

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    1. Thank you Varya. Hopefully I'll find my way to a schedule soon that includes blogging.

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  11. Oh, Bern! Reading this brought back the emotional struggle I had those first years teaching and then how much more intense that struggle became once I had children. I am sure that as the school year goes on it will get a bit easier. There will always be a lot of work for teachers to do, but every year seems to get a bit easier. We do miss you blogging, but I admire your focus on finding balance. Keep hold of your priorities, and I'm sure you'll find your way back.

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    1. Thank you Shaunna. Teaching is never easy but it is so much harder as you try to balance your own children and those in your care in the classroom each day. I'm hoping we find a way to make things work for us. Thank you for the encouragement.

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  12. Love you, love your blog, and many prayers being sent your way on your journey. xx

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  13. As a former teacher, I know how much time it really takes! All the hours outside of the classroom, planning, grading.... You have a lot on your plate just teaching and being a mom -- enjoy that time with the girls! Hope you find your balance soon.

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  14. Bern, what a beautiful, honest post. So many of us can relate - teaching, blogging, parenting. It can be so overwhelming. I'm sitting indoors right now doing my reports for my parents while the sun is shining outside. I need to clean my house because we might have out-of-town guests next weekend. It is so very hard to find that balance. I do make sure to take time for myself each day, though, and I hope somehow you can do that, too. Thank you for all you've done with your blog. You are a true inspiration to many!

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    1. Thank you Sheryl. I'm going to take it day by day - do what I can and not beat myself up for what I can not do. I appreciate the kind words.

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  15. Oh I can totally understand this and I'm not surprised you're finding it hard. You're doing a LOT! And no doubt you are doing it all brilliantly which takes its toll and exhausts you. Take all the time you need to find the comfortable balance, and we will all still be here when you get back. Lots of love to you xxx

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    1. Thank you Anna. I'm hoping that I find a way to make this work soon. It is exhausting.

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  16. So good to hear from you and yes, balance is not easy to come by -- I'm so glad you are focusing on finding it. As a parent, I love that you are so dedicated to your students/class - all us parents want our kids to have teachers like you who are creative, dedicated and who care so much for our kids. But we also want our teachers to have a life and know that they are happy at home -- so good for you on making a commitment to yourself, stick with it! The balance will come but you'll never get back the time with your kids so enjoy some of it now when you can.

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  17. Boy do I respect the honesty of this post. I've been following you on Pinterest, Twitter & Facebook--where you're an obvious standout. And here you've distinguished yourself again by giving us a look behind the curtain--a real look. See, the thing about maintaining a presence online is that here you can hide whatever you wish to about how things really are. Further, I think there are plenty of people for whom their online persona is what they wish real life actually was. So thanks.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, when I was a classroom teacher, my rule was "Stay at work til the work was done." This sometimes necessitated staying until 6 or 7 (which may immediately rule such a plan out for you), but when I left work, I LEFT WORK. I never, ever brought work home. And boy did my wife appreciate it.

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  18. Good luck finding your balance! I have not taught full-time since my son was born. I am worried when I go back full-time next year that i will drop things that are important to my family. You can only do what you can do.

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  19. I have really missed you- but congratulations on your job- and GET THOSE HUGS from your girls in school! Who cares if they get out of line?! ;) Time goes too fast and hugs matter. It is so hard when we want to do everything as well as we know we can do each individual thing. But you have given your girls such a wonderful foundation, and they know they are first! I have read enough of your blogs to know you can teach with your eyes closed! :) (Even though I know, I know - the more ideas you have, the harder you work! How come the teachers with the same plans from 10 years ago float out the door the minute that last bus leaves?! :)
    Thank you for that post. I think we all feel that pressure and it is comforting to share with people who get it. You are awesome.
    Carolyn
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

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  20. Thanks for the heartfelt post Bern. We have missed you but I totally get what you must be going through. It must feel like there is not enough of you to go around. You are the kind of teacher every mom wants for their child and the kind of mom we all want to be like. Hugs!

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  21. I can totally understand your feelings, Bern. It sounds like you're coming up with a good plan. I know you're an awesome mother and teacher already. Sending lots of love and hugs and hoping you find a balance that works for you.

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  22. Awww Bern, what a very tough time you are having!! I can't even begin to imagine working FULL TIME, looking after your family AND blogging. You are a super star. Hang in there and I do hope you manage to find that balance!

    Maggy x

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  23. *raises champagne glass* To finding balance!

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