Often when bloggers take a long sabbatical like this, they come back with some kind of big announcement: I’m pregnant! We’ve moved! I’m writing a book! Unfortunately, none of those are true for me right now (though I do wonder how many people saw the word “pregnant” up above and opened this only to be disappointed -sorryboutthat). Anyway, no news here. No great excuse/explanation. Just life.
Things are busy, as always, and I’ve struggled this winter to find motivation to do much of anything other than the very basics (teaching, parenting, and somewhat managing a house). Also, I think taking that “break” from writing in January got me out of the habit of coming here regularly, and I’ve had a hard time making the blog a priority again. Frankly, most days, I just want to spend any “down time” I find taking a nap or reading a book or something equally bummish. I’m not quitting the blog, and I’m not depressed really, this just is where I am. Maybe you get it?
Anyway, the last few days have been prettier. The sun is shining, I’ve just returned two huge stacks of graded essays (only to collect more of course), and stories are starting to write themselves in my head again. I miss this place.
As I’ve been slowly getting some words to paper (or, to the screen, I guess in this case), I’ve had a bit of a realization: On top of just my general lack of of oomph lately, I’ve felt a tremendous amount of guilt associated with my blog…
For so long, I’ve worked to make this a place of encouragement for working moms (specifically, teacher-moms). I want to send a message that this life – though it is hard – is good and possible. I still believe that it is; but, right now, I need the reminder myself.
January to March is always a hard season for me professionally (and personally too, since the two don’t separate as easily for me as they do for some). I know that in my head, but it doesn’t mean that the same doubts and insecurities don’t creep up just as intensely every year… This is the time of year when I feel a little bit like a fraud here, because… “maybe I can’t actually be a good teacher and a good mom?” The truth is, I’ve felt like I’m failing a lot more lately than I’ve felt like I’m winning.
I don’t feel like the mom who is better because she’s a teacher or the teacher who is better because she is a mom. I just checked the date on that post, and, let’s just say, I think I feel like that person in June (ha). Right now, I feel tired, frazzled, behind, distracted, unorganized, unreliable, and unfun. How’s that for rainbows and butterflies?
I like to win. I like to be positive and make people feel good. But, maybe today – just for this one post – what you and I really need is a reminder that it’s OK to not feel that way all the time. A bad week/month/season/school year doesn’t make me a bad teacher, a bad mom, or even a bad teacher-mom. It makes me human. Normal even.
I want to get back here and start writing again – about silly stuff like podcasts I’ve loved, and how I’m coping with my graying hair, Nora’s upcoming birthday party, and how much my students loved the Serial podcast – but first, I needed to clear the air…
While I DO, genuinely, want to create a place on my blog of light in the dark conversations about education and work-life balance in the world today (and I think we can all agree there is PLENTY of darkness), I want – more than that – to be authentic. I never want a teacher-mom to find this blog and think that I have it together — to think that because they aren’t “perfect,” that they aren’t good at all.
I assure you, I DO NOT, and I AM NOT. This season has been a humbling reminder of that for me…
The teacher-mom life, in my experience, is MESSY. There are times when it really does “work,” and there are times when it just doesn’t. During the latter seasons, it is easy to convince yourself that because it’s hard, you are failing. It’s easy to believe the lies that you aren’t “good enough,” “strong enough,” “organized enough,” etc. to succeed at this, and to start wondering if “giving up” is your only option. Listen, I go there too.
But winter doesn’t last forever.
Like a marriage, or anything worth having for that matter, when we are called to something, we have to WORK for it, and we have to work even when it is hard. In the coldest, grayest days, we cling to the tiny buds of what will, eventually, blossom from our labor — the conversations with kids between classes, the feeling when a lesson plan comes together just right, the kind email from a parent — and we bundle up and endure the rest. Eventually, we’ll get out of the dirt and find the sunshine again.
Spring is coming.