Well it’s certainly been awhile since I’ve written and that’s because life has been absolutely crazy. Between starting at a new school (I’m loving my new class!) and just getting back into a work-day routine, the days just seem to keep speeding by. And although I worked part-time over the summer, it amazes me how quickly we can get so used to the lazy, slow-moving days of summer!
But alas, summer has come and gone and life is back to “normal”. I’m teaching Grade 5 this year with a class of 23 students (17 boys, and 6 girls! yikes!) I have a wonderful yet diverse group of students who are keeping me busy every minute of the day. Between planning regular lessons, modifying those lessons to meet all my learners’ needs, marking, performing and recording assessments, helping organize my students (wow, ten-year-old boys can be so disorganized!), the list just goes on and on. And since our union is currently under work-to-rule we don’t even have all the regular administrative and paperwork stuff to do. Still, making sure each and every one of my students gets each and every thing they need each and everyday – is exhausting (although also incredibly rewarding – thankfully!)
Besides teaching nearly full-time, I’m also trying to keep up my part-time job at the mall. Some say I’m crazy to have a second job, but compared to teaching my retail job is completely stress-free. On top of that, I work with lovely co-workers who make me look forward to going to work. Not to mention the great discount on new clothes – now really, who could complain about that? Needless to say, working part-time means less “me” time on my evenings and weekends – but so far, it’s worth it.
So besides working two jobs, I’m also your Type-A, hyper-organized, Pinterest-surfing, do-it-all, Martha Stewart-esque home-maker. In my terms, this means I love (and insist upon) a clean and tidy house, try to cook healthful meals as many times in a week as possible (often making meal plans or meal prepping ahead of time), and in between all that, try to find a few spare minutes in a day to decorate my home according to season or holiday, and maybe even light a few candles. All this, of course, isn’t that difficult until you throw my husband and step-kids into the mix. Now toss in endless loads of laundry, tidying up other people’s messes constantly, helping with homework, and of course, “Kelly’s Cab Service” (as I like to call it), and you can see where I start to lose my mind. And of course, I can’t forget the dog. Although he is completely adorable and my “fur-baby”, trying to keep the house clean of his endless shedding is a task that I’m surprised hasn’t completely done in this neat-freak yet!
Besides working two jobs, trying to maintain a home that is presentable (yes, I know my standards are high), being a good wife and step-mom, I’m also constantly on this journey of fitness and weight loss. My weight has been a struggle for my entire adult life and therefore I’m often in the throws of my latest diet/nutrition/healthy-eating/fitness plan. This means finding the time to cook healthfully instead of just grabbing take-out, and making time in my already-busy day for a solid workout (if I can somehow find the time and energy!)
Sigh. Now I’m tired. Just thinking about everything I “need” to do on a day-to-day basis can be completely overwhelming and I know I’m not the only one out there. Ask my husband, my Mom, or any other person that knows me well… they’ve seen the result of what happens when I become too overwhelmed (it usually ends up in a crying, irrational, snotty mess – thankfully, I have them to help me recover!) My husband likes to say that I “spiral out of control”. And I do. Instead of thinking about what I am doing presently, my mind is always thinking, preparing, and planning the things I have to do in the next 5 minutes, hour, that afternoon, this evening, tomorrow, this weekend, next week… you get the idea. Rarely, can I just live in the moment and focus on what I have to do now. Eventually all this thinking just becomes too exhausting resulting in the afore-mentioned crying, hyperventilating, ridiculous mess called me.
So where am I going with all this? (I promise it’s not one of those downward spirals my husband has to suffer through!) What I’ve decided to do to help me live more in the moment this year is to adopt a “mantra”. In all those moments where I feel like I am rushing, over-thinking, planning too far ahead, being too hard on myself (or others), or setting my expectations too high, I am going to simply say:
“Be gentle with yourself“.
In other words, it’s okay if you missed that workout. It’s okay if the dog’s entire summer coat is making a new carpet on the hardwood floors. It’s okay if you grabbed takeout because you had a really long day and just don’t feel like cooking. It’s okay if Halloween has come and gone and you didn’t put out one, single decoration or make treat bags for your students.
It’s. just. okay.
In adopting this new mantra, I hope that I won’t become as overwhelmed so easily and can avoid the dreaded downward spiral. I hope that it will help me to let go of my perfectionism just a little. Most of all, I hope “Be gentle with yourself” will remind me that it’s okay to have a busy lifestyle, but we all need those moments to just breathe. And if for some reason we don’t get them, then that’s okay too.
Be gentle with yourself.