I’ve posted in the past about how busy my life gets, and in light of the medical problems I’ve been experiencing over the last 8 months, I’m just not sure that it’s worth it anymore to run myself ragged. My husband and I have some big decisions to make in the next few months, but no matter what we decide, one thing is very clear: I need to take better care of myself. That includes exercising and eating well – which I’ve already been doing for quite some time – but it also includes making more time for me so that my head does not explode in some crazy mental breakdown. This is a distinct possibility if I don’t make some serious changes very soon.
Though I always manage to fit in some form of exercise, some weeks I don’t get to sweat nearly as much as I would like. So in order to combat that, this week I
indulged scheduled in some “me” time for running with my pups when I should have been doing school work. I am working very hard to retrain myself, including making changes to my vocabulary. The word should is a giant load of shit – there is absolutely nothing I should do except be true to myself, and that simply doesn’t include drowning myself under a giant pile of prep work and marking – so I’m going to attempt to eliminate the should. I also plan to stop viewing the time I schedule in for exercise as an indulgence, because it isn’t one. Exercise is a necessity and I have every right to value my own health at least as much as I value doing my job well.One way that I plan to take better care of myself is to stop trying to be perfect at school. Perfection is unattainable, especially in a career where more things are added to the To Do list than are ticked off of it each day. I am not exaggerating about this in the slightest – if you don’t believe me, go befriend a high school English teacher. In order to actually meet her, you will likely have to lurk outside her vehicle in the school parking lot from 7 to 9pm, as she isn’t likely to be spending much time anywhere else…but I digress. The point here is that the ridiculous expectations of my career are not going to change (at least not for the better – we’ve already been told that staff cuts are coming next year and class sizes will only get larger). Since the expectations aren’t going to change, I will have to focus on the things that I can control. Maybe I have to mark less assignments, or have kids do more peer editing. Maybe I have to just go home, even if tomorrow’s lesson isn’t fully planned. Maybe I have to ask for an altered teaching assignment so that I’m not teaching every single English class in the high school. Maybe I have to accept that I just can’t do everything, and that is okay. This will be extremely hard for me, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
As part of this “taking care of me” business, I made a snap decision this week that literally filled me with joy. I decided to hire a cleaning lady. I am sure that there are going to be people who judge me for that, but I just don’t give a rat’s ass. Between prepping, teaching and marking, I work around 55+ hours per week; I also teach two fitness classes (soon to be three), run with my dogs as often as possible, fit in a yoga practice whenever I can, and take care of all the regular things involved in running a household, like paying bills, doing laundry and keeping the house clean. On top of all that, I’ve been doing Yoga Teacher Training every few weekends, and making room for a bunch of crappy medical appointments (which means making sub plans!), so something’s gotta give. That something is cleaning the toilet. Oh, and vacuuming. I can do without the vacuuming.
The cleaning lady starts just after we get back from our Jamaican holiday. I am beyond ecstatic about this…probably much more excited than a person should get about housework. I deserve this. It is time to get serious, and stop taking myself so seriously.