An experiment...

Let me paint a picture of myself this week for you.

Tuesday morning, reading emails on my prep period. I look around my classroom and see several stacks of ungraded paper, the board that needs labels, the blank bulletin board, the pile of books that needs organizing, the attendance binder that's ridiculously out-of-date and I don't really know what to do with, the desk that needs organizing, the files that need filing... you get the idea. I bury my head in my hands and wonder how on earth I can finish all of this.

Thursday night, I stayed at school until 645pm. I drive home, tired, but feeling like I had been productive. I get home to straightened living areas, thanks to my lovely husband. As I'm putting the breastmilk away I realize what I'm putting in there is ALL of the breastmilk I have. The baby is hungry, but I just pumped. I walk into our room which has been overcome by the mountains - plural - of laundry. Despite all my work today, I'm just more behind in other areas.

Saturday afternoon I ask, "Whose turn is it to pull off a paper chain?" [Our advent calendar this year is a paper chain, with each link having an activity on it.] My oldest good-naturedly replies, "Everyone's! We all missed our days!" I purposely made the weeknight activities to be very easy (the most difficult is "bake gingerbread" not coincidentally on the night before I'm supposed to bring gingerbread to school. Seriously, one says, "Eat candy canes.") So, we haven't even ripped off the chain for 3 days, and still haven't completed the 2 previous days' activities.

Every morning, I brush my teeth and wonder what I'd like to write about next. I count the days since my last blog post, and think, "If I really want to do this, I need to practice. I need to write." I rinse and spit, go on with my day, and don't write anything more than comments on essays and Facebook.

There's just not enough time in the day. I constantly feel overwhelmed. Part of this, I know, is due to postpartum anxiety. It makes me feel, well, anxious, about everything, all the time. I'm working on figuring out what all I need to be doing to combat it.

Every day, something tells me I'm not good enough. Not an actual person, but something. It might be the pile of dishes, laundry or ungraded papers. It might be the look on my kids' faces when I tell them we'll have to do today's, and yesterday's activities tomorrow, because it's already too late. It's the blog that sits unwritten for a whole week. It's the checking account, the fast food wrappers, or the cluttered bathroom counter.

I slide in a few minutes late to another meeting, the snarky, not in a good way lovely teacher beside me says, "Oh, I expect it now. You're just late. It's just you." I smile sweetly mention how my plate is very full and think, "You've known me for about 2 months, and that's what you got?"

So, I decided to conduct an experiment. And, of course, I need to document this experiment for my own sake, and you get to follow along and laugh support me! This is my so-ridiculously-simple-tons-of-other-people-do-it-all-the-time experiment: no TV, no leisure reading, no Facebook, no Pinterest between the hours of 630 am and 8ish pm (whenever the kids are in bed). I will only use the computer for work, and work includes writing, because I really want that to be my "work." I want to see just how much I can accomplish without those distractions. If I am working at all my jobs (teacher, mom, wife, etc) for those hours, and I still can't accomplish it, it doesn't need to be done that badly. Or, I need to cut back. This week, I hope to get some answers to that.

Does anybody want to join me? Is there anything that you need to cut out of your day so that you can focus on your job, or, like most of us, multiple jobs?


Anonymous said...

I need to out a lot of stuff that is non-essential; Im a super multi tasker and it drives me NUTS!!!
Why? because I never have time for me, the things that I love and would like to do in my leisure time, which by the way I never have.

Mrs.O said...

Love the idea and I hope it helps you! I pretty much already do this (with some exceptions) and still feel inadequate. My laundry is never finished, the kids never get enough of my time, and I'll never be a perfectly-organized, superior teacher. I think the problem is with the expectations we have of ourselves. I think I'm finally at a point where I'm okay not doing everything perfectly. Life is too short to worry about laundry (as long as we have clean clothes to wear!) and unorganized bookshelves. Give yourself a break! All you can do is your best, and from what I have read, you are already doing that! :)

K Newman said...

I totally agree about the expectations! But, I also know that those things can become a huge time-suck for me, and I don't want to let it get out of control. I consider this a type of fast. I'm not going to do this forever (most likely), but I want to get my priorities straightened out. Also, this is such a busy time that I want to be sure I'm spending my time wisely, so as not to stress myself out. It's all about balance. I need the house clean-ish, but I also need downtime. That's why I didn't cut those things out completely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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