I turned my keys into school the other day. This action marked the end of the equipment I had to turn in and check list of “to-dos” that I had to accomplish before I could officially leave the school. And while perhaps that day should have been filled with lots of emotion – it wasn’t. No, the weekend before, when I actually had to move all of my stuff out of the room, disassembling the classroom I had carefully crafted and the only classroom I’ve ever known – that was the day it really hit me. Moving became real. Leaving my career became real.
And from there I have entered the whirlwind, roller coaster, fire hose (yes it can be ALL of these metaphors) of emotions and things to do so that we can before we move. Starting with a house. Let me tell you, finding a place to rent that suits the needs of our family, that we can actually afford, and that isn’t awful looking, in a town that is not the rental-type of town has been frustrating. We think we may finally have found something (I will share once we have things more finalized), but this ushered in another surge of emotions.
Is it just me or do other women get themselves into a convoluted, spiraling circle of crazy thoughts? For me this feeling of finalization in leaving my job has made being at home with the kids harder some days. Especially when they don’t nap or sleep at night. Some days I feel awful because I feel like I don’t like them, and then that makes me not like myself for not liking them, which in turn, probably adds to the curtness and impatience towards them that makes me not like them. Being an introvert and a parent doesn’t help either – an issue I found equally as challenging while being a teacher. I often had to “waste” my prep periods at school to just sit and do nothing and re-charge. At home that is harder to do. I find myself emotionally drained from being so needed all day. Britton wakes up at night sometimes, so I put him in bed with me, then he is up at 5:00 – sometimes earlier – and it is off to the races…..the crying races that is. You know the ones where they are either switching off whining and crying or even…..crying simultaneously. And I think…how do I add a third to this chaos???
So sometimes we try to go out and leave this house and start our day over again. The other day, we went to our all-time favorite store: Target. But this did not help because do you know what they already have set up at Target? School supplies. Yes. Wonderful, beautiful, shiny, new markers and crayons and binders and….. sigh. I love school supplies. So this made me miss teaching and miss the fact that I won’t be setting up a classroom this year. So of course this lead me to start looking into the schools near the house we want to rent in Bloomington. Never mind the fact that our oldest child is barely three. But my research was disappointing. I was less than impressed with the supposedly “Grade A” school. Coming from a wonderful school like Great Hearts, it is hard to go back to a regular public school. It is often all standardized testing scores and PARCC (Common Core), and computer reading programs and Halloween parades (and don’t even get me started on their funding issues). Not that there is anything wrong with any of these things (okay, I am really not a fan of Common Core, and Illinois really does need some real re-vamping to their funding, budgeting, and pension issues), but I know it won’t be the same type or caliber of education that I fell in love with at Hillsdale and was able to practice at Great Hearts. So then I consider homeschooling. Until I remember the whole crying issue/not liking my own children sometimes conundrum, and I think about trying add actually TEACHING them something to all of that, and it all seems to be crumbling down.
One would think you could escape some of this by simply laying down and taking a rest for a while, but it has all followed me into my dreams. Dreams about teaching where nothing is prepared and my math sprints are just Halloween coloring sheets, and I don’t know the schedule for the day and the students are all out of control. And others where my children turn into zombies and eat me. And so there seems to be no respite for all my stress.
So we are going to build into our schedule a time each week where I can get away from everyone – go to the library or Starbucks or ANYWHERE by. my. self. and just have some quiet alone time. To recharge. To allow absence to make my heart grow fond again. And to de-stress a little. In the mean time, maybe send some extra coffee. Or earplugs. Or both. Maybe you should have a therapist deliver them just to cover all the bases.
See they are cute and not crying sometimes.