The Balancing Act

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Starista, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Sep 10, 2010

    :love:So this likely belongs as a blog somewhere with a cute title.

    But I would spend far too much time registering a unique blog name and would likely fall discouraged that all the "good" blog names are taken.

    Not so sure that this is a vent. Might turn out to be one. Or a hormonal tirade. Maybe a healthy mixture of both. Who knows.

    This is my 10th year teaching. I make 31,000. I do not have a graduate degree, but I do have a BA and am professionally certified in my state.

    I have never, ever taught Public school. Not so sure why. I love teaching religion to primary students for sure. The Bible is a great moral compass and listening to the children talk about God and pray together is sweet.

    My first 3 years teaching were in a Northern state. I was in grade K. It was around that time that I rushed into a marriage (hey, all my friends from college had that cute little accesory called a husband and I wanted one too). That lasted 11 months. Around the end of the marriage, life was becoming really hard to cope with. Saw some doctors and several therapists. The decided I had a mental illness called Bipolar II. I'd never heard of it, but ok. Weekly therapy sessions and meds were in my future.

    Therapy was okay. Lots to talk about re: divorce. Medications were harsh.

    Fast forward to March... One morning I woke up, ate my cereal, drank my coffee and downed my eleven different psychiatric meds. I got in my car and noticed it was icy on the roads. I burst into tears and didn't stop crying for about one week.

    During that week, one of the nights, I checked myself into the ER because I worried I was dehydrated. They would do nothing for me unless I said I would hurt myself -- or others. They sent me home at 3:00 AM. I had had a friend drop me off hours earlier, so I decided to walk home.

    I will never, ever forget walking home in the cold night and calling my Mom at 3:00 AM sobbing hysterically and feeling so... helpless. She was on the next plane to see me and stayed with me for weeks.

    I had to take a medical leave of absence from work that year. Naturally that hurt me financially so my parents suggested I move into their winter home in So. Florida.

    There I was, age 24, on eleven pills with no prospects... moving back "home."

    That long background is important to my current problem. While I am, thankfully, only on 2 medications to control my depression (the doctors later rejected the first diagnosis) I still have an INCREDIBLY difficult time balancing work and life.

    I have no hobbies. I do not go out at night. For the past 6 years I taught at a grueling school and usually went to SLEEP on school nights around 7 PM. Getting dinner on the table for my amazing husband was rare. Watching TV that wasn't recorded never happens. I can't ever save laundry to school nights. I can do barely any schoolwork on school nights due to the fatigue.

    During those 6 years, doctors and therapists played with my meds... played with my diet.. Encouraged me to hit the gym every afternoon.

    Did the thyroid tests... lots of blood work... there was simply no physical reason to be so fatigued at age 31.

    I was talking with my husband last night and said.. "I don't know how I am going to handle being a mother when our baby arrives. I can't even make dinner for you! How am I going to take care of a helpless little one while balancing work?"

    My husband is super sweet and always suggests I "take it down a notch" at work. He doesn't understand why I work so much and so hard. He certainly respects what I do, but he likely doesn't understand the amount of work it entails. He always sees that I just expend too much energy.

    You simply can not do a half-assed job as an educator. It's not fair to the children.

    But.. it's absolutely draining me physically and emotionally.

    I knew this year would be challenging moreso -- I am at a new school, a new grade and pregnant.

    But I am finding myself questioning that while, even though I absolutely love teaching, maybe it's not the best fit for me.

    I've been at this for 10 years and am confident enough to say that I know I do a very good job with the kids, the parent communication, the curriculum, etc.

    I guess I just want some semblance of a life outside teaching. If I can't find that balance, perhaps its not for me.

    Thank you for reading and absolutely no worries if you didn't make it this far.

    I certainly did not write this to grasp a wave of pity -- just trying to see if anyone's ever been in that boat.

    Happy Friday. :love:
     
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  3. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Sep 10, 2010

    :eek:hmy:

    Meant to post this in the prayer/inspirational subform.

    See what I get for posting before finishing coffee.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2010

    My sincere sympathies.

    I have to say I've never been in the same boat-- any of the boats-- that you wrote about. So I'm not the voice of experience here.

    But I will say this: Teaching is a career, a job. It's one I love, and one that I sense you love as well. But it's not all there is to life. And it's not worth sacrificing all the other things in life that are important to you.

    If your job is detrimental to your marriage or your parenting ability or your physical or mental health, then it's time to find another job or another career.

    There are millions and millions of people out there who lead happy, fulfilled lives without teaching. Perhaps you were meant to be one of them.

    This isn't about teaching ability-- I have no doubt that you're a fine teacher. It's about having a career that you can live with, one that fits with all the other sectors of your life.

    I hope you find the answers you're looking for.
     
  5. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Sep 10, 2010

    Dearest Alice,

    Thank you as always for your kindness. My mother who is a retired teacher of 35 years, expresses the same sentiments.

    I absolutely do love what I do. But I think I am going to love being a mother and would love to see the thrilled expression on James' face when dinner is on the table at 6 every night.

    Teaching is ridiculously fulfilling, rewarding, and doesn't leave me bored for a second. It sounds cliche, perhaps, but I can't imagine whatelse I would love as much... except not missing a moment of my child's life.

    Thanks again for the words of wisdom. Speaking of motherhood, your children are lucky to have you.
    :hugs:
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2010

    Thanks.

    If you think teaching is fulfiling, just WAIT until you hit parenting!!!!

    "The toughest job you'll ever love" doesn't begin to describe it!

    But tell James not to count on dinner at 6 sharp every night; you may be amazed to find that it doesn't always happen!

    I'll always treasure the years I was lucky enough to spend home with the kids.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 10, 2010

    When they put my firstborn child, my daughter, into my arms, it was as if the outside world around me disappeared. She was my only focus, my world. At that instant I knew I would not be able to leave her to return to work. I was devastated at the thought of handing her care over to a stranger in a daycare and I instinctively knew that I was not one of those superwomen who could handle a career while raising this bundle of joy. So, I quit work and became a stay at home mom. Four years later we had three children and I was still at home. I did everything I could to remain at home because it was tough financially for us. I babysat, made children's hair ribbons to sell, worked nights as a store stocker while my husband and the children slept, etc., etc. I stayed home for 13 years before going back into the classroom and I treasure (almost) every moment.

    So, after a long story, I know exactly how you feel. Some of us are not cut out to raise a family and work at a job outside the home at the same time. I would see if you can afford to stay home and do just that.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2010

    Star-
    You've been given excellent advice above. I offer my :hugs: and send you good wishes.
     
  9. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Sep 10, 2010

    I truly feel for you. I have lived with depression. I could not stay home with my child--not because I didn't want to or because I couldn't afford to (even though it would have been tough)--but because my personality would have helped me isolate myself from the world. I knew after just a few months, I had to go back in the classroom if I wanted a healthy child. I found a wonderful grandmother figure to help me love my child. I found a job that had a flexible schedule teaching and I went to work. I love my son...and as much as I loved him when they placed him in my arms, I love him 100 times more now. After getting myself well, finding the meds that I needed and finding the place to work, I am a better mom. He tells me all the time I will get the better nursing home when his father and I are old and gray. If you believe in God, pray for guidance and start looking at your own personality. If you are like me and making friends is hard for you and you will spend days in the house alone--then maybe being a stay home mom isn't for you. If you need the burden lifted and need a chance to just be free, maybe a stay home mom is in your future.


    I will pray for you. I understand how you feel. I think it all came to the top for me when I realized that there was never enough time. I had to learn to walk away at a set time each night. I had to make myself a promise. Plus I bought a crockpot for helping with dinner. I also made my friends promise to call me at certain times to give me a reason to leave school (my cell phone doesn't work at school.)


    If you need a sounding board, let me know. I
     
  10. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Sep 10, 2010

    Thank you so much. Most summers I become isolated, so I do not know is staying home would be a good choice... nor do I know if it's financially viable.

    We have several crock pots.. might be time to break them out.

    My meds work wonders for sure. Without them, and therapy, I'd be in a difficult way.

    Thank you, all, for the help.

    :hugs:
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 10, 2010

    I so feel you.

    While our histories are not the same, it seems we share some of the same feelings regarding achieving the balance between a career and everything else this world offers. I'm struggling. Big time. My husband also just tells me to stop working so hard. It's just that easy, he says. But it's not.

    But...maybe it is that easy. I take a look around at work. Plenty of crappy teachers who seem perfectly happy, and two administrators who accept it. Where is my "give a darn switch" so I can turn it off? And would I really turn it off if I found it? I doubt it. I care.

    There isn't another career I'm truly interested in to the point I'd consider leaving teaching. I am a teacher. I'm not happy right now, and I'm not used to these emotions.

    So, again, I feel you. With a child on the way I can only imagine the additional stress. If you ever want to chat, please do. :hugs:
     
  12. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Sep 11, 2010

    Thanks so much. It's wonderful to know I am not a horrible person for feeling this way.

    Yesterday, during journal time, I sat at the round table and graded a set of spelling tests while the kids wrote in their journals. I felt SO guilty. :(

    Yet, I kept reminding myself that 2 doors down, a teacher was showing a movie so she could grade her weekly assessments.

    Hope this gets easier...

    And yeah the hormones are terrible!!!

    I now am trying to convince my husband that we NEED to move back to my home in New England from Florida. That he, a native Texan, will embrace the harsh winters and realize they're a small price to pay for the glorious Falls and the mild summers.

    :)
     
  13. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Sep 11, 2010

    I can relate to what you are feeling as I've dealt with anxiety throughout my life and I also have a tendency to isolate myself. When my daughter was born, I stayed home and it was really difficult for me so I worked part time and it helped me a lot.

    Now, I work full time and it's hard to balance work and home but my husband helps me around the house so it's easier to handle.
     
  14. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Sep 11, 2010

    Invest in stamps...I know it is hard. Here we are on the fourth week of school and my principal wants to know why I have more grades in the computer than my peers. Because if the children do it, I feel that I have to grade it and record it. If it is important enough for them to do, it should be important enough for me to grade...right? But sometimes when I get overwelmed, I throw papers away...or I just stamp them. I also developed a newsletter format that is simple that can be used every week...it takes me about 15-20 minutes to do. I had a website, but it took to much time to keep it up. I purchased centers (also wrote grants for some) to save time for making them. I also came up with ways to save time in the classroom--example, painted my bulletin boards so I didn't have to change the paper. I quit taking work home with me. When I am at home, I am at home. No it isn't easy, but I still do it...and yes, I do have periods where I don't follow my own rules. Good luck.
     
  15. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Sep 11, 2010

    I would put up my bulletin boards on top of each other each with it's own backing paper, first May, then April, etc till September.
    it took me one Saturday afternoon to do it all. To change my bulletin board I just pulled the old month off and underneath was the new month.

    Starista I am sure no matter what you choose to do you will work it out, if you choose to stay a teacher there are many right here on A to Z who will give you energy saving tips for teaching.
    AND
    there are many who will give you "Mommy Tips"

    And for your listening pleasure Let There Be Peace On Earth I found this song very helpful when I felt overwhelmed
     
  16. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Sep 12, 2010

    I talked to my two favorite friends last night about these issues.

    One suggested that perhaps my depression has manifested into an OCD-like behavior. She wonders if I put my "all" into teaching and leave little room for any semblance of a life outside of my classroom. It reminded me of how I was once obsessive-compulsive about exercise... in college I would work out 3 hours a day, all at seperate times throughout the day... or how I used to be obsessive about competative gaming.

    Just something for me to think about and certainly discuss with my doctors in the future. :)
     
  17. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Sep 12, 2010

    This is a great insight.... I know that for me that is definetelly a big issue. I can't seem to stop doing things until I believe they're perfect, which most of the times it doesn't seem to be good enough for me.
     

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