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Water Your Own Grass

Confession.

Today I had a pity party.  For myself.

Do I think that my day was worse than the rest of the world?  No.  Definitely not.  I’m sure, without a trace of a doubt, that those in war ridden Russia and Ukraine are having a detrimentally worse LIFE than I am right now.

Nonetheless, I spent a good three hours feeling sorry for myself.  And just when I thought it was over it, I feel inspired to write and open my laptop only to find that my battery will last all of two and a half minutes. 

Poor me.

So, what could possibly have been more overwhelming and exhausting than living in a war-ridden country?  (Well, nothing honestly, but since you asked…)

I woke up today and rallied the troops just as I always do.  It was at 6:28 a.m. that I was reminded by my son as we were walking out the door that we didn’t have to leave early because he had a late start day due to testing.  (Insert face palm and crying emoji.)

This means that both my kids and I could have slept in at least another 30-45 minutes today and still been to school early.  Grrr.

Then, we get to school and my little dancer girl is sending off major pre-teen moody vibes.  Why?  Because they had to run “the mile” today. 

(“The mile” is a big deal when you MUST win all athletic competitions.)

She is competitive to her core and she was so stressed out about trying to win it that she didn’t sleep well at all last night.  (Maybe I’m so exhausted because I was in her bedroom multiple times trying to calm down her half-sleep walking/talking/crying persona.)

Then, as my morning is trolling along, I realize that I can’t move on in math because too many of my kids do not understand how to use area and perimeter formulas.  It doesn’t really matter that I taught them the formulas for what felt like eighteen hours last week. They still don’t understand. 

Then, I have a welcome break to leave the classroom and get some essay grading done because my class is scheduled for some routine end-of-year testing that is done by classroom aides.  Now, during this particular round of school (not state standardized) testing, the teachers are not present in the classroom.  It makes sense so that the testing is valid and consistent, and so that our end-of-year teacher hearts don’t accidentally help someone on the test and invalidate the scores.

It sounds great to have a break and get grading done!  My coffee bestie even delivered me an icy Starbucks RIGHT before the break!  Sounds like an excuse to put my feet up and breathe easy.

And it would have been.  Except that partway through the testing, a student was sent to the office to retrieve me because, (in her words) “the class is out of control.”

I walked into chaos.  There was noise, students drawing pictures, out of their seats…there was someone with a bloody lip.  A BLOODY LIP!  From running into some other two students who, mind you, sit ACROSS the CLASSROOM.

Now, before you get all down on the teacher aide who was conducting the room at the time, let me tell you…she is amazing.  The chaos was definitely not a product of her, but rather a product of a random day in April with a tough class who has testing anxiety, spring fever, and a severe dislike of most any form of work.

So, I go inside.  Raise my teacher voice.  Frighten them into their seats and their noses into a book.  Nothing else is happening until I can count to ten, chug my iced coffee, and pray for enlightenment from above.

After a moment of divine intervention, I decide that giving them a lecture on integrity is probably more impactful that taking away recess.  (Is ”impactful” even a word?) Also, I’m that teacher who has a hard time handing out whole class punishments when I know that not everyone was being naughty.

I struggle through the rest of the day.  I reteach area and perimeter for the ninety-eighth time.  I drink my (then watered-down) iced coffee (can someone puh-lease invent coffee ice cubes for Starbucks…), and pack up more work to take home as I rush out the door to grab my other kiddo from school.

I come home, only to usher the dancer girl back out the door for class.  I go BACK home and begin the search for whatever god-forsaken paperwork has our mortgage interest statement on it for the past year, only to be asked by the twelve-year-old, “Uh, how long do you think that will take?”

Now, in every mom’s mind everywhere, we know the next logical question is why he asked that and what he wants.  So, I ask.

He wants someone to throw the football with him because “even if [sister] was here, she still would say no.”

Enter moment of major mom conflict.  I. Am. Exhausted. 

I am overwhelmed.  I want nothing more than to toss in the towel, crawl into my bed, and send an Uber to the dance studio to retrieve the other child.

I want to find the damn paperwork for taxes, figure out what’s for dinner, and GO TO BED!  But this is the loner, middle-child asking to spend time outside of his world of electronics.  So…

I don’t sort papers, put away laundry, or go to bed.  Instead, I say, “Sure.  I don’t really feel like it, but I’ll go with you.”

I know, I know.  Not my finest mom moment, but it got the job done in an honest way.

So, we go to the park, throw around the ball, and make it back just in time to sort through absolutely no paperwork or laundry because I have to go get the dancer girl from the studio.

Home.  Dinner.  Showers.  Dishes.  Feed the dogs.  Tuck them in.  The kids, not the dogs. Shuffle through the paperwork to find nothing that I am looking for.  And…go to bed, right?

Well, that sounds all fine and dandy, except that I have three unanswered parent emails from earlier that needed to be addressed tonight.  And after those emails I felt even more emotionally drained.  So, I decide that I need to wind down.  And here I am…

In these moments, I can’t help but think of comparing my life with others. 

Oh, how I envy those friends who say, “I was so exhausted that I went home after work and took a nap!”  Or the moms who somehow find the time to write cute notes to their kids in their lunchboxes every day.  Or the people who say they spent the entire Sunday binge watching a new Netflix series. 

In my head I want to ask them, “But…how does your laundry get done?  And who vacuums your carpet and brushes your dog who sheds enough fur daily to quilt a blanket?  And where do the minutes to grocery shop happen?  And who on God’s green Earth can take a nap on a random Tuesday and STILL GET THEIR TAXES DONE?!?!”

(Insert frustrated crying face here.)

Then, there are those superwomen type.  We ALL know them and want to be them.  There are those women who get up at four a.m., drink some kind of green superfruit mixture, conquer the world one handed while feeding a toddler at the same time, win a court case, run their own boutique, make everything for dinner from scratch, and then calmly say to everyone, “Oh, it’s nothing!”

And they do it WITHOUT coffee.  Surely they must be vampires.

Note to the world: I’m sure that even those women have overwhelming, exhausting days where they literally throw in the towel.

So, after some serious coming to Jesus talks with myself, I’ve decided that I AM overwhelmed.  I AM exhausted, and I AM done throwing myself a pity party.

Because despite all the wrong that may have happened today, it wasn’t all bad.

Even though I didn’t get my tax papers found (#!@$!% insert explicative here), I did spend 45 minutes with my son watching him throw, run, and kick the football.  I watched him work on goal setting as he tried to kick a field goal time and time again.  I watched him fail, persevere, and laugh at his mistakes.  I saw him being made into a resilient person right before my eyes. 

I would have missed that if I’d stayed home to look for paperwork. 

If I hadn’t had the stress of watching the dancer girl be moody and grumpy this morning, I might not have appreciated the short conversation her P.E. teacher stopped to have with me today.  I may have missed out on how big of a deal it was that the little dancer girl’s brother (who was at our school because of his late start today) ran the entire mile with her class to try and encourage her.  I wouldn’t have realized what a big deal it was that the coach told me she beat her prior time record.

But I got to be a part of that moment despite my busy day.

I might have had a tough classroom day, but it could have been worse.  No one caused any real harm, and many students straightened up and got their work done after I revealed that I’ve never in HALF MY LIFE had an aide tell me my class was out of control. 

Apparently when 22 years is half of your life, they listen up.

Also, if I’d continued to throw myself a pity party, I wouldn’t have realized how lucky I am to have a husband who can tell (even through two different time zones and hundreds of miles) that today is NOT the day for me to be on the phone.  It sucks being time zones away for weeks at a time, but it would be even worse if he didn’t understand me.

Rest assured, tomorrow I will be better.

I will still be tired, maybe even exhausted (because this blog post needed to be written to soothe my soul at ten o’clock p.m.), and I will definitely still be overwhelmed.  However, I will have perspective.

I will remember that despite what anyone says, we all fight our own battles.

That friend who takes a nap after work?  It’s pretty possible that she was also up all night with worry, a new baby, insomnia, a bad relationship break-up, or some other stress that required her to take a nap and rest.

That super woman mom who does it all everyday from four a.m. to eleven p.m.?  She cries about needing sleep too.

Those moms who write sweet lunchbox notes every day?  Do you really think they aren’t burning the candle at both ends to make sure their kids feel like the center of the world despite their exhaustion?  Pretty sure they’re also exhausted.

So, today, I’m not going to compare myself or judge myself.  I’m going to water the grass on my side of the fence.  Even if it’s overgrown because it needs cut.  Even if it’s brown because I forgot to water it.  Even if my grass has turned into a barren plot of land.

My grass is still better than anyone else’s because it is where MY heart lives.  No one else’s grass can make me less tired, exhausted, or overwhelmed because their grass isn’t meant for me.

Be grateful, water your own grass (even if it’s brown),

…and drink coffee.

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4 Comments

  1. I just love your blog, you make me laugh and makes my day to read what happened to you and your little family. Keep up the blog and hopefully your day will go better.

  2. Angie, Your blog is awesome sauce because it’s real. None of us lead fairy tale lives. We all have those days when we wonder why we even got up. But we do…life is for living, even if it’s a 💩 day. The 💩 days make us appreciate the great ones, when hubby’s home, the kiddos are content, your grading is complete, and you can have a glass of your favorite wine (or an epic cup of coffee). Keep writing, keep living, keep being real, and keep teaching!!!

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