My mind is almost always going a mile a minute – pondering, reflecting, planning. Is this okay? or What will happen if _____? or What do I think about ____? Here are a few things I’ve been saying to myself this week. See if you notice a theme.
1. It’s okay to stay home from the gym this week; you’re sick!
2. It’s okay to leave work to go to the doctor. They can survive without you for one afternoon.
3. Yes, you and Jonathan are doing a good job managing Jonah’s screen time.
4. You’re not a bad mom for having a babysitter two Saturday nights in a row.
5. You’re not a bad mom for taking a few minutes for yourself between getting home from work and picking up Jonah from Nonni’s.
6. It’s okay that you haven’t written a blog post in a while.
7. You will have a job next year. (More to come about this, perhaps.)
8. You and Jonathan and doing a good job with the dogs. They are loved, happy and healthy.
9. It’s time to find some friends here. But the thought of that is pretty exhausting!
10. You can’t do much about the fact that the world seems to be going to hell right now. Do what you can and focus on the positive.
I’m sitting here at Barnes and Noble, drinking an iced coffee and eating a pumpkin muffin. Today it’s raining all day, but it feels like fall, and that is something to be celebrated. Jonathan encouraged me to steal a couple of hours away this afternoon (sweet man!). I should be working on guided reading lesson plans, which is purportedly what I came here to do, but instead I want to return to my long-neglected blog.
I haven’t been writing for a couple of reasons: 1) I forgot how much creativity good teaching requires. I also forgot how tired I am by the end of the day. After Jonah is asleep and I have time to myself I haven’t been able to muster the energy or creativity to write anything. 2) I have been deliberating on what to write publicly about my job. More on that below.
We’ve been in Atlanta as a family for a little over a month now. For the most part, the transition has been a dream. For example:
We absolutely love our new home. We are settled in and about 97% of the way unpacked. The house is such a blessing for our family and so much more than we could ever have afforded or expected to have on our own without family support.
Jonah has transitioned amazingly well to my mom watching him during the week. He didn’t seem to really be phased by the change. He absolutely loves his Nonni and looks forward to going to her house. At the same time, he talks often (every day or two) about all of the family we left behind in NC. When Jonathan’s parents visited over Labor Day, Jonah picked back up with them as though we had never been apart. I like to think that his heart is big enough to hold love for the multitude of people who inhabit his world.
Jonathan quickly and easily got a job working from home that he will likely be able to continue once he starts school in the spring.
We think we have found a new church home here.
I’m loving my job. If you remember, during my job search I got a very, very strong sense that this job was the one that was right for me, though the others seemed to make more sense practically. I haven’t been disappointed.
As I mentioned above, I’ve made the decision that the wisest course of action is not to talk about my job in detail on the blog. This may seem like CYA (cover your …), but my school system tends to get a fair amount of attention, and I’m just trying to be smart. Here are the important points:
I feel more effective than I ever have as an ESL teacher. The time away from the classroom in an administrative role made me a better teacher.
I feel respected. I’m not a novice teacher anymore. It’s nice to have people come to me for help instead of it always being the other way around.
I like working with almost all older students. Upper elementary, baby!
Many days I am home at 3:30. That is something I never would have predicted when we decided to move to Atlanta.
6. I feel a great sense of balance in my life since we moved. Jonathan and I are getting more date nights out and quality time together than we have since Jonah was born. Being home earlier in the afternoon means more time with Jonah. Even though I’m now commuting 25 minutes to work, I’m actually spending less time in the car than I did this previous year between taking Jonah to and from daycare, going to and from tutoring, my in-laws house, etc.
This will have to be all for now. Thanks to everyone who hung around and waited for a new post from me! I promise it won’t be this long until the next time I write. In the meantime…enjoy fall!
About two months ago I began doing yoga. I’ve always wanted to try it, but all the studios I had looked at were pretty expensive, and as the working mother of a toddler I didn’t see how I had the time. At the beginning of March Jonathan found a Groupon for a local studio and suggested that we buy it, and I agreed.
I started going to classes and was immediately hooked. The combination of pushing my body outside of its comfort zone plus mindfulness and proper breathing did wonders for me physically. I felt better.
Soon I noticed that something strange was happening. During and after class, I began to have lots and lots of ideas to write about. I’ve enjoyed writing for a long time, but have always been very much a slave to inspiration, meaning that I would only write when I had a great idea–which wasn’t often. But once I started doing yoga, the ideas just started flooding into my mind. Yoga inspired me, and I started writing multiple times a week. I haven’t stopped yet.
Then, I got the crazy idea that someone else might want to read what I was writing, and that they might even pay me for it. Why not submit some posts to some other websites and see what happens, right? Can’t hurt. And two weeks later, I had five posts featured on BlogHer, including one I was paid for, and two accepted for publication on YourTango and Scary Mommy.
I think yoga has inspired me to write in three ways: 1) I am actually exercising on a regular basis, which benefits my body and mind, 2) the mindfulness that is a part of yoga practice helps me to clear my head and focus on my breathing, so when I do begin to think of other things again the ideas flow freely, and 3) yoga and writing are both things that I am doing only for myself. They are mine–not part of my roles as wife, daughter, mom, employee, just Holly.
I really think this is the crux of the whole issue: When I started taking care of myself in one way it enabled me to take care of myself in other ways, too. When I started believing that my writing was worth taking seriously, I found out that other people thought so, too. And that’s an empowering thing.
As women, we seem to have a tendency to discount our gifts. Maybe you have a little hobby that you dabble in now and then but you don’t think that it’s worth showing to other people. Or you downplay your strengths at work in order to not seem pushy or like you’re showing off. And this benefits nobody. It doesn’t help the people who would benefit from your gift, and it certainly doesn’t help you.
So I guess the moral of this story is to find whatever it is that inspires you, and make time for it. Don’t be afraid of the gifts that you have. Embrace them, and find others that do, too. Make yourself a priority. Take yourself seriously. And try yoga–it’s the best.