December 31, 2010

a new year's resolution (i think) i can keep

I've never been one to make "New Year's Resolutions."

It just always seemed silly to me to take the time to make a list of wants, desires, goals etc. for the new year ... I mean, if it has to be written down, is it really that important?! And why can't a person resolve to be better at any point during the year? Just because you don't start something at the beginning, doesn't mean you can't make changes in your life later on down the line ... It shouldn't be all or nothing!

But anyway, this year, I'm hopping on that New Year's bandwagon and starting 2011 with a major goal in mind.

Life has been so busy these past couple of months, and not just because of the holidays and their approach. My transition from stay-at-home mom to working mom has really been a challenge for me ... One that I hadn't really expected.

Maybe I was being naive and/or too optimistic in thinking that I could handle both roles with little interruption or effect on my mental state ... Whatever the case, I have found that each day that passes is dominated by one or both of my two jobs ... Sometimes in equal parts, sometimes not.

During the day, I find myself struggling to keep a child happy while fulfilling my many teacher's obligations. When Malcolm is occupied, even if it is only in small bursts, I answer emails, create "catch up" plans for failing students, grade papers, and even correspond via instant messages. During his naps (when all is blissfully quiet) I call students by phone, hold my "office hours" where students can be guaranteed to reach me, and run virtual classroom sessions ...

At night, once school is over and my husband is home, I am still "on the job," although my son (and not my students) becomes my central focus.

There is hardly a moment when I feel like I am not working at something.

There is hardly a moment for me to just breathe and do nothing.

So, one night over my Christmas Break (which also happened to be a "vacation" week for my husband), I finally put all of my thoughts and feelings about this dual existence into words. As much as he probably didn't want to deal with me and my weepy ramblings, I finally expressed to him that I'm feeling overwhelmed. That, although I love being a mother to our son, I find myself wishing for simpler times and struggle through the days to make everything work. That I need more help. That I need some time that is mine. Just for me.

This is not to say that my husband is a lump! In fact, I'm pretty sure he does more than an average husband (but correct me if I'm wrong) ... In addition to the more "manly" duties of taking out the garbage and keeping the yard presentable during all seasons of the year, he also hand washes all of our dishes (we, very unfortunately, do not own a dishwasher), does all of the grocery shopping, cooks delicious meals with the groceries he buys, takes care of our cats' litter boxes, and often keeps our floors clean by sweeping or vacuuming ... Not to mention all the time he spends entertaining Malcolm every night.

I know that I am very lucky, and that he also deserves his down time, but, even so I still yearn for mine. In only three months, my two jobs have really taken a lot out of me! But I take full responsibility ... I'm a perfectionist by nature, so I can't only go "half way." Everything has to be done impeccably, even to my detriment.

That is why, this New Year, I'm finally making a resolution:

I'm going to allow myself to be fully honest and ask for help when I need it.

No longer will I silently suffer and wait on others to reach out to me ... My family and friends aren't mind readers!

No longer will I feel guilty if dinner isn't ready (or even started!) when my husband comes home from work.

No longer will "not doing it myself" be considered a weakness.

If those closest to me catch on to the fact that I'm not Superwoman, that I can't do it alone (nor do I want to), then that is okay.

I can live with that.

And hopefully my husband can, too!

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