Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Today was really NOT awesome

I really wanted to call my mom today. Usually when I have a yucky day and need to vent, she was so great about just settling in and listening while I told her about things. I don't get stressed very often, so when I'd call and ask for her listening ear...she knew I really needed a sounding board.

People always ask how I manage to juggle my teaching with three little ones. I usually tell them that teaching rejuvenates my mothering more than distracts from it, and normally that's true. Time management is my specialty, so at the end of my day I've managed to get a lot done. I used to teach 4 classes back with one child, and now have three kiddos and teach 12 online ones. Psycho, I know, but I love it too much to scale back.

However...there are certain weeks that just kick me on my behind. I guess this is one of them. I just took on another teaching course (I know...I'm crazy) at a local school. It's an 8-week hybrid course (half online, half classroom). So I'm able to teach only 3 hours a week in the classroom, and the rest online. I love, love, love being in the classroom...so this is a dream come true. Plus, they pay more than I've ever been paid for any teaching. Ridiculous.

The price tag to the fabulous offer, though, is that I had two teaching demos in the classroom in the last week and a 10-hour online training this week. Add that to the regular ol' teaching of 12 courses, and it's been a crazy week. With coaching, Steve doesn't get home until after the boys are in bed...and doing work with the kids around? Um...forget about it.

Working at home is fantastic in some ways and utterly NOT fantastic in others. I was talking to another WAHM, who said that sometimes you feel like you're not doing either job well. The professional job or the mommy one. On the super-busy weeks, a bland corporate cubicle and daycare sounds much more calming than typing with one hand and smearing peanut butter with another one. If I get a call from the Dean, I have to dart into a bathroom and try to sound professional - hoping no one bonks their head and starts to cry. It's a strange life some days. I don't wish it away even on the yuckiest days, but it has its moments.

Today just spiraled downhill. We were going to meet friends at the zoo around 11. I was so excited. Fresh air and exercise is what I really need when I have a lot on my plate. Andrew, however, was following me around the house crying his exhausted cry...really, really needed a nap. There was no way I was taking him to the zoo and needing to carry him the whole time along with Simone. So I had to explain to Jack why we weren't going, which made me feel like a crummy mom. But taking an exhausted little boy on a chaotic outing would make me a crummy mom too. I love when I lose either way [insert facetious smile]. I break promises on only the most extreme situations, which might explain why Jack took it better than I thought. I also primed him for the bad news by giving him an OJ popsicle, which also might explain it.

Then, the babysitter couldn't come. It was the first time I was having her over, so I think this will also be the last. =) I was just going to work in my bedroom while she watched the kiddos, so I hired a teen sitter. Now I remember why I pay more for adult sitters, as this is the first time I've had a no-show. Good thing I wasn't going out somewhere!

Children ALWAYS match my emotions. When I'm calm and loving and connected, so are they. When I'm not...no matter how much I deny it...they just snatch up all the yuckies. When I really, really, really need them to play independently so I can do my online training, for example, that's the day they ALL need to sit right on my lap. Literally. That was no less true today.

We went to Chick-Fil-A drive-thru for dinner. This is saying something, as that was actually the first time in my entire life I've loaded up everyone in the car to go buy dinner. Weird. We'll grab stuff when we're out and about, but we usually have enough quick food to have a low-standard dinner at home. Tonight, going and having someone else make it for me sounded so nice.

On the way home, I doled out my individual apologies for our day. I told Andrew that I was sorry I was disconnected and distracted today, and he deserved better. Tomorrow, we'll play more outside and have more snuggle time when my brain isn't elsewhere. You know what he said back? "Okay, Mommy. Where's my juice box?"

And then to Jack: "Hey, Jack, I'm sooo sorry about the zoo. I don't like not living up to my promises to you, and I'll definitely take you very soon. Did you know that your picture-book for me was one of the absolute highlights of my day and made me so happy?" And you know what HE said? "Why does water make things not sticky anymore? Hey...did you know we have SEVEN seats in our car?"

Apparently, the emotional scarring from our day wasn't as deep as I might have thought.

It's odd to me that coming here and writing to the blogosphere was actually really calming. And also odd that as I was feeling more calm, my three children have dispersed throughout the house. Jack is in the playroom, Andrew is walking around eating his fries, and Simone is crawling around at my feet. No one on my lap. They're like emotion magnets, those little stinkers.

Back to my online training, if they stay occupied and happy for a bit...

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