I used to be on time for everything. Always early, actually. And while I had plenty of patience for my tardy friends, I didn't quite understand why they and their children couldn't be on time for lunch or a movie. Fast forward to my fourth year of being a work-outside-the-home-mother-of-two and we are late for everything. Yes, the boys are older and are charged with more independent tasks. Tasks that take time for little fingers (and eyes that don't want to leave the computer or toy that holds their interest so intently). But more than that, I think my inability to meet daily deadlines is due to the fact that I am constantly multitasking while trying to accomplish "just one more thing" before we leave the house. As you can imagine this often (read daily) leads to disaster. Someone always ends up so frustrated by the hurried-ness of the moment that a tantrum ensues. It's not always one of the children either. Despite at least 45 minutes of advance preparations after the boys go to bed, our mornings are not pretty.
What else isn't working? Work. This year I have a dream classroom filled with 160 students throughout the day. They are awesome kids. The subject matter is interesting and lends itself to a myriad of activities and projects. For the first time in over a decade, the school day flies by. And therein lies the problem. I cannot keep up with parent emails, grading, lesson planning and committee meetings. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be done to run five 45 minute classes each day. Every day I want to provide the best learning experience for each and every one of my students. That takes A LOT of planning, resource searching and reflection. I truly believe that if I didn't have children, I would (happily) stay at my desk until 6pm every evening. That will never be, though, since my second shift starts promptly at 4 pm, twenty minutes away. There are swim lessons and soccer practices to be (almost) on time for. I do some work after the boys go to bed but I must also squeeze in the aforementioned prepping for the next day. Grade papers or make lunches? Assemble clean and complete school outfits or write lesson plans? Read teachers' newsletters or write teacher's newsletters?
Everything is a priority and nothing more can be squeezed into my days. My classroom webpage is in shambles, my oldest and dearest friends are very much neglected and my children are tired (oh, so tired) of being rushed through their days.
For added stress this week, I've had to scramble to cover an odd schedule. Henry has 1.5 inservice days, Liam has a field trip and my daycare provider has an out-of -town funeral. None of these days overlap or coincide with one of my days off. Cue the complicated substitute plans and guilt. Make that more guilt.
The cracks are beginning to show, the house of cards is about to crumble, we are running low on fuel....choose your metaphor. I don't have time. I've got to pack lunches, let the dogs out, check homework, fold laundry...