Madly Learning

Work Life Balance…the busy teacher edition

Let me start this blog post with some real truth…

You can’t do all the things

I don’t do all the things! There is not enough hours in the day or coffee in the world that will allow you to do all the things.

Yet over and over I am told and asked “I don’t know how you do it…where do you find the time? Etc etc…

Well, lately I don’t feel very on top of things so I need to get myself back in check and reset my priorities and my own expectations of myself.

So I have learned a few things about being busy and doing all the things. My biggest barrier is the guilt that takes over when I am doing one thing when I think I should be doing the other.

Or the expectation that I should be one type of person and the judgment of others when I don’t fit their ideals.

So make a list.

Make a list of all of the things that you are responsible for and lay it all out. Don’t forget all the invisible things you do just to make life work like remember what days you kid needs to return the library book.

List it all

Now look at your mile-long list and ask your self to do a few things

  1. What things are most important that only you can do.
  2. What can you get rid of or let go of?
  3. Who can help you with these things? Or who can these be delegated to?

Drop the Guilt…it’s a waste of time.

The guilt!!…whatever guilt you carry know that the more you carry the harder you think you need to do it all.

So first let’s deal with the guilt.

  1. As a mom of three young kids, all of my free time should be with them.
  2. I need to be “that person” for all of my students
  3. I have to say yes to everything.
  4. If I focus on myself, I am selfish

The biggest source for me is mom guilt. Mom guilt is real and it is powerful.

I see this in myself but I also see this in others.

My benefit here is in my definition and understanding of what it means to be a mom. My mom had a career so my definition for myself was always that of a working mom. If you grew up with a stay at home mom but you yourself are a working mother what are your own expectations of yourself.

Are you trying to do both jobs? Does this not seem like a high expectation the guilt you feel for not being able to do this is on you.

Your kids don’t know any different. They know you love them, they understand you work, they have no guilt about this. Drop this guilt (it goes both ways too because the grass is always greener)

All my free time is not for my kids. A lot of it is but it is also for me, my husband, my job, my health, and even for my Madly Learning Insiders.

Letting go of this guilt and justifying that you do this for your family. Remind yourself that Dad guilt while present is not the same. Men are rewarded in society for prioritizing work before family while many women are critiqued for doing this.

Get help

You literally can’t do all of the things so ask for help. From your partner, your family, your children etc.

Hire help, get help, or just stop doing it are all options here.

Go back to your list there are some things you either can only do yourself or there are things you just have to let go of.

I know you might want the dishes washed a certain way and you think that only your way is right but if someone is willing to do it half as well as you and it means that you don’t have to and can spend your valuable time on other things. DO IT!! Let go and be okay with half as good dishes…I bet they are fine. I promise you that you are not the only person on the planet who can wash dishes.

Let go and delegate all of the things that others can do that you don’t have to do.

Stay focused on your genius. Do only what you are great at delegate the rest.

If you can pay someone to help you outdo it.

Don’t forget about you

Put your health and wellness at the top of your list.

Downtime, gym time, spa time. Don’t forget that you need to be kind to yourself too.

Set aside some time each week just for you.

Leave work at work

Ok I know we are teachers and this isn’t always possible or probable but try to limit your time to an 8 hour day. Whenever that 8 hours happens, that is up to you, but relax! Rome wasn’t built in a day.

You can’t do all of the things all at once. Step back a bit in the planning department. Not everything needs to be planned down to the minute. Use your resources as a guide, make it your own. Reduce your reliance on photocopying and paper and you will see some of the anxiety melt away.

Trust yourself. As a teacher, we have a big responsibility; but our students are not delicate figurines, they won’t break that easily.

Even my day to day lesson doesn’t match the teacher guide exactly. (And I wrote it)

At the end of the day give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can do with the time you have.

Focus on the most important things and let the rest of it go.

Because you can’t do all the things.

Want to hear more from Patti? Check out her blog or find her on Facebook and Instagram!

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