Conditions today were excellent. The weather warmed some, my boss agreed to give me some teaching relief next year so that I don't lose my mind (at least not completely), and an extremely full day ran really smoothly. Plus, I had some awesome teaching moments that made me feel like Jerry Maguire--at the end of the movie, not at the beginning.
Also, and I am thanking baby Jesus for this, we close on May 7, and not on April 30. We had mentioned to our realtor we might want to close early so that we could get into the house, but this would have meant some serious finagling for me that last week of classes. As my good friend Garth Brooks says, "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers." What happened to Garth? Ah, the anthems of my youth.
Mostly, I just feel this gigantic relief tonight. Classes are almost over, and the grading hump at the end of the semester is never as bad as in the middle. We're headed to beautiful San Diego tomorrow, and I'm not taking my computer, or a book, or even a pen with me. I swear. There will be nothing even resembling work in my life over the next four days. I am just going to sit and drool in the corner while my kids crawl all over me.
Good spirits. But there are a few things dinging at me, things that my mind is tumbling over and trying to figure out the significance of, and whether future action is required, and how much guilt I need to be assigning to things. It's this:
I fancy myself a good mom.
Oh my God, it's out. I admit it. I think I'm a pretty good mom, most of the time. But also, accompanying that impression, is my sense that I'm also the worst mom in the world. I am one to live at the extremes, you see? I'm either the best mom ever and can stand in judgment over all the other sorry moms out there, or I'm the shittiest mom ever and child services should just come right now and get them because anything would be better than my crazy ass.
Because I've been so ridiculously overwhelmed at work lately, I think my "worst mom" sensors are particularly sensitive at the moment. I miss my kids. I miss me. Things feel a little out of control.
Everyday there is a note in Addie's lunchbox telling us how her mood was, whether she went potty, how much lunch she ate, and what she enjoyed doing. Usually, the words "cheerful," "talkative," and "friendly" are circled on the page, and usually it shows that she ate "some" for lunch. But not today. Instead, today, Addie's teacher had marked that "Addie needs more food in her lunch, please."
Are you saying I don't feed my child enough?
Are you saying I let my child go hungry?
Are you saying that I might be....a bad mom?
Oh Lord. Ima gettin goin. Then, when I get home, Eric tells me that Addie's teacher says she was "weepy" all day at school, maybe because of the move? Honestly, Addie's weepy now and then, so this shouldn't be a big surprise. Still, I'm freaked out. Why circle "happy," "talkative," and "friendly" on the Daily Otter News if in fact my child was "weepy"? Is this some cruel game? Should I be having interventions with Addie to deal with this? Why is my child weepy?
Also, there's the trouble with finding Nolie good care for when we move. I interviewed someone today who seemed like she might be a good fit, but it's 15 minutes in the opposite direction from work. So I'm back in the old situation of driving half my life away to get good care. We could have a nanny, but then we might not be able to pay the mortgage. Plus, I work from home a lot in the summer, and am not sure I want anybody around the house. The mouse is turning the wheel on this one, too.
No, I'm not a bad mom. But I have been so busy lately that I'm forgetting a lot of things, and missing others, and that's not really like me. And yes, I believe we'll find great, reasonable childcare for Nolie. And things, very soon, will calm down so that I can be more present in all parts of my life.
But in the meanwhile, the little pinpricks of everything that has gone undone, or underdone, pinch at me. This has been a good lesson in the enormous price of stretching myself too thin. It's also been a good lesson in letting some things go (like the need to have a floor to which one's feet don't stick, or a toilet without a good coating of hair all over it). I think better to cut back some and do some things well, live well, and be well.