And, this time, I’m not referring to my preferred mode of dance in high school.
Rather, I’m referring to being in the rut, the suck zone, the I’m-fucking-dead-and-feeling-no-motivation place, the ol’ hit-me-in-the-back-of-the-head-with-a-sledgehammer locality.
I’m not feeling it.
My last Vice Principal always had a way of picking the worst words possible for any given situation, and he’d do it in front of students, too.
At an assembly with a hot dog eating contest: “Look at her suck those dogs back!”
At an assembly with a whipped-cream pie eating contest: “Look at him! He’s got cream all over his mouth! Someone’s going to have to slurp that up!”
And, the worst terminology for the context of high school, he’d always refer to mid-school-year, the slump, the associated stress and fatigue, as “the grind.” At a staff meeting: “Make no mistake, we’re in the grind right now. We’re grindin’ along and the kids are grindin’, too. What do you need to do? Grind on ’em! Every day, grind right with ’em.”
At least we weren’t in the cafeteria chaperoning a dance.
Anyway, I presently find myself grindin’ right along here at the end of our first trimester:
-I’ve been running myself ragged at work, and that’s on top of the physical / emotional / mental toll that being a teacher normally entails under the best of circumstances;
-I’ve been exercising like my life depends on it, and it kind of does (as much as it does for us all), to the point of exhaustion;
-I still have two wild, little children who run us all over the place (yeah, Maddie basically walks now; her favorite past-time is grabbing a finger in each of our hands and taking us on tours of the house while she practices walking; Garrett is still, more or less, constantly in insanity mode);
-I still have similar mental / emotional stress from raising two children, disciplining, feeling like I never get to see my wife, never engage in self-care activities (beyond the exercise), or get much more than an hour’s break from being a parent (last night, Garrett wanted to read “I Love You Forever,” and, for as fucking asinine and childish as that book sounds, it has a parent like me in tears from about page three until the climax, when the tears really start running… it takes a toll!);
-Aaaaaaaaaaaaand I’m sick. Blech.
Well, that one wasn’t too bad! Tried to keep it quite moderately decent in length, not too excessive.
The point of this wasn’t about the grind itself, although I am knee-deep in it. This post was supposed to be about the coping. It’s different for me now than it’s been in the past.
In the past, I’ve pushed on. Forced myself through some terrifying HIIT routine while sniffling and drooling and spraying snot all over the place. I’ve forced myself to be Captain Amazing Parent and Husband. I’ve forced myself to fulfill all obligations!
Not so, this time. I’m giving myself a goddamn break. Giving myself a little breathing room and a little sanity.
Instead of cleaning house while the kids slept, Kelly let me take a two and a half hour nap yesterday!
After dropping the kids at daycare, I got back into bed for an hour and showed up to work late!
Instead of pushing myself to work out during my prep, I’m going to relax. Maybe take a nap at my desk. Something like that.
I can’t give up being Captain Amazing Parent and Husband (I’m not dead… yet!), but I am starting to see the light in terms of “self care.”
Is life stressing the shit out of you? Take a goddamn break.
Unless you do that all of the time. In that case: get back to work!