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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I've been working with kids, in some capacity, for close to ten years now. Even before that, I tutored and taught my friends and classmates for as long as I can remember. I've always considered my strength as a teacher to be my ability to see each student as an individual, to give people what they need and not necessarily what the curriculum says they should get. Being fair means considering each circumstance and doing what is appropriate, not expecting people to do things they are not capable of.
So why can't I see it when it's me?
I'm not Martha Stewart, nor am I Crystal or Meredith, as much as I admire and respect them both. I can't get my grocery budget down to $50 a month for two of us. My apartment doesn't look like it came out of a magazine. I don't know how to sew an apron, nor could I probably concentrate long enough to finish one even if I had instructions.
And you know what? That's okay. My laundry is done. I have dinner on the table every night. My apartment looks presentable enough that I don't mind having company. I work a few hours a week, enough that I feel good about it. There's money in my savings account, and that number is growing every month. If I'm more tired than I used to be, I should rest and sleep more. If I want to work on a quilt or knit a blanket, I have time; if it takes me 2 years to finish something, that's okay too. If my best friend on the other side of the planet needs to talk to me at 6AM, the housework will wait.
Instead of setting unrealistic expectations and ultimatums for myself, I need to treat myself with the same patience and compassion I would treat one of my students. Instead of setting hard and fast goals and then feeling let down, I need to see what each day brings and do the best I can. The goal is progress, not perfection, something I'd be proud to hear one of my kids realize.
Monday, February 1, 2010
So every time I say "I'm going to get back to basics" or "I'm going to get things back on track," somehow I find a reason or a way not to do so. If I claim I'm going to start posting or grocery couponing or following a cleaning routine, I manage to keep it up for about 2-3 days tops and then I fail. There used to be an element of accountability associated with posting about it on my blog, but when I wait 3 months between posting I'm afraid I lose my loyal followers and therefore my sense of responsibility to them.
When I worked 40 hours (and sometimes more) per week, I said "Oh, it will be easier when hubby graduates . . . when I don't have to work so much. . . when I live somewhere more permanent . . when . . " but somehow I got to the end of all my whens and it still isn't easy. I'm still saving every month, still contributing, still getting dinner on the table, but I just can't get back into frugality (or into homemaking or into blogging) on a really deep level. I get through the absolute minimum possible and then I put the rest on hold. Instead of having audacious goals and accomplishing big things, I just skate by. I have had students who knew exactly how to do the least possible work and still get a C. . . and I feel like that's where I am with most of my life.
This post was not meant to be so much about the whining, but I have a distinct feeling that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I've heard the quote "Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and soon you'll be doing the impossible." Well lemme tell you, I've got necessary down. So how do I move forward?