Not Measuring Up

Today I f-ed up really bad. Like spectacularly bad. Let me set the stage for you.

My sister comes at 6:45, just like we’d planned, to watch Isa until my in-laws come and get her. I leave for work at 7am, a little later than I wanted but I’ll still make it with plenty of time. There is no rain for the first day in almost a week and the freeways are surprisingly clear. I’m making great time and am listing all the things I’ll get done in the twenty minutes I have before class starts.

Then my phone ring. It’s the mom of the girl I drive to school some days. But why would she be calling me?

I think you can probably guess where this is going.

Cue expletives. Cue apologizing profusely. Cue exiting and heading back north.

We ended up meeting at an exit half way between her house and where I was when I’d gotten the call. Luckily we didn’t hit too much traffic until we were off the freeway and we (just barely) made it to our first classes on time.

The poor girl, who evidently has a lot of anxiety about arriving to school late, wouldn’t speak one word to me in the car. I apologized a dozen times but she never answered me. And fair enough.

I spent the entire car ride trying not to cry openly and stealthily wiping tears away from under my glasses.

Later, at school, the secretary called my room to ask if I’d remembered to bring snack for the staff room. I think you can guess where this is going. I’ll be bringing bagels and cream cheese to school on Monday to make amends.

Now I know that people make mistakes. I know people forget things. But you have to understand, I live my life enveloped in a thin fog of anxiety, constantly worried that I’m forgetting something very important and have no idea. When it actually happens, like today (or the time I realized my car insurance renewals weren’t sent to me and so I’d been driving without coverage for almost a month) my confidence in myself is absolutely shattered. It will takes months for me to build it up again. In the meantime I’ll be constantly semi-panicked that I’m unwittingly neglecting someone or something in my life, to the detriment of myself, my family or people I care about.

In the meantime I will be relying on my phone, and an extensive system of calendar notes and alarms, to ensure that I don’t forget to pick that poor girl up again.

Speaking of neglecting someone in my life, it seems I’m deeply entrenched in my tri-annual I’m-missing-out-on-my-daughter’s-childhood-freak-out. Last night at dinner, as my father-in-law related all the amazing things Isa is learning and how she’s fundamentally different each and every time she comes over, I suddenly realized that he probably knows her better than I do right now. He spends 25 of her waking hours a week with her while only spend 15 plus the 15 waking hours of the weekend (my daughter sleeps a lot, evidently).

And he’s right, she is changing so fast. By the time summer comes, and I get my two months with her, she’ll be a completely different person and I will have missed more than half of the second year of her life. It’s making me cry just to type that. I wish so badly I could be with her every day. My heart aches to leave her every morning. I thought working part time I’d get more time with her but she takes these insanely long naps in the afternoons and while that is helpful for me to get grading and chores around the house done, it’s not great for me seeing my daughter. Sometimes being a WOHM just guts me. This is one of those times.

The reality is, it’s my fault I can’t be with her. If I had taken better care of my money. If I had chosen a different career, maybe I could be home with her right now. But I didn’t and I can’t. There are so many aspects of myself that disappoint me right now. I’m unimpressed with how poorly I handled being a “single mom” for five short days. I’m crap at keeping our house in decent shape. I can’t/refuse to cook. I’m barely getting by as a teacher, creating lesson plans on the spot and taking weeks to grade papers. My relationships is flailing (though things on that front do, finally, look better). I struggle with juggling my family and job responsibilities. I feel like in every area of my life I’m falling short. I look around and see other people surviving, even thriving, in much more difficult situations and yet I can barely function in what is really not that difficult of a position. I’m completely forgetting about commitments I made to people for christ’s sake! Evidently I’m not even trustworthy anymore. Do you know how that makes me feel?

So yeah. I’m feeling pretty ashamed of myself today. Maybe it’s CD1 hormones ravaging my body and mind. Maybe it’s missing my man (god do I miss him). Maybe it’s mourning my friend’s father. Maybe it’s just general fatigue, wearing me down. Maybe it’s missing out on yoga all this week. Maybe it’s just that I’m not measuring up. I don’t know.

Before I go I wanted to thank everyone for their helpful advice on yesterday’s post. Hearing all your view points really helped me get a better sense of what I should do. Obviously today’s fiasco has shaken me and I’m not sure what my final decision will be. Right now I have a “phone interview” on Monday and then they’ll send me an article to copy edit. I’m going to see how I like doing that and if I feel good at it. Then I’ll have a long talk about all of this with Mi.Vida and we can decide what works best for us. Who knows, maybe the choice will be made for me when they don’t actually offer me the position. Until I know it’s actually my decision to make, I’m not going to stress too much about it.

8 responses

  1. I’m reading this at the DMV, which I am visiting because I never received my registration papers, never renewed them, and didn’t even notice and got pulled over and charged with such. So, I totally get this.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. You have a lot of balls in the air that you are now juggling solo. That’s a really tough balancing act you’re working on. Be kind to yourself. You are doing an AMAZING job. I think you are superwoman.

  2. Oh hon, take it easy on yourself will you please? We all mess up somtimes. I wish you wouldn’t beat yourself up so much over this stuff. Phone alarm calendars are the only way I even remember to brush my teeth. Life is overwhelming and distracting sometimes. It’s ok.
    Sending you a huge hug

  3. I’m sorry. For what it’s worth, I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately. Could it be something in the air? I never got a chance to comment on your previous post but I get the feeling that you have never been particularly good at saying “No”. While the copy editing position sounds stimulating, I would caution you to look closely at things and see if you can honestly choose something that you are happy (freely willing?) to give up in order to accommodate a new commitment. From the sound of things, it might be a major challenge.

    And yes, please be gentle with yourself. Everybody makes mistakes!!

  4. I think we all would get on splendidly — because I routinely realize key things are missing — like tabs, insurance etc…my student loan bill hasn’t been paid for…what???! I have difficulty multi-tasking.

    I just wanted you to know that I’m reading this and I so completely understand where you are right now. When I was teaching and parenting(albeit halftime with W)/keeping house — I felt as if I was constantly underwater… and teaching is such a tremendously demanding job that is with you 24/7 –I’m never sure if people who’ve never taught truly understand the nature of the work. I wrote just today about how easily I get overwhelmed with anxiety — and so I’m in awe of all you are doing — and I look at those beautiful, smiling pictures of your daughter and know without a doubt that you are doing things wonderfully right.

    Your anguish comes through so clearly here — I wish I could just have coffee with you and assure you how wonderful you are — it comes through clearly in this blog.

    I’m sorry things are so hard right now.



  5. Oh lady….I’m so sorry you had this day and it sounds like you’re trying to do so much, on top of a lot of pain experienced this week. Please try to remember that you are such an amazing woman, with such a huge heart (or you wouldn’t have been so upset that the girl was so upset), and anyone would struggle with a schedule like yours. I can’t imagine feeling like you’re missing out on Isa’s growing-up, that must be incredibly difficult. It’s just so hard to see you beat yourself up like this. But I do understand, I’d be doing the same thing in your shoes.

    I’ll say it again, I’m here for you anytime of the day or night. Call if you need to. Love you tons.

  6. I agree with the other commenters that you need to stop beating yourself up over this. You are obviously doing a wonderful job-look at your beautiful, smiling, spunky girl. I think that this is a combination of hormones, stress, and your man being gone this week. I think anyone would feel high anxiety with being a single parent for a week. I would go insane.

    You have a toddler and are a teacher. That is hard stuff. It is natural to feel like this. You need to let it go. Just let it go. It will be okay. You are a wonderful mom.

  7. everyone has already said what I wanted to say, and no doubt more eloquently, so I will just echo their words and sentiments.

    you are doing a fabulous job, doing too much already. we are all human, sometimes charged with tasks that may seem superhuman because we are so overstretched, so underpaid, so tired, etc.

    my heart aches about the child care thing. I get that, I really do. it’s so hard. but that’s life here, and I know you wouldn’t rather be in kansas, right? (not that there’s anything wrong wit that, but I know your life, love and family are here.)

    anyway, be kind to yourself. you deserve it. xo

  8. Was just in tears with similar not-measuring-up feelings this morning. It’s hard to believe that it’s ok not to be perfect, not to be everything to everybody. I guess all we can do is keep breathing and keep loving.

    Hugs to you!

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