New School Year's Resolution

by Jen on September 15, 2009

in Fact of the Day,I'm all out of clever today,Worlds' Goodest Teecher

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, because I find I never keep them. The reason for this, I figured out a few years back, is that I track my years from August to August (which is when school starts around these parts).

I’ve spent most of my life circling the school year. The elementary-junior high-high school track flowed seamlessly into college and then, with only a two year break, graduate school. Overlapping with grad school was my teaching certification program which launched immediately into my teaching career. For 32 of 39 years, my year has “begun” with the start of the school year.

The last several years have been a blur. Thank gah I knew what I was doing at work (and could do it blindfolded), because I certainly haven’t felt very sharp. There’s nothing like a near constant round of fertility treatments, pregnancy, breastfeeding/infant care, fertility treatments, pregnancy and breastfeeding/infant care to make a woman feel like she’s drained of her very essence. I knew there was a light at the end of that tunnel, but there were days that it seemed very small and far away. I can’t say I’ve walked out of the tunnel yet, but the opening is definitely closer and now looks human-sized.

I feel like I finally figured out to slip the pills under my tongue, rather than swallow them, when the insanity-ward nurse brings them ’round.

So now that I feel like I’m awake, alert and getting a grip on things, what do I go and do? Change teaching positions. I’d been teaching the same subject and grade for the past seven years. I didn’t have to do any planning. I didn’t have to do any preparation. I could walk out of school one day and back in the next and not have to think about it in between. I was at the top of my game with minimal effort.

Uh, wait a minute. What part of “I have two young children, a husband who takes more than twenty business trips a year, no family to help within a 90 mile radius, five aging pets, a daily hour-long commute (two hours when the Hubster’s out of town and I add the daycare run), a car on its last legs that I can’t afford to replace, a mammoth landscaping project underway, a house renovation project about to start and a shamefully low level of household management and organization going on” made me think I needed a change from my easy, predictable, mindless job?

Oh, yeah. The easy, predictable, mindless part.

So, I’ve left the middle school world behind and have returned to high school (11th grade, mostly). I’ve left the field of American history behind and have moved back into what is my original field, European history. It’s exactly where I wanted to be when I originally decided to leave academia and teach high school. But it means starting from scratch. I haven’t been this swamped at work in years.

I’m still making a New School Year’s Resolution, though: This is going to be the year that I get my shit together.

For starters, I’m talking about my shamefully low level of household management and organization. Part of the problem arose when we had two kids before adding on two bedrooms for them (our plan when we bought the house before they were born), so we lost our guestroom with storage closet and study with storage closet. The main problem, though, is that there is no realistic way two people can work full time, raise children, maintain their relationship and effectively care for their house and property if they have any interests or hobbies other than those things alone. And the Hubster and I do have hobbies. Many, many time-wasting -consuming hobbies. They make us the people we are and keep us sane. (Well, okay… sane-ish.)

But I have a plan.

Step one: Hire a cleaning person. My friend, Frieda, quit her job as a social worker to return to school for a more lucrative career and has decided meanwhile to clean houses to make some side income. She’s the amazing combination of trustworthy with mild OCD (no joke) which makes her perfect for this job. This won’t actually free up any of my time — Come on, like I regularly cleaned? Get real. — but it will mean that basic household cleaning tasks will be taken care of. Before they become our own personal Augean Stables requiring an entire weekend to get under control.

Step two: Start the house renovation project. Even if we have to eat mac and cheese for a year, we will launch this project which has been in the planning stage since we bought our house five years ago. We need more room. Everything that once resided in the rooms the boys are using is currently in boxes. Two rooms worth stuff in boxes: boxes that are now in my bedroom, in the attic, in the basement, in the dining room… you get the picture. It’s making me crazy not to be able to find anything or put anything away. (Well, okay… crazier.) In the classic “things are always darkest before dawn” scenario, this will raise the level of chaos before lowering it, which is one reason why we’ve hesitated. But the time has come.

There will be more steps in the “getting my shit together” project as it unfolds, no doubt, but so far I’m being cautiously optimistic that I can actually do it. Right?

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Resolutions
January 2, 2010 at 11:34 pm

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenni September 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm

i'm all for having ones shit together. and also cleaning people. they rule.

2 Jen September 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm

We hired a cleaning person last fall when I thought I was going to lose my mind whilst caring for a wee one, working full time, and having the house on the market which means SPOTLESS EVERY DAY. Needless to say, after the house came off the market this spring, the cleaning outsourcing magically stayed.

3 Ragtop Day September 18, 2009 at 9:19 am

I need an anti-clutter person more than a cleaning person. I'd have to find home for all the crap before anyone else could clean, and if the crap were taken care of, I could clean it myself. Hmmmm…..

4 jen @ negative lane October 2, 2009 at 9:00 pm

You guys were so right. The cleaning person thing rocks. I am starting to feel sane again and she's only been here twice.

As for clutter, OMG we have clutter! So much crap everywhere that we can't actually have her clean all the rooms we want her to quite yet, until we deal with the clutter in them. But the other parts of the house look so awesome (with no effort of mine!) that it's motivating me to deal with the clutter elsewhere, so she can CLEAN THE WHOLE HOUSE.

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