Have you ever had one of those moments when you are standing in the shower at 6 A.M. and suddenly you are struck with an epiphany? I’m not talking about one of those Come-to-Jesus moments, or that you suddenly realize the meaning of life. I’m talking about having a head full of shampoo when it dawns on you that you effed up, that it isn’t the week you thought it was, and that you inadvertently had your husband drop off two quarts of blueberries for the teacher appreciation breakfast a full week in advance. That’s right folks. That was me this morning.
It must have been that steamy water that unclogged my brain.
“Mike? Mike!” I hollered while squeegeeing the glass doors of the shower. “Did you drop off those blueberries to the school yesterday?”
“What did they say?”
Strange looks were exchanged and there was a mumbled thank you.
The irony of the situation is further highlighted when you consider what I do for a living. I’m a teacher for crying out loud! You would think I might be able to get Teacher Appreciation Week right. Nope. Not this week.
Last Thursday, I interviewed for the Department Leader position at the high school where I have taught and worked at for just shy of a decade. It was the second time I had interviewed for this position, and the result was not in my favor. The last time I ran against the current DL and the administration felt that she deserved a second term. After she stepped down, I interviewed again. This time I was up against a fellow colleague. On Friday afternoon I was told that she was the preferred candidate because she had her masters in Administration (mine is Literacy Education). They felt she would have a better understanding of what they were trying to accomplish on their end of things.
I’m not going to lie. It hurt. It was the second time I had heard “you had a strong interview and an impressive resume and you are well qualified to be a department leader, but we’re not picking you.”
I spent the better part of the weekend wrestling with the disappointment and figuring out what my next steps should be.
As a Type-A, I am a planner. I can’t, as my friend suggested, just stay in my classroom, teach, and be happy. That’s not to say that teaching doesn’t make me happy. I really love my job. But professionally, I want to continue to grow and learn. So as I spent my weekend plotting my next moves professionally, I also had to keep tabs on all the other things I needed to make sure got done: I had promised my students I would see them in the school play Friday night, there was gymnastics class and a belt test for Karate on Saturday, we were taking the girls to a Baby Animal Days event at a local farm, attending a bowling birthday party, and having family dinner Sunday night at my sister’s. Somewhere in that same weekend, I needed to grocery shop, clean the house, do enough laundry to make sure we all had clean underwear, and behind that all, the mantra: Don’t Forget the Blueberries!
A few nights before my interview, I had a strange dream. It involved a current student of mine whom I drove to the airport. He had misplaced his boarding passes and was frantic and nervous about flying alone. I stayed at the airport with him until he boarded. In doing so, I neglected to pick up my children from school and daycare. Once my student was safely on the plane, I became frantically aware of my mistake. How could I have forgotten about my own children?
Once conscious, it didn’t take me long to figure out that the student represented work. My children, well- they were my children. In taking on a larger role at work, I subconsciously feared it would interfere with my duties as a mother. And yet in life, we can’t let our fears-or our role as mothers- hold us back.
Being a full-time, working mother is tough. It’s hard to balance both our professional lives and our personal lives. Sometimes… you’re going to get hit in the head with the blueberries.