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My Dirty Little Secret

Get your minds out of the gutter!

My goodness, I'm an education blogger, not a gossip columnist.

My dirty little secret is the dizzying guilt I carry around with me each day about not being enough.

Doing it all with a smile and always focusing on the positive helps, but on the inside, it tears me up. I expect so much from myself, that ultimately I'm always in a deficit.

I read a blog post by Peter DeWitt about disconnecting and not only could I connect with his sentiments about the need to put down the electronic devices, but the struggle that is inherent in the act of actually doing it.

The alarm goes off on my phone and already, I'm checking email, sharing my scheduled blog post, checking in with Twitter, Facebook and Words With Friends and I'm not even out of bed yet.

So letting go of my electronics addiction is a part of my guilt. As much as it has helped me communicate with my virtual/global friends and colleagues, sometimes I wonder how it has impacted the relationships I have with others at home.

Which brings me to back to the secret: the constant struggle to be everything to everyone; even with the realization that it is impossible, I'm not impeded in my efforts to try and fail and then ultimately feel like I'm not enough.

At the start of each day, I'm refreshed and focused. There's a checklist of to-do items and a bonafide plan; I'm even excited about the possibilities of getting everything done, of being available and present with everyone and every task.

And miraculously on some days, it happens just like that.

But then there are days like the past week: Papers are piling up. Kids need help and administrative paperwork needs doing. My son gets sick and my parents are visiting and all of the plans go out the window.

I struggle to get my picture back into focus.

My son had to stay home and therefore so did I and I felt guilty. Work had to get done before Thanksgiving, my students rely on me... but so does my son. There is a tearing that happens, a half-joking desire to clone myself, so for a short while I can be 100% present with whatever it is I'm doing RIGHT NOW.

Even home with my son, taking care of him, I was on my phone, computer, iPad and Wii with him almost all day, only stopping to plug devices in when the batteries wore low and it was time to rotate.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm running away from my life into the convenient and gratifying world that is social media, where I'm immersed in ideas and learning, void of my life's responsibilities and then the guilt resurfaces, an ugly monster of regret getting bigger with every perceived disappointment.

And then I have to scream "STOP!"

On any given day, I need to be flexible to meet the challenges of that specific day, so if the feedback doesn't happen, then it doesn't. If my son gets sick, then I have to take him to the doctor and not explain myself to anyone else.

This is hard for me though. Admittedly, I've been working on it for a long time and will likely continue to work on it until there is acceptance.

If I can be something to someone every day, then I've done exactly what I'm supposed to do. And it's okay to put myself on the list as one of those someones to be something to.

What have you done today to be something to someone?

*This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog Work in Progress in November 2014

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