Sometimes, life just gets in the way

I am finally starting to catch up on my Digg Reader. I am incredibly behind (like August of 2014 behind). I had thought about declaring bankruptcy and just trying to keep up with where things are now. Kind of what I have been doing with Twitter on and off. But I look at some of the conversations I have had this weekend and decided not to.

You see, I have been largely absent from the MTBoS this year. I was trying to put my finger on as to why. A lot of it has boiled down to life getting in the way. I’ve been trying to keep up with my kids and keep my daughter in particular on track with her homework (she has ADHD and it is a daily struggle for us). Most times, when she is working on homework, I sit and play some sort of game – the hidden picture games I play primarily, although Candy Crush has crept in at times. Sometimes I am grading papers. But mostly, I am playing some game that keeps my mind occupied but that I can drop quickly to help her with her homework or get back on task.  I could be reading stuff on Digg Reader or Twitter, and the excuse I’ve given myself is that it takes too much thought on my part to give it the focus I want to since many times I have to drop what I’m doing to work with my daughter in one way or another. By the time we get the kids in bed, mentally, I just haven’t wanted to go and read stuff related to work. I’ve told myself I just need a mental break and back to the games I head. Or maybe I’m checking Facebook or something else. But heading to blogs or Twitter hasn’t been the first (or the second or third) thing on my mind.

School hasn’t been incredibly more difficult than last year (which was tough!). There’s been the added pressures of the PARCC exams, but I haven’t been overly stressed about it. But, when the time comes that I could read stuff that is math education related, I just haven’t felt like it many times. I thought maybe it was burnout for a while, and maybe that is somewhat true. But as I have gone through some things this weekend, I don’t think that is entirely true. Maybe I was being selfish and just keeping to myself, but I’m not sure that is entirely true either. I didn’t blog much and I felt like I just didn’t have much to say that would contribute to the MTBoS, plus it was tied to work. So I didn’t blog much unless something really jumped out at me.

And life continued to happen. There has been a lot going on in my personal life in the last few months. I don’t want to share all of that here. It’s not the time, nor really the place. But I will share that the last two weeks have been very difficult on many levels for me. My daughter injured her knee while playing with her brother (he tackled her) and has been on crutches for the last two weeks. There have been some family things going on, including the death of a close family friend unexpectedly early last week. I got sick and it was kind of tough to shake it. And life continued to happen.

Yesterday was incredibly full. The funeral for our family friend was in the afternoon and we had a Girl Scout commitment that was shortly afterwards. My brother was here for the weekend and a good friend of mine was here for the day. Plus my husband’s family was here for the funeral. I had to make a choice. After the Girl Scout event, I could either head back and spend time with his family or have dinner with my friend and her son. One kid wanted to hang out with the cousins, the other wanted to head out to dinner with our friend and her son. And I really didn’t know what to do. I was torn. My brother said something that made a whole lot of sense – do what will make you happy because there is no way to make everyone happy. It was a lot longer than that, but that was the basic message behind it. At the funeral, they had talked about our friend who had died and how she was so kind and really cared for others. She always had time to listen to you and rarely talked about whatever was troubling her. She would generally share what was going on if you asked, but she never began with it. She was such a beautiful person and had such a beautiful soul. And as I thought about my decision – head back to visit with my in-laws or spend time having dinner with my friend, I realized that if I followed what my brother said – to do what would make me happy – it would make me happier to spend time with my friend, who needed someone to listen to her. So, after our Girl Scout event, we went out to dinner. I had time to visit with my friend and enjoy time with her. I was able to listen to her and be supportive of her.

Over the course of today, I have exchanged texts with a couple of MTBoS friends. With one, I began the conversation because of a difficulty she was going through. I wanted to connect with her to confirm what I suspected. We had a brief text conversation and I was glad I reached out to her. Later in the day, another MTBoS friend contacted me about TMC15. We had a conversation about booking flights and a little bit about NCTM. I know I’m looking forward to seeing him this summer and I’m glad to know he’ll be heading to LA.

So as I was putzing around today (and my husband was working with my daughter), I decided to open up my Digg Reader. It has the lovely infinity sign, which means I have more than 1000 posts to read. And rather than declare bankruptcy, I chose to start reading. The first blog on my list I came to was Sarah Hagan’s and I had to go all the way back to August, 2014. I began reading. About the 4th or 5th post was titled “On Blogging.” In the post, Sarah talks about why she was struggling with blogging and why it was important to her. And a lot of it rang true for me. But most of all, the last two paragraphs are spot on:

I need to go back and remember why I blog, though.  I blog for me.  I blog because I process best through written reflection.  I blog because I have a terrible memory.  How did I teach this topic last year?  Let’s go back and read the blog post about it.  I blog because I desire community.  My blog made me a part of the MTBoS.  I blog because I have a desire to share.  I blog because I believe that my sharing will lead others to share.  I blog because I want my impact to expand beyond the city limits of Drumright, Oklahoma.  I blog to connect.

From here on out, I will stop apologizing about what I blog about.  I blog for me, not you.  I will not feel guilty when I do not blog.  My blogging will happen based on what I need.  Dan Meyer told us to be selfish.  I’m taking his advice.

She is completely right. I have lost sight of why I became involved in the MTBoS and stayed on Twitter, read others blogs, and blogged myself. I, like Sarah, began blogging for myself. It was a place for me to hash out my thoughts and figure out what I was doing right and needed to improve. Participating in Twitter was a way to connect with others and find other like minded teachers. It was a way to find other teachers who taught the same course or who had similar passions for teaching math and bounce ideas off of them. Through Twitter and blogs, to quote Cheesemonkey, I found my tribe. As I read the last paragraph that Sarah wrote, I remembered how Dan talked about being selfish and some of the conversations we had around that at and after TMC14. And I realized I had gotten away from that. Even though it sounds bad to be selfish, when I was being selfish – blogging for myself, engaging in Twitter and blogs, interacting in the community – I was also being self-less. By being self-less (and selfish), I was giving back to the community that has helped me grow so much as a teacher and as a person.

So, I am publicly going to say this (even though I am really only doing this for myself): I am going to work at being more selfish/self-less. It’s going to take some time, but I am going to go back and read the blog posts I have stored in my Digg Reader. I am going to make a better effort to be more active on Twitter. Hopefully, the inspiration to blog more will strike me and I’ll want to post more here. I have more Common Core / PARCC tables that I want to work through at some point. Doing these things does make me happy. I need to get back to that.

And if you made it this far through my selfish blog post, two things: thank you for reading and I hope you are able to figure out what makes you happy and do whatever that is.

 

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4 thoughts on “Sometimes, life just gets in the way”

  1. Glad you decided to advocate for what makes you happy. Also glad (and always surprised) when something I have said makes sense. 😉

    Keep taking good care of you and what you need. Everything else will fall into place after that.

    Hugs,

    Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf)

  2. Tori Cotton says:

    It was when I read Sarah’s post that I began thinking about blogging again. It’s been about a year for me!!

    Tori (mathbytori.blogspot.com)

  3. Adrienne says:

    I struggle to find a balance between personal and professional life without feeling like something is being sacrificed. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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