Staring at the Ceiling

It’s spring break. Feels weird because I’m not really on break since I’ve been on leave for five weeks now. We took a trip to the beach house for the week. While putting my clothes away into the chest here I found my maternity bikini. Yeah you read that right. Kinda more like a tankini (I only gained 25 lbs the whole time before you say I gross ;). It reminded me of the week first wore it. A bunch of teachers I work with came to the beach house for a few days during spring break. Spent one day shopping and one day in lounge chairs behind the house. While laying out we noticed the duplex two houses down was occupied by a bunch of teenagers. Either HS seniors or freshman in college. Pretty young for spring breakers. Later the cops showed up at the house & looked like taking statements from a few kids. Being the teachers we are we first start worrying then after a while we couldn’t take it anymore and two of us went over there to check on the kids. Gave them the whole spill, we are right down the street, if you need anything, etc, the typical mother bear stuff. Then I worried about them the rest of the trip. They probably wrote us off as the lame old people down the street (even if I was in my mid20s).

You see as teachers we have “momma bear” syndrome a lot of times. We worry about and take care of everyone but ourselves. It’s our nature. It’s why we are teachers. It’s why we are good teachers. But I wonder if we are cheating ourselves. Does it hold us back from being great teachers and generally great people.

You see when staring at the ceiling all day you learn some stuff. You do a lot of reflecting. And you start trying to take care of yourself for once. It’s a strange feeling. It’s caused some things to change as well.

One lesson, I realized how much time I really need to spend as me, not as “Mrs. Dykes.” It doesn’t need to be who I am 24/7. So my biggest step was I officially quit coaching cheerleading last week. Gosh I loved that job. Wasn’t easy to do. Lots of going back and forth. Even had an email from a parent asking me to say. See, not easy. Not only do I need to be home with my kids more but that was a huge stress everyday. Trust me, middle school girl drama with my perfectionist coaching and a little cheer mom drama mixed in, stressful. No way I’ll ever be completely healthy with that. My life needs to be simpler.

I also realized friendships I’ve had with people are changing. That part makes me sick to my stomach. Friendships changing in my historical past is usually for the worst. It’s hard to accept them for what they are and not blame myself. But see that’s that momma bear again trying to make everything “right” even though there is hurt and fear. (though I will say some friendships have surprised me for the better lately)

The hardest part has been having to accept I need help for things. That momma bear is supposed to take care of everything, right? Well I can’t. And I don’t always need to. Sometimes it’s ok to ask for help.

You see these are not lessons I just need to know now while I’m stuck laying here recovering and getting ready for the next surgery in two weeks. No hopefully I will keep them in mind as I do get well & go back to my “normal” life. I wanted to share them with you as well. You see not everyone gets joy of have a big piece of their vertebrae removed and the time to reflect. But I want to remind you to do so. Are you being more of a momma bear than looking out of yourself? You need to because, you see, if you are not 100% than eventually you either cannot momma bear anymore or there is no one left to take care of. When I called my boss to quit coaching he said this “40 years from now your cheerleaders won’t be staring you in the eyes, but your children will.” I think you need to make sure you like what they see.

3 thoughts on “Staring at the Ceiling

  1. Bethany Smith says:

    It’s funny, I had one of the exact same epiphany’s a few years ago. I broke my leg pretty bad and was in a wheel chair and I now look on that experience as one of the best things that ever happened to me. It forced me to give up being a control freak, allow people to help me and realize its not the end of the world when things don’t go exactly as planned. Every time I get worked up over something I try to remember that time.

    Here is hoping for a speedy recovery!

  2. Scott Kotarides says:

    It is really hard to find yourself – especially as a teacher. I remember when I stopped coaching High School soccer to spend time with my kids. 10 years later it was a good decision. I still coach just not for school I do it for my kids because I really want to. I think Mrs. Dykes is who you are but I also think that you have to put yourself first at times as well. Sounds like you have come to this realization yourself. I think it is important to stay true to who you believe you are and to do what you love. Do the right things in the right way for the right reasons I was once told. You sound like you have done some pretty good soul searching recently. I am reading a book right now called “You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s cheap)” It talks about simplifying your life and I find that kind of interesting because when I read this post that is what it sounds like you are doing. Good Luck.

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