As sad as I am for summer to be over because I don’t want to leave my little boy, there is something great about beginning a new school year. Even though I am a teacher now and no longer a student, I’ve always loved the idea of having a ‘fresh start’ and setting new goals.
It is no secret that I REALLY struggled last school year. It was by far the most challenging in my 5 years of teaching. I started the year 37 weeks pregnant and in a brand new position teaching 5th grade- two very stressful things! I made it through the first week of school and then unexpectedly had my baby two weeks early. I went on maternity leave for 8 weeks then came back and struggled to catch my kids up since they had basically been with a babysitter the whole time I was gone. Between work stress, breastfeeding and pumping issues, and a few less than supportive colleagues, I had a very hard year. I could not wait for it to be over and counted down the days until June 19th.
I have had an amazing, refreshing, and revitalizing summer. It was perfect. All year I felt like a zombie, and now I feel like me again- physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m ready to start fresh and hopefully have a better year than last. I’m already off to a good start by not being pregnant on the first day of school this year :).
I am determined to make it a better year, so I decided to set some goals for myself, to help me stay focused and remember what is important.
- Disconnect from work when I’m not at work. As a teacher it’s really hard to not take work home with you. I did that so much last year and it really took away from my family time. I regret it because I missed some of my baby’s first year because I was caught up in worrying about work at home. I won’t be doing that this year. I am going to try my best to disconnect once I leave. I’m going back to teaching reading as a reading specialist this year and that should help, because I won’t have my own classroom anymore. I am so happy to be back in a position that I LOVE!
- Make the most of my time with my Kevins. As a working mom I am away from my baby and husband for at least 9 hours a day during the week. When I get home we only have a few hours before we have to put the baby to bed. I really want to focus on making the most of those hours with my boys and enjoying them to the fullest. It doesn’t always have to be about the quantity of time that you have, but the quality of it and the way you spend that time.
- Remember my priorities. First comes family, then work, then running. In my perfect world, it would be family, running, then work, but I have to put my work higher because it pays the bills and provides us with health insurance 🙂 Also, I do take my job as a teacher very seriously. It takes a lot to teach little minds and it is important to me. But family ALWAYS comes first. Above all else. Sometimes that requires making sacrifices in other areas of my life, like work and running, and that is okay. It’s so worth it.
- Make the weeks easier by prepping for them on Sunday. This is an important one to me. Last year I rushed around like a crazy person every morning and evening trying to get things prepped, cleaned up, and ready. This year I plan to use my Sundays to get food prepped (eggs hard boiled, veggies chopped and ready to put into a salad, meals planned out, lunches made, laundry done, house cleaned, etc.) This will allow me to really make the most of the time I have at home in the evenings, and it will make the mornings less stressful.
- Sleep. With waking up early to run while training for this marathon it’s going to be super important for me to make the effort to go to bed earlier. My commute to work means I have to be out the door and running around 5 a.m. I know myself and I know I don’t function well on little sleep. I don’t work as hard and I get cranky and frustrated easily at work and at home. I can’t let that happen this year. Sleep needs to be a priority.
- Don’t forget to take care of myself. This one goes along with sleep, but it’s more than just that. As a mother and a teacher and a wife I felt like last school year I was constantly worrying about everyone else, and I really neglected myself in a lot of ways. I didn’t eat well, I didn’t hydrate enough, I didn’t exercise very much, I didn’t sleep… by the time summer hit I looked like I had aged about 10 years, no joke. After a summer of R&R and trying to take care of myself again, I’m feeling (and looking) much better. I can’t let that slip this year when I’m busy caring for others. I can’t do a good job in those roles if I don’t take care of myself first.
Many of my goals overlap with one another and they all have one common theme: to reduce stress and increase happiness. I am hopeful that I will have a much better school year and I will be able to enjoy each day rather than dread it. Here’s to new beginnings!