Read This, Get a Massage, Eat Chocolate
posted by Amy

When I first started teaching, I obsessed over creating the perfect lesson plans. More than once, after preparing for the next day's class, I'd wake up at 3 a.m. with a great idea, hop out of bed, and turn on the computer, ready to revise the plans I'd already spent hours on. Like my fellow new teachers, I agonized over each student's work, convinced that if I hadn't changed their lives—I mean, their writing—by the end of the semester, I'd be a failure as a teacher.

Since this is how I approached teaching a required composition course, you might surmise that my approach to parenthood was even more frighteningly intense. You'd be so right. Reading this post over at Supafine! brought me right back to those early days of knowing each moment how every parenting decision I made could be judged by others.

Of course, those days are far from over around here, but I have the benefit of a few more years of perspective of both teaching and parenthood. The conclusion I can draw after ten years of teaching and eight of the parenting/stepparenting gig? It might have been better for my students AND my kids if I'd gotten a little more sleep and worried a little less. Easy to say, of course, but hard to put into practice. When I need a reminder to relax (like, you know, every single day), I use my favorite soothing device: David Anderegg's book, Worried All the Time: Overparenting in an Age of Anxiety and How to Stop It . It's not THE answer, but it's one that's working for me right now. (Hint for Mother's Day, o faithful reader-husband of mine: chocolate and a massage are also welcome.)