Signs of Stress
posted by Amy

It's crunch time for me: three weeks until the end of my teaching year, which means my students are stressing, and I'm grading as fast as I can. Over the years of balancing work and family, I've noticed a pattern. Here are my top five signs that I'm feeling just a wee bit stressed:

1. My hair maintenance routine, which basically consists of washing and combing it, starts to seem overwhelmingly time-consuming. I begin to wonder if I could get away with a shaved head--preferably one I shave myself, as scheduling time for haircuts isn't something I want to add to my life.

2. I become convinced that if I could just find the perfect planner/calendar, my life would be easier. For instance, if I'd had the perfect planner last Tuesday, perhaps I would have realized that if Henry has a 5:30 baseball game, our family will not eat dinner until 8:00 p.m., which leads to craziness around here. A mom with the perfect planner would have fed everyone before the game, or better yet, brought a beautiful picnic to the game. Never mind the many planners/calendars littering my house already, the ones which apparently only work if you remember to LOOK at them; the answer must be out there, right?

3. Maybe this should be #2B, actually, as it's related to the planner. Having the right bag--one big enough for all the necessities of my life but not too bulky, one that has a place to put my keys so I don't search for them forever, etc.--is a longing I inherited from my own mom. Surely the right bag will solve my problems. Right?

4. I get a little, um, snappy. Or, you know, bitchy. Too little sleep, too much to remember, too many people needing too many different things from me = mean mommy.

5. I start fantasizing about living in a fictional world, preferably the one depicted on the television show The West Wing. Those characters' lives look so simple: they just devote every living second to their jobs. On a recent episode, C.J. told her boyfriend that they've waited seven years to get together; surely they could wait another night. That kind of devotion to work seems crazy to me, but right now, it looks downright heavenly.

Fortunately, the semester will end, my kids will get out of school, and we'll have some downtime. And then you'll get to read my list of signs that I'm ready for summer to be over.