For years, I’ve gotten it all wrong when it comes to balancing my life. I was one of those teachers who lived and breathed all things related to my career. I arrived at school at a decent time but worked sometimes into the night, always needing to get something else done. Even last year, living around 55 miles from my school did not change things. I was really bad about leaving work around 10pm. Again, my excuse was data, creating some new something based on an idea or working on evaluating the plans of our department. There was always something.
Last week, I was headed to yet another edcamp where quite honestly, the conversations were no different than the one that I just attended. It took a phone call from my college bound daughter for me to turn around and spend time at home versus meeting up to discuss education. That ride home was by far one of the longest that I’ve experienced and yet it was probably the most pivotal moment that I’ve had in a long time.
It’s no secret to anyone that knows me personally how committed I am to education. It is not an 8am to 3pm job by any means, but it is one that can be managed. My children are accustomed to my schedule. Their schedules are interwoven on my google calendar so that I can be present for them as much as possible yet even with that…teaching, presenting or connecting often took the front seat.
The reality of my life is that my sacrifice is also theirs and in all honesty, it’s not fair. Why should it be? I am an educator but I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend first. I needed to rethink my approach to my career…my passion.
The fact of the matter is that I am hypocritical to put all of my energy into the lives of others if I am not putting more energy into the lives of those that I am directly connected to. Careers come and go. Students graduate but your kids are your kids. Your spouses are your spouses. If you are blessed enough to have your parents here, that time is not guaranteed either. No time is. We only have one chance on this earth to get it right and we have to make sure that our families and friends feel that they matter too.
This summer, I turned down a training opportunity after ISTE because I wanted to go home. I would have loved the chance to share with educators and be paid for it but no dollar amount on earth is worth missing a chance to fulfill my first earthly duty…MOM.
I knew this to be true and somehow in the weeks that followed, I guess that I needed to be reminded yet again.
I’m glad that my daughter sent me the text that would forever frame my thinking.
The lesson here is this…
You can love all that you do but you must make sure to put in the time and energy for the ones that you love most. Balance is the real secret to all success.