Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Note to Self: I am not Superwoman....

....even as hard as I try.

So, I have been feeling pretty good about some things lately. I finally managed a single pull-up at the gym, only to be challenged to do two in a row. I realized that it isn't going to happen from a dead hang, and so I am in the process of trying to learn how to do a kipping pull-up. Michael has started talking fairly well. J and Spencer both came home with good report cards this quarter. Piano lessons seem to be going well and both boys are progressing.

It seems, though, that all of these accomplishments come with "buts", followed by some sort of failure. I've had to delay my hundred push-up goal. Trying to max on push-ups and do pull-ups at the same is apparently a little much on my arms. Especially if I want to be able to teach for three hours the next day with the writing on the white board that is required.

Michael, with all of his new words, is still behind. I am growing more and more grateful for his October birthday which will delay his kindergarten entry by a year from most of his peers. We have started the process of qualifying for the district speech therapy/preschool for when he turns three. I already have him signed up for another preschool and I couldn't possibly work with the district hours and still teach a morning class, so I'm not sure how this is going to work, which is making me feel guilty about the fact that I work at all. Of course, if I didn't work, it would take away the option for things such as piano lessons for my boys, family vacations, etc.

Speaking of piano lessons....yes, they are going well. In fact, I dare say that my boys have made an incredible amount of progress since they started in February of last year. But...my teacher, the one that works so well with my boys, she is moving. They are taking a few weeks of break right now and they start with a new teacher on May 2nd. I researched the best that I could and I hope that I have found someone that will work well with them, but I don't know and I am afraid that they will not work as hard or that they will grow frustrated. I am afraid that the leaps and bounds of progress they have made will stop. I wonder if my boys have any idea how hard all of these little decisions I must make for them are.

And then there was parent/teacher conference with J's teacher yesterday. Once again, I was reassured that J is a math genius, the gifted/talented program is right for him, etc. But, his handwriting is still terrible. In fact, she dropped the bomb that his writing is probably not even on a normal third grade level, let alone a "Quest" (our GT program) third grade level. She also said that he would seriously struggle in fourth grade if this did not change. So, the way I see it, I have four months to pull my struggling son up to an acceptable writing level. The problem, you see, is that, though I am an excellent teacher, I teach Math. I know nothing about how to help my son here. I've ordered the "Handwriting without Tears" books. But, I am wondering if I should be employing the help of an occupational therapist or if I am totally over-reacting and this is just a normal result of the asynchronous learning that usually accompanies gifted children. After all, no kid can be good at everything, except of course, that one kid in his class who does manage this feat and has only pulled one ticket the whole year. But, we don't talk about him.

Then there is all of the guilt. I am good at my job and I like to teach. My employer is struggling to find enough Math teachers to fill summer positions right now and has asked me to take more than the two classes I have committed to. I do feel some obligation. At the same time, I already feel terrible amounts of guilt of the six hours a week that I am away from my family. And, of course, if I did take another class, it would make our monthly budget a little easier to balance, but, at what cost? It is a balancing act that seems to have no answer.

I also know that the time I have spent working out the last several months has been good for me. It is time with my husband and it is good for my body. But, it is also time that the boys are not working on piano or handwriting. It makes our afternoons a little more hectic. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. And, let's not even get into my role as a member of the primary presidency.....which I could, and probably should, do so much more for.

So, it is true. The conclusion I have come to is that I can't do it all. But, since I am really not willing to give up any of it right now, I am going to have to be content to be mediocre at much of it, which is hard for someone who was raised with the idea that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing better than any person since the beginning of time has ever done it.


Christina Munyan said...

Hey Kara...just an idea...when I was a kid, I struggled with handwriting too. Grandma got me one of those books that has the 3 lines on it to separate were each part of the letter goes. She made me practice writing the alphabet several times each day until I got the hang of how to write each letter so that others could read it. I realize that the alphabet is a too easy for J, but maybe the book structure might help. I just know that it worked for me.

Good luck!

Brig said...

Spankings. Your kids need more spankings. I hear it builds character.

Coopers said...

As an OT, I use the HWT books with kids at school daily. I see a big difference when kids practice just a few minutes every day with the books. Some of my brightest students have handwriting difficulties! And...you aren't supposed to be "Super Woman"! At this point in time, you are the best you can be, which is very good. Perfection isn't a requirement to be a good wife, mother, or employee. Thank goodness! :)

Kimbooly said...

My opinion is that parenting done incorrectly still blesses my family. Otherwise I would just collapse on the floor in a puddle of my own guilty tears and completely withdraw from being a parent at all. (And then feel even more guilty and even more discouraged)

Also, a possible help with 3rd & 4th grade for J--will his teacher let him type assignments as often as possible? We find this to be extremely helpful for Jeffrey.

I recently purchased a program called "Typer Island" that is simple and (MOST IMPORTANT) can be played by your child WITHOUT your help. Bryce and Jeffrey have finished many of the lessons already.