Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rising strong anyway

Day 6 of 31 at TWT!
Last night I went running instead of blogging. On purpose. I did not write, on only the 5th day of the March Challenge. I chose not to write.

That's a big deal for me, the ultimate perfectionist. To make a conscious decision to not be perfect. I was perfect for the first 3 Marches I blogged. Then, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was decidedly not perfect. I just couldn't be, for a variety of reasons, and that was hard. However, I did write 14 posts and ended up feeling proud of myself anyway, because it was much better than not trying at all.

The next March, when she was 10 months old, I somehow managed to be perfect again! I have no idea how I pulled that off! It seems so impossible that I actually didn't remember doing it until I looked at my archives today to see how many posts I'd written the past few Marches. Did I seriously blog for 31 days in a row with a baby while still teaching full-time? I apparently did, because there they all are! (Clearly, that whole year was such a whirlwind that I have no recollection of that accomplishment though, so...)

Then there was last year. We won't even talk about last year. 9 posts total, and none in March. (I also didn't remember that until I looked back at my archives... how did I not even manage to write a single post all month?! How on earth did I talk to my students about writing if I wasn't doing it myself? I mean, I know it was a rough time, but yikes!)

And here we are, in 2018. Could I have written a post last night and pushed myself to write every single day this March? Yes, but I chose balance instead.

To write last night, I would have had to miss out on:

  • reading and responding to incredible student slices and sending them out for our staff to read
  • spending quality time with Little Sweetie before dinner ("Mommy, can we read this book together? Mommy, can you play with me? Mommy, can we snuggle on the snuggle couch and watch Daniel Tiger? ")
  • running (and therefore feeling like SuperGirl!)
  • a glorious bubble bath after running
  • texting my best friend to support him through a challenge, as he has for me so many times
  • snuggling up to Husband to scroll through the photos of Sweetie that my mom posted while we were at work
  • enough sleep (honestly, this still didn't even quite happen!)

Could I have written, and missed some of that? Yes. Would it have been worth it? No way.

One of my colleagues loves to say that being elite is being the best version of you. In a discussion after school today, he reminded a group of us again that if you are seriously doing everything you can to be your best, then you are working to be elite. It's not about outside markers of success or how you compare to other people. It's about doing your work relentlessly, to be incrementally better every day, not just in one part of your life, but in all the parts that matter most.

So I'm not perfect this year, but I am doing my absolute best. And that's actually better than when I was perfect.

Right now, my best is to make time for writing every day that I can do it without sacrificing something else essential. To avoid the trap of perfectionism and roll all of my "one little words" from the past few years together: to LOVE hard and stay STRONG, ANYWAY, and to RISE in all areas of my life.


  1. I can absolutely relate to this. I had a couple of brushes with my perfectionism gene today, too, and had to take a deep breath each time and say "hey, you're doing enough and making the right choices!" Thanks for being honest.

  2. Jennifer, I love how you have discovered that balance in your life rises above everything. I believe most mom-teachers push ourselves to do more and compare ourselves to others as the standard of "perfection." There is not such thing as perfection and we all need to let that one little word go! Bravo for taking care of you, spending time with family, and creating balance in your life!

  3. I admire you for writing while having a baby and being a full-time teacher, and also for being able to not write and feel ok with that!

    Your post has inspired me to be “Elite”.
    Thank you for this post!

  4. Balance is the hardest thing in the world for teacher moms, I think. And sometimes, things have to give, even when you're a perfectionist. But I'm glad you're writing and I hope you'll continue this month. But only if you have the time :)

  5. You are a perfect you and you know what matters in life. I applaud you for every thing you do! (insert clapping hands here)


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