I had a bit of a reality check this week, my well oiled ship has been running as smoothly of late, I’ve been over tired, a little unorganised and stuff has just unravelled a bit. Nothing major, but it’s just made getting out of the door on time a little harder and more patience testing. That combined with toddler P being a typical 2 year old going on 15, I’ve felt a bit frazzled. Then yesterday I was late.
I was later out the door setting off but nothing of any impact until half way up the road I hit a bus blocking the lane with its hazards on, then the lights weren’t working at a junction further on…you catch my drift. The universe was against me when I needed it to work in my favour. I got to work in the nick of time, I’d missed a briefing but I was there just in time for the kids so I took a deep breath, calmed my flustered self and greeted them into form with a smile.
The fluster made me worry though, was toddler P ok after my dump and run at the chid minders, were staff peed off I’d missed briefing, was my child kinder annoyed I’d ditched my child and dashed off in a mad rush. My thoughts started to snowball, until I’d convinced myself that the world was looking at my as though I was a bad mum, teacher, employee, leader, person and oh my god who the hell did I think I was.
Then I calmed, I took a breath, read a kind text from my childminder saying little P was fine, reminding me that she’s a legend in childminders clothing that gets that it’s hard being a working mum and that leaving my daughter in her care is like leaving her with family, she’s in a warm loving environment that she adores being in and they adore having her. So I took a chill pill (metaphorically not actually! In actual fact I had a brew and a choccie biscuit) and reminded myself that one late morning doesn’t make me a bad parent, it makes me a working mum running late. I then laughed with a couple colleagues about how dashing in late is a pain in the arse the morning, cursed the defrosting of a car and bloody bus blocking the lane but then thanked the lord it wasn’t a nasty accident with inured parties causing the delay. I then proceeded to have a good day.
It was then in the evening I had a reality check. I did friend a favour and accompanied her to parents evening as she wanted an extra ear that was in the know about education to cast an opinion and offer some support regarding her child’s schooling. It was nice to help a friend out, it was nice to offer support and give someone what they needed, it was also nice feel valued and needed, it was nice to feel like I could help and contribute. It was also a bloody string reminder that I was doing it because I cared, I give a shit about this friend and I give a shit about her child. Just like I do toddler P, just like I do the kids in my classroom and the staff in my team. And that’s why I’m a good mum, good teacher and good leader. Because I care.
So why did my irrational thoughts after being late. Why have I become over tired and less organised of late. Because I was putting myself under unnecessary pressure. I’d been worrying too much about pleasing everybody and make sure I appeared to be a great mum/teacher/employee/leader that I didn’t focus on what I needed to do to ensure that. Last night reminded me that I don’t other people’s validation, the proof is in the pudding. Toddler P’s smile shows me I’m a good mum, her lust and love for life, her morning wake call buzzing and excited just because she’s awake proves I’m a good mum. The kids in my classroom, telling me I’m kind, laughing with me as we act out a cops and robbers silent movie tells me I’m a good teacher, their eagerness to stay after school to create a school podcast, their smiles, hellos on the corridors and hands in the air asking if they can perform shows I’m getting it right. The staff members going above and beyond to take students out on trips, asking me to sign forms so they can make links with other schools, lead a workshop, run a club shows I’m getting it right with my team. Them emailing me pictures and quotes for our area twitter feed, their lessons being fun and exciting to watch tells me I’m getting it right. Their eagerness to support the students tells me I’m doing ok. So who was I trying to impress?
I was trying to make myself feel like I was superwoman but I can’t be. No one can. And in putting that much pressure on myself I was making myself feel worse. I’m doing ok when I forget the world and focus on what me, toddler P, the kids in my classroom, teachers in my team and friends in my circle need. So I’m hanging up my superwoman cape and underpants and donning my pjs and slippers, curling up with a cuppa and watching Bing Bunny with my girl. Because that’s what we need, not to be under pressure (can anyone say that without mimicking Freddie Mercury).