I have two major priorities in my life right now:
- To be the best wife I can be
- To be the best teacher I can be
Sometimes, these two seem to work against one another. When I need to bring papers home to grade, I feel guilty for not spending quality time with my husband. I honestly usually end up bringing papers home and then deciding that cooking and cleaning and spending time with Jeff is more important, so the papers just sit in their little basket in the back seat of my car and I fall more and more behind at work.
Earlier this week, I had to give myself a major attitude adjustment. I was struggling at work, all the bills were due at the same time, the laundry was piling up, the fridge was empty, and I just felt like there was no way I could do everything that I felt needed to be done. I was cranky and moody and, of course, I ranted and complained to my husband.
I could hear how negative and annoying I sounded, but for some reason, I couldn’t stop myself from venting and I ended up making myself all upset over things that are really totally insignificant in the long run.
On Monday, Jeff and I went for a walk/run together. While I was walking, I realized that a big part of my problem was that I was trying to be someone else’s version of “best.”
I’ll feel like I’m doing a good job at work, and then I’ll see another teacher on Instagram who has a perfectly organized classroom and is doing a super creative lesson and who has students who are actively engaged at all times and love learning. While I enjoy hearing success stories from other teachers, I have a bad habit of turning their best day into a ruler by which I measure my bad days. On those days when things don’t go well, I listen to coworkers or look on social media and I beat myself up. I compare myself to everyone else and I wonder why I can’t be the best.
I do the same thing when it comes to deciding how I’m doing as a wife. I’ll think that I’m doing a pretty good job: my husband is happy, the house is pretty clean most of the time, the cat’s still alive, I remember to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer before they sour. Then I’ll see or hear about a wife who buys her husband a truck for his birthday, or somebody will tell me they saved $100 on groceries, or a woman will run a marathon or start doing CrossFit. When I see friends who can do all those things, I start to question how well I’m actually doing. I get bitter and resentful towards those friends and sometimes even towards my husband because I assign thoughts to him that he doesn’t even have. I’ll see another woman who seems to have it all together and think, “I bet he wishes I looked like that,” or “I bet he thinks I should be more careful with our money.” I turn everything into a competition – one where I’m always on the losing end.
The fact is, I shouldn’t be worried about being THE best. I should just be trying to be MY best.
If I’m the best teacher I can be, then it doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing in their classrooms. If I’m putting time and effort into my relationship and trying to be the best wife I can be and my husband is happy, then that’s all that matters.
This week has been long and hard, but today I am thankful that I get to start fresh every morning. I’m thankful that I have a husband who listens when I need to vent and who doesn’t judge me for my shortcomings. I’m thankful that I have the ability to be MY best every day, and that on the days when I’m not my best, I’m still loved.