Monday, April 30, 2012

Let's Get Real...

I've made it my personal duty to stay positive on this blog, while being honest at the same time.  It is a documentation for our little family of 3 of what we go through day in and day out together, as well as a way to keep others updated on our lives. Writing has also always been an outlet for me.  If you know me, you know that.  I was hesitant about writing this post for fear of judgment of my honesty, but quickly realized that fear of others' opinion is not true to myself.  However, "honest" hardly describes what I've fully been and the positivism may not stick with me through this WARNING, you may not want to read on...I may vent a little, I may say some things that offend you, hell, I may even get a little colorful and feisty with things as I'm known to if you are feeling even the slightest bit judgmental, then consider this your cue to leave; things are about to get real up in here.

I've always prided myself on doing just that... "keeping it real", but I haven't kept it completely "real" here lately with some things that we've been going through.  Outspoken to the core, I've always been known to have a way with words and put you in your place if you do something that I find offensive to myself or others around me and will ALWAYS stick up for the people I love.  My students are NO exception to that, nor are the politics in schools and their coinciding administration and that has gotten me into trouble and some sticky situations a time or two...okay, even three.  I know I make more mistakes (mainly with my words) than the average bear and always end up pissing off someone around me.  Sometimes, I don't even have to say anything and I STILL piss people off.  The joys of being outspoken.  I can't help it, it's my nature. I can say, though, that I work to hold myself accountable for my responsibilities in those situations and the things I say to learn from my them and my actions.  Thus, when I began at a new school this year, I made a promise to myself that I would take a full-on passive approach (more so than "slightly passive" as I had in previous years), against my nature, in order to "fly under the radar".  School politics these days almost require that you keep your mouth shut...or someone gets pissed...rather, someone gets sensitive...forgetting it is NOT personal, yet making it just that.  I assure you that that is what I did this year...became passive to the higher-ups in school almost to a fault...yet, I still gave a few lovelies the wrong impression...

Obviously so, because I got pink-slipped... like a freaking slap in the face.  It is embarrassing and I am super ashamed to publicly admit this recent fate of mine, but several folks close to me that do already know, thought it pertinent for my healing and your knowledge to get an understanding of just how messed up it truly is. And let me just tell you...I got pink-slipped WHILE I was home on bedrest/ maternity leave...for high blood pressure...while pregnant...4 DAYS BEFORE GIVING BIRTH.  Oh and did I mention, HE CAME TO MY HOUSE AND DID IT?!!? Right after an email littered with smiley faces and positivism?!!?  Once here, prior to pink-slipping me, I got THE BEST evaluation I have ever gotten in all my several years of educating...hands down.  It really was when he dropped the big news, it was like a bomb going off and I was stunned.  It didn't seem real...or even possible for that matter.  Given my passive attitude this year, and the awesome evaluations (yes, I went back through every evaluation, EVERY walk-through, EVERY email), it seemed a "given" that I'd be back for another year and this was one less thing I'd have to worry about in the stress and excitement of adding another person to our household, while being off work and away from my students. For one of the first times in my life, I was literally speechless.  Lured/ recruited to THIS particular school under the pretenses of "you're a ROCKSTAR of a teacher"; "I now have quite possibly the best math teacher in the entire county"; "you will do amazing things with our scores", I felt completely used.  I asked how THAT was possible that he'd be letting me go, while keeping first-year teachers or ones that aren't particularly invested in OUR school over one with proven scores and outstandingly strong relationships with students and which I got the response, "well, ya know for staff reductions".  Seriously?  That's it?  That's all I get?  And 4 days before the biggest day of my life?  I hate to admit it, but with the theme of keeping it real, my joy for what was about to happen to me with the birth of my child was drained...robbed...gone.  I've never been more hysterical in my life.  Here I was about to give birth...already having high blood pressure causing me to deliver 3 weeks early via c-section, and I was hyperventilating over not being sure I'd have a job to add to supporting my family and new child when it was all said and done.  I was defeated.

4 days later, I gave birth to my son and it was magical.  He is the best thing that has ever happened to us...he is my world.  Now, he is a month old and the baby-moon phase has worn off quicker than I had planned because of one major detail: I DO NOT HAVE A JOB.  I still do not understand WHY, but I am trying to pick up the pieces and move on, while raising and trying to adjust a newborn to life amongst our world.  It's just hard to "keep the joy" and "keep the faith" when I'm not sure about being able to provide for the future of my family. What's worse is many around me just do not understand what life is like for me these days...or any new mother in general so it's time to get real about something else...PEOPLE.

Motherhood is such a blessing, but it is an adjustment.  It is an adjustment for me, it is an adjustment for B, it is an adjustment for my family, it is an adjustment for Jack, but it is also an adjustment for life as we all know it. I am now not just me - Abby: the wife, daughter, teacher, friend, and fun-lover...I am Abby: the wife, daughter, teacher, friend, fun-lover, and MOTHER which is the most important thing of all.  It is the defining thing and all else falls by the wayside.  It has to because nothing is as important as the health and well-being of my son.  I hate to say this, but not everyone understands that...especially if they've never had a child yet themselves.  I didn't before I was a mother and I thought that I could keep up with everything. I judged people.

I have recently come to realize that I may have to be the bad wife, the bad daughter, the bad friend, the bad co-worker, the bad teacher, the bad anything, but the one thing I refuse to be bad MOTHER.  I AM learning to accept that I have to make choices about which "bad" I'm going to be in this game of motherhood and it's not easy letting things go.  I have always wanted to be the "good" everything, but that's just not possible right now as much as I want it or try for it.  I may be late, I may have to cancel plans, I may not even be able to make it to something at the last minute, but people need to understand that it's all for good purpose and good reason.  I would never just "flake" out on something or someone as that is not who I am, nor has it ever been, but I also REFUSE to put my child second for any thing, any event, or any person if he needs me.  Right now, he needs me and he needs me at my best 24/7.  
I am a pleaser and never want to let anyone down, but my child deserves all the good that I have and nothing less than that and if someone can not accept that, then I'm sorry, but I do not want, nor need that person in my life.  It's a harsh reality, but I am realizing that if that ends up being the case, then he/she was not my friend to begin with, and not the person I thought he/she might have been; I judged incorrectly. Simply stated, I gave that person too much credit and HE/SHE is not worthy of MY friendship.  Its a tough reality to face and a hard pill to swallow...especially for me, but it's true.

There have been a few people mad at me for missing a few things here and there the past couple of weeks and some have even blamed me for THEM being stressed because "I had the audacity to have a child" (I know, how dare me, right?), so my message directly speaking to THEM (and this is what may piss many a folks off) in keeping with the theme of getting real is (if this hasn't been you, then can you ear-muff it real quick?!?):
"get your head out of the gutter, stop thinking about yourselves, and move on!  How insensitive.  How selfish.  While my son is heaven on earth, THIS is not a vacation for me and putting my family's needs and happiness before all of yours if what I'm going to do.  The timing of the birth of my son may be inconvenient and put a hankering on things for you folks...but I would never...and I MEAN N-E-V-E-R NEVER, make you people feel guilty for your joy, no matter how swamped or stressed I was because of your absences somewhere I wanted all of you to be.  Let's get let's get honest, THAT is NOT conducive to a healthy relationship for anyone.  I can only hope that someone does not make any of you feel this way when you have a child.  I believe that all of you deserve better and so do I!  Treat others as you wish to be treated, folks...didn't your mother teach your anything?!?"  :)

The final thing that we'll "get real" the questions people ask.  First and foremost, please do NOT ask me, "is he sleeping through the night yet?"...unless you want me to slap you in the face and then promptly hand him to you so I can take a nap.  I am a frazzled momma going through crazy hormones, the loss of a job, a newborn who has his days and nights confused and screams in agony at times during the day because he is still training himself in the workings of digestion and "pooing", and only about 2-3 FULL hours (4 if I'm lucky) of sleep a night...never uninterrupted.  I am tired, I'm dirty, and I stink. He seems to have a sensor when I want to get something done, so a shower is never a possibility...nor is a nap.  Writing this blog was tough and to be honest, I need to be doing job applications but I promised my father I'd do this "Let's Get Real" blog post if he'd go to the doctor about some concerns he's been having (an eye for an eye and we ALWAYS have each other's backs).
And no, my child is NOT sleeping through the night yet...he is a NEWBORN...more specifically, he is a breastfed newborn.  He does NOT sleep through night because he has it confused with the day...AND because he metabolizes my breastmilk so rapidly that he is often seemingly starving within 3 hours of the last meal.  We are trying to follow the eat, play, sleep schedule in part of the BabyWise method...but it has been way tough with him.  And yes, we ARE trying.  I am trying all day every day.  In "crying it out", he will literally choke himself because he cries so hard and it is more than I can handle.  My boy is rapidly losing much of the mild-mannered and calm nature at times as we are crazily trying to adjust and fine-tune a schedule for him.  We are all going a little "nutty" here and he is no exception to recognizing that.  Nothing is making me feel like a worse mother.

The question of, "where is he sleeping?" is starting to drive me a bit crazy.  Um, why is that important?  NO, my child does not sleep in the bed with me as we do not believe in that, he sleeps in his crib...but what does that matter to you where he sleeps?  No, I do NOT mind walking into his room and feeding and consoling him in his glider in there...that's why we have it.  Please do not tell me where you think I should put my child's bed or that you think he should sleep with us.  We do not believe in that, but do not judge you if you do.  Our arrangement works for us and we like it.  

You may now be judging me a bit or even a lot, but these are some things that I have remained mild-mannered, calm, and passive about and finally decided to get off my chest.  Please know that this is my way of being honest and dealing with some things that we're going through right now as a family. They are not meant to anger you.  My sincerest apologies if they have.  Thank you if you made it through this entire post and thank you more if you did and didn't judge me (or did but are not going to tell me).  There's something to be said about passivism, but there's more to be said about honesty and being true to your self.


  1. Abby, I am SO sorry that you were pink slipped. I hate education and how it is so political. I was close to being pink slipped last year, because "I was almost tenure and almost finished with my masters degree." it's such a dumb money game. I have the same problems with keeping my mouth shut and being passive and that has caused me so many problems this year. Good luck in the job hunt. As for baby Jack...he's precious and don't worry about other people's opinions. I don't have a baby, yet, but when I do I know that they will be the most important thing in my life. Sorry people made you feel that way.

  2. Wow. Are you a sister or what?? Sooo you've been giving me tidbits of advice throughout my pregnancy already. Well I was just crying reading your post because guess what... I just got pink slipped too. It is only my 2nd year but I am a DARN good teacher and I do everything asked of me times ten. I'm trying to remain calm and "healthy" for Reece but I have so much anger and STRESS built up now that I'm losing my mind. How the f am I suppose to pack up a classroom when I might as well be disabled?! What kind of principal would be stupid enough to hire me when I'm do at the beginning of September??!! Girl... I totally feel you. Life is so unfair. I KNOW people probably have said this to you, because I know tons have said it to me, but I truly to believe God has a plan and these things happen for a reason (don't slap me in the face). You have been such an inspiration to me over so many years and you probably don't even know it. I so appreciate your blogs as to ease my worries through this process. This one today really shows you're in my life for a reason!! I'm sorry if God pink slipped you just so you could show me how to handle it... But we'll get through it!!! I love ya and I know we'll make it!!!