Monday, April 11, 2011

Work: Slipping under

Third quarter grades are due on Wednesday and due to some very poor planning on my part, I find myself buried in essays, tests and reading logs.  Unlike my college years or even my pre-motherhood days of teaching, I cannot put the rest of my life on hold while I get my work done and I'm starting to feel like I'm slipping under without a breath.

In dealing with the stress, I initially turned to an old standby: simmering hostility.  I'm not proud to admit that yesterday I spent over an hour arguing with my husband about the sad state of his undershirt, which it seemed at the time, was a huge personal insult to me and an unflattering reflection of the state of our marriage.  Not a great day.

Today I went for a different approach.  I've been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Yes, it's been out forever and I'm still not sure whether it's annoying or worthwhile, but anything is better than stewing over undergarments so I am borrowing one of her "Twelve Commandments": Act the way you want to feel.

And so instead of acting like someone who wants to pluck out her eyes with a dull pencil rather than read one more analysis of the significance of water imagery in Annie John, I am acting as if grading stacks of essays as Little E climbs on me and insists that I be her mommy elephant is a truly relaxing way to spend an afternoon. 

Instead of indulging the anxiety I feel about getting these grades completed and entered on time, I am pretending that I'll have it done with time to spare.

Instead of hyperventilating at the thought of continuing to plan for and execute my classes and parent meetings in the midst of this, I am telling myself that this is more than manageable.

Instead of admitting to myself that I have no time to play on the Internet while 24 reading logs await, I am boldly writing a (rather weak) blog post.

I am acting the way I want to feel. Until Wednesday afternoon when it's all over and I admit to myself that I was really, truly slipping under.

Update: I have to admit, it actually worked: I finished even earlier than I'd hoped.  As it turns out, while acting as if I have it all under control may feel like a big effort, it is far less time-consuming than making everyone around me miserable.  I tried that trick again today when I set out for a three mile run but decided halfway through to act like someone who really loves a five-miler.  Sure, I gave up the act and called it a day at 4 1/2miles. But still...

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what to make of such positivity. So I'll just comment on the Shakespeare Set Free. My hubs still has his from grad school even though neither of us has taught in, oh...a lot of years, but still. Just something about it -- can't let go!