Friday, May 16, 2014

Year 4: Week 34 – Stress Post-Baby

This past week, we had our big spring concert. Every year, this is one of my department’s biggest events. There are tons of moving parts and lots of things that have to be coordinated.  The week before was my 5th grade medieval presentation. This is the culminating event in the 5th grade year. The presentation has music as part of the show with students playing different instruments and some challenging logistics.

These two weeks are hard every year. If all I had was the 5th grade thing and the concert, my plate would be full. Here’s the thing, since I became department chair I’ve been given a whole new set of responsibilities. So last week, because of 5th grade preparations, three interviews for the position I’m  helping fill, I only taught of three of my classes. For all my other classes, including ones leading up to the spring concert, I had to get a substitute.

In seemed insane and unthinkable that I would miss this much class right before a concert. The kicker is that some of the interviews were scheduled with very little notice to prepare for a substitute, so I was definitely scrambling almost every day that week to write lesson plans for the sub.  And, I was very ill for most of the week as well.

The weird thing, that this should have been the perfect storm for my head to explode in stress, but it didn’t feel this way. Part of this had to do was the fact that this was the fourth year I had done the 5th grade event and the spring concert. I knew how these events would run and what needed to be done. That helped a lot, but the other thing that kept my stress down was the perspective I got from this time last year.

Last spring this time Diana was full term. She had the potential to have Ollie at any time. So when I was doing the 5th grade presentation and the spring concert, it was on my mind that I could receive a phone call at any time and I would need to drop whatever I was doing and leave even in the middle of the spring concert.

This was the feeling of fear and uncertainty, not knowing the timing of when Ollie was going to come and it made everything I did at work, that much more stressful. As hard as I tried to focus, I couldn’t help but worry about Diana all of the time. All of that time leading up to Ollie coming into the world and the birth itself was probably the most stressful time in my entire life.

Maybe that’s why, all of the insanity of the last two weeks, didn’t really stress me out. By comparison, nothing that has happened recently or during this past school year at work, even comes close to the experience of Ollie being born when it comes to stress (this was incredibly joyous involved in this event, but the stress was pretty immense).

Becoming a parent does changes your perspective on everything about your life.  Ollie being born, showed me that my wife and I could work through anything life throws at us.  Difficult things with Ollie continue to remind us of this fact.  I love my work and it continues to challenge me but it's just a job.  My family is my life and if anything in my life is worth stressing out about, it's them. 

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