What have I gotten myself into…?

Hey, it’s me!  I’m still here.  Barely.

Wow, the last 2 months have really been tough.  I am now fully immersed into life as a high school computer science teacher.  I know ‘they’ say that the first year is the hardest, and I will have to say that seems pretty valid.  Especially since I’ve had absolutely no training as a teacher.

There are parts of this job that I really enjoy.  I’ve had a couple of students that I was pretty sure were not going to pass my class suddenly turn things around this week.  Not only did they produce working code, but they were enthusiastic about understanding what they were doing.  I  have sensed several students completely hating my guts, but got small smiles – or at least pleasant conversation – out of them this week too.  I went to the high school football game last night and, after realizing I was sitting a few rows up from 2 of my students, they ran up and gave me hugs.

What I am not enjoying is that I never ever feel like I’m caught up.  I’ve felt like that many many times as a busy mom but now I feel like the things I can’t keep up with are the most valuable things – i.e. spending time with my own kids in their fleeting last months/years at home.  Taking this job with a high school senior in the house was a concern, and even though she is never home either, I feel mentally drained and not fully “present” when she is.

And, my health.  Well, it has been equally messed up.

First, the eating.  I have kept to my usual structure, for the most part.  I still typically do some sort of protein shake before leaving at 6:50 am every morning.  That seems to hold me over pretty well until my ‘lunch’ period – which is about 30 minutes, if I’m lucky, before my last 2 classes.  This usually consists of slamming down some sort of combination of Greek yogurt, string cheese, protein bar or maybe some deli meat slices.  Typically this occurs in our small staff department workroom and we all decompress together for about 10 minutes, exchange information about school happenings, and commiserate.  Then the bell rings and I’m off to teach my most challenging class, followed by a sprint across campus for my last class (our classes are a very long 83 minutes each).  Anyway, I’m getting into a bad habit upon returning home of grabbing a bag of chips.  This is something that I had gotten out of the habit of eating to ‘soothe’ myself after the long day.  This was a bad tendency that I had before I lost weight, and it is creeping back in.

Second, the extreme decrease in my exercise.  One of my biggest ‘fears’ – aside from losing family time – was that I would stop exercising with this job.  Well, despite promising myself that I wouldn’t let that happen, I’m letting that happen.  For a few weeks I was able to go straight to the gym after taking Erin to gymnastics practice.  This worked pretty well but more often I would need to head back home to drive the football carpool, and then the thought of heading back up to the gym (in rush hour traffic) just wasn’t happening.  Sometimes I would go to the gym and work out before getting Erin from practice (she practices 3.5 hours) but this put the start around 7 pm and, wow, that is getting kinda late to start.  The times I did go to my semi-private training at the gym (that I’m still paying for), the workout area was SO crowded and I found myself extremely frustrated with the lack of space or equipment to work out.  I miss my old training group and trainers.  And, as time marched on and I went less and less, the harder it was to keep up with that class.  It is shocking how fast we lose our fitness after building it up so much for over a year.  I went on Labor Day to see my old group since we were off of school on a Monday morning and I had to stop my workout to keep from throwing up.  It was bad.  The good news is that the weather is finally shifting to fall-ish temperatures and my workouts no longer need to be indoors.  This is huge, actually, because it opens up so many more opportunities to sneak in exercise.  I am still getting out and doing about 3 miles of walking with a little running a couple of days per week, but the strength training is not happening…  I should just do something at home with a few free weights and my own body weight (push-ups, planks, wall-sits, burpees …anything! )

Third, lack of sleep.  I’m up too late at night preparing for class the next day.  I’m up at 5:30 am to get ready.  I know getting 7-8 hours is important for weight control – and I’m routinely in the 6 hour range.  I guess I just need to unplug and get to bed.  I pay for it the next day if I’m not prepared though!

And, finally, my lady parts are SO messed up.  I have had a long string of fairly minor issues that come along with being a peri-menopausal 46 year old woman.  They need to be addressed by a doctor and scheduling that with my work day, finding a doctor that will take new patients and/or our insurance has been surprisingly challenging.  I thought things had worked themselves out and had lowered the priority of finding a doctor when all hell broke loose last week and literally thought I was going to bleed out one night, out of nowhere.  It was very concerning and I ended up taking myself to the ER on a Thursday night at 1 am, where I was met by what seemed like the cast of Grey’s Anatomy.  My very handsome doctor even had the “Mc…” last name.  I left the ER at 3:30 am, armed with a prescription that I picked up at a 24 hour Walgreen’s, slept for about 1.5 hours and then taught my classes starting at 7am.  To say I was a mess is an understatement.  I was also met by a very long detailed email by one of my students about why she – and apparently 90% of the rest of the class that she had polled – all thought my class was horrible and that they all wanted to drop the program.  It was not something I needed to read with next to no sleep and while I felt like I was losing my uterus.  This week was much better though!

Anyway, that’s what’s going on.  To be honest, I have not been on the scale in over a month.  I’m guessing I’ve gained somewhere between 5-10 pounds, but my size 12’s are still fitting pretty nicely.  I need to turn things around, soon.    Right now, I’m just trying to minimize the damage on all fronts – survive, if you will.  The medical events last week and all of the blood loss took me down to ‘survival mode’.  I think I’ve regained some blood cells now and am feeling human again.  I’m truly lucky that I have options and that I can get myself out of this situation in May, if I choose.  I’m happy for the opportunity, I just need to figure out if it is worth how it is up-ending my life.  I need to learn how to make it all work for the best for all of us.

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Big Changes Ahead

I have neglected my blog again.  There has been lots going on but I didn’t share some of it because it was up in the air.

I’m going back to work – after 11 years of being a stay-at-home mom.

There are so many emotions associated with this.  I’ve been really fortunate that there hasn’t been a need for me to go back to work, and there still isn’t.  Of course, the extra income will be nice, but it definitely wasn’t a deciding factor in this case.  Until I get going in the job, I’m going to remain a little bit vague about what I’m up to – but I will say that I’m going to be teaching … high school.  Interesting, Martha…I didn’t know you had a teaching certificate.  I don’t.  Well, not yet anyway.  It’s in the works, as of a month ago.

Since wrapping up my parents’ estate, I have definitely considered looking for work.  I have spent some time on job boards looking for positions.  I have been trying to figure out which direction to take – should I go back to school?  buy a bunch of books and self-study something?  etc. etc.  To be honest, it was terrifying.  I have found a few things that looked promising, but I would talk myself out of applying.  When I thought through how it would impact my family, the timing didn’t seem right.  And 11 years is a long time to not work, even though it seems like it has only been 3 or 4 years since I left my last employer.  I know my technical skills are rusty.  As much as I loved my last job and work, one of the deciding factors in leaving (and not seriously considering returning) was the distance from home – a good 45 minutes, if I was lucky.  The uncertainty of what to do with myself has been gnawing at me.  I’ve watched many of my ‘mom’ friends return to the work force with the same questions and hesitations.  I was starting to feel like the last ‘housewife’ at home.

The disruption to our family balance has worried me too.  I have been the one that has been able to travel for gymnastics or go on a college visit … or a field trip … or a doctor’s visit.  The flexibility is still needed and desired.  I had thought a part-time position was the only solution – but teaching in a school district so that my days off are identical to my kids is even better, even though it is a full-time position during the school year.  Some days of the week I can get home before the other kids.  This is still important to me.

The time at home has gone by very fast.  I still feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day.  But I can tell, during the past year, that things are easing up slightly.  Having Sarah driving now and basically managing her life like the young adult she is has really changed the dynamics around here.  We now have 3 drivers – and a 4th one in the works as Nathan passed his permit test earlier this week.  This makes a big difference since instead of driving 3 kids around, I only have 2 to worry about.  And now we have almost 3 drivers to drive those 2 kids.  The kids are going to have to do more around the house.  We are all going to have to work together.

My weight maintenance and exercise options were a huge factor to consider as well.  They, honestly, were a big part of my concerns and thoughts – which I guess says a lot about how important it remains to me.  This is not worth it if I let my health back-slide.  I have to have a plan immediately.  One thing I’ll have to give up is my morning training session with the trainers I have really grown to like.  But, there is a solution – they have evening sessions as well.  I hope I have the energy to go.  Going early in the morning won’t be an option, unfortunately, because the classes end right when I would need to be at school.  I will make this work.  I have the gymnastics schedule for the fall already and I will be driving by my gym on the way to and from practice 4 days a week (and she is there for 3.5 hours at a time so that leaves plenty of time to get my workout done).  I may not be half marathon training any time soon, but I will keep up my fitness level.   I will plan my meals so I don’t eat junk during the day and I will get the family involved in meal planning and prep.  My older daughter can use her car to get groceries.  The Optifast meal replacements will actually be a really good solution for at-school meals too.  There are advantages to not being home and around my pantry all day.    There are lots of solutions…

As I’ve said many times before on this blog, if this weight loss journey has done nothing else, it has changed how I feel about taking some chances in life and really getting out of my comfort zone.  From the moment this opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t help feeling both scared but also pretty amazed that it felt so right.  I would say that 90% of my ‘cup’ is full – I have a very good life.  I will admit, however, that although a career doesn’t define me, I am the type of person that misses the technical challenge, the boost of being recognized outside the home (I’m not recognized much in the home), and the interaction with others.   When I mention to people what I was considering, they all could see that too –  this is a good fit for me at this time in my life.  I have a good mix of excitement, confidence, fear, and worry all rolled up together.  There are lots of people that believe I can do this, so I’m gonna run with that.  This is something that I can’t not try.  I’ll fill in some details later.  It’s a good thing.



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