You Don’t Want To Hear From Me Today

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Ceridwen

Today, it is very true. You don’t want to hear from me. I am not good today. I am tired, I am feeling a little stressed, I am worried. I am clearly not at my best. But today is a chance to look in on someone who has not done what is necessary to be at their best. Today I can tell you what it is like to have neglected balance.

My principal, Carolyn Cameron, has been on me for some time to be cognizant of what I need to maintain the balance that will keep me effective at my job, and in my life. I coach basketball at a small local University, often get home after midnight from practice, and struggle to get to bed before 1 or even 2 in the morning. During basketball season we practice and/or play 6 days a week. I have a one year old daughter who has, at times, found 3:30am a great time to get up and play. I find it hard to find time for her and for my wife when I get busy, and the guilt can be tough. I rarely exercise as I am often tired or unwilling to make the effort. Sometimes the lack of sleep, the strain of living in two worlds, and the difficulty with feeling like a good father/husband wear me out.

Busy has always been my style. I rarely say no to an opportunity, I am always looking for more challenges and I look at sleep, and even eating regularly, as “hopes” not “musts”. I have paid for it. I get sick more than most people, I get run down and ineffective for short stretches and I can neglect important parts of my life more than I should. I have never had the impetus to make lasting changes because it has never caused me too much grief. I still believe I am good at my job, I believe I am able to make time for the ones I love, and the only one that suffers is me. I always thought Carolyn was right, but I also thought it would never really catch up with me.

This week, it has caught up with me, and because of that I have learned the most important lesson about balance I believe I ever will learn:

If you aren’t in balance, you never know when it will affect you, but eventually it will affect you when you can least afford it.

We are only two days from the beginning of Innovation Week 2, tomorrow I am presenting to our school’s parent community about our plans for technology, my daughter currently has chicken pox (and is miserable), and our school is winding down the year and enjoying all the usual fun that goes with that (PC enough for you?). This is the time I NEED to be at my best. This is the time balance is crucial. I guess I am lucky to have gotten by for this long without it really biting me in the behind, but I sure hope this lesson will stick with me. It’s time for me to make changes, well actually its long overdue.

How do you ensure balance in your life as an educator? As your job, or family situation changed, how did you make the appropriate adjustments? Have you had similar experiences with balance? I would love to hear some feedback, if not for my learning, to know there are others out there who have dealt with this as well. Now… off to bed!

9 thoughts on “You Don’t Want To Hear From Me Today

  1. Jesse, balance is something that I struggle with ALL THE TIME! My goal in life is to be as balanced as possible, but unfortunately life gets in the way of that sometimes. There will always be a new opportunity, or someone else demanding of our time. All we can do is our best, and learn to say NO to some things. It’s ok to say NO! Prioritize what is truly important, and let ourselves understand that we can’t do it all.

    Best of luck finding the best balance for you and your family!

    • Michelle,

      Thanks for your comments, I am so glad to have so many parents in my PLN that I can get feedback from, who have been there before.

      We’ll talk soon


  2. I have been there, and my advice may not be what you want to hear. I am only speaking from experience and hope I don’t come across as negative or accusatory in any way.
    It is impossible to run yourself at that pace and not lose something and it would be better for you to choose what it is will be “lost” or it gets chosen for you. I believe if we make the choice it truly isn’t a loss anyway. I used to along with teaching, coach middle school football and basketball and then go right into high school baseball in the spring to the American Legion summer season (60-70 games in 4 months and almost every weekend). I was not around much for 4 months. I’m married with a 6 and 14yr old. I had been losing time with them, the oldest especially when he was little. It came to the point where I had to choose. I could’ve kept that up and continued to miss out on family or cut back. What had kept me from cutting back in the past was I was afraid I would miss it (specifically coaching high school baseball). Believe me I understand enjoying that competition in the moment no matter the stress and conflict it may create outside the moment. I compromised: no middle school basketball and no summer baseball. Did I miss it, only a very little. I’m not saying quit coaching, but something has to go.
    I know this is long, sorry. My point is you get one chance at the really important things, husband and dad. From experience, you don’t want to realize too late that the kids have suddenly grown up.
    Take care.

    • Todd,

      Thanks for taking the time to respond and for the heartfelt and solid advice. I am already making plans to eliminate things in my schedule and coaching will not be something I do much longer. Of all the things I do, spending time with my wife and daughter are my favourite and I look forward to being able to spend more time with them both soon.

      Thanks again, means a lot


  3. Jim,
    Balance is a matter of priorities and I, like you, have difficulty remembering my priorities. I tell the teachers I work with that family comes first but it rarely does for me. As I reflect on a year filled with things I couldn’t say no to (coaching, yearbook advisor, 8th grade advisor, etc.), I have come to the realization that saying no to those things means that I am saying yes to my family and myself. Here’s to you and I finding balance in our lives.

    • Jay,

      Thanks, it does help knowing others are in the same boat. I like the idea of saying no to something is saying yes to time with my family. I’ll check in on you, you do the same for me!


  4. Others who know you have left good advice, so I won’t presume to add to it. I simply want to applaud your courage and integrity in sharing your struggle. Your story and your willingness to share it shows that one of your priorities is serving others. Thank you.

    • Scott,

      You are too kind. I often write posts to work out something I am struggling with, so it is often a very selfish endeavour. I share because I believe even in struggles, our experiences all have something to offer someone else. That was taught to me by far smarter people haha.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I do appreciate it


  5. Jesse, I have been thinking about this post all week. I just came back to offer my two cents today and see that many have already offered some great advice. Like everyone, I have struggled with finding the balance in life. Spending time with your kids is irreplaceable, truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. In order to do that, we have to say no to some things. Like you, I have a bit of a competitive nature, so it was hard initially to say no to things. I always worried about missing opportunities and getting left behind. Interestingly, since I have started saying no, I am more productive. I am focusing on what’s important both at home and at work. The best part is now that my kids are a bit older and more independent I am finding time to take care of myself as well (getting out and exercising more) – an important part of the equation. I’m confident that you will find the balance you need. Have a great summer buddy!

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