Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Ideal Life

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life.  Read more slices or add you own here.

This week I discovered a new website from Jen Vincent from Teach Mentor Texts, called Story Exploratory.  This website is a place to "find out how to discover the story inside of you!"

In one of the posts Jen reflects on her ideal life and finished this statement:  My life is ideal when...  She states, "I found that my life is most ideal when I'm spending time with my family, when I'm reading, when I'm writing, and when I'm taking care of myself by exercising, eating healthy, and spending time with my friends." 

She concluded that taking care of herself and her family was the most important part of her ideal life, but realized that she was spending a lot of time working. I know she has small children, and I am sure at many times, she feels that "mother guilt" that we feel when we do not always put our families first. She knew she had to make some changes to live that ideal life.

As I was reading this, I realized how my "ideal life" has changed. I didn't have to make changes; the changes were made for me.

I gave up my first career to stay at home with my two children. At that time, my ideal life was when I let the dirty dishes sit because I was playing outside or watching Barnie, when I read bedtime stories, when I got goodnight kisses, when I made homemade chocolate chip cookies and when we played in the wading pool in the backyard.  

That was my ideal life, and I do not regret one single day of staying home with them.

Now, my two children are almost adults, and I find that I have more time to put into my career. I will admit that when I first read Jen's post, I felt that guilt resurface.  I asked myself, Am I putting too much time into my career? Am I wrong for doing this? Am I neglecting myself and my family?

But now I realize the dynamics of my ideal life has changed. My family has different needs.  I have time to do some things just for me.

Now it is my TURN...which happens to be my one little word for 2015. I have several professional goals that I want to achieve, and at my age, I know I do not have as many years as most teachers in which to accomplish those goals.

I think our ideal life changes as our life takes TURNS.  Guilt should not be a product of those changes.

Right now, on this very day, my ideal life is when I'm cooking meals and cherishing the time to eat together, when I am handing out a couple of dollars here and there, when I'm doing laundry, when I am listening to their problems, and when I am going to bed knowing they are both safe at home.  

But it is also when I'm sharing my reading life with my students, when I'm writing my story, when I'm attending PD to become a better teacher, and when I'm setting and trying to achieve my own professional goals.

My ideal life may be different tomorrow or next year, but for right now, guilt is not a part of my today.


  1. Good for you! Your life parallels mine a bit, although I'm older & now retired, Leigh Anne. I did stay home with my kids, taught early in marriage, then stayed home, returned to work when they were in middle & high school. I've been happy with all the decisions, & love what you said, know you are loving your teaching & doing so many new things because of it--your TURN!

  2. I really enjoyed your SOL. I like how you emphasized the word turn. The word works in so many ways.

  3. Ohmigosh, I love this. I have chills. Thank you for sharing your writing and your story! First of all, to have inspired you to think about this and to write just fills my heart. But after that, your words made me think. You are right, our ideal life does change. We have to ebb and and flow just as our life does. I think you've noticed how your life changed and how you have stretched with it. For me, I was pulled into different directions and I had lost sight of how to prioritize what I truly needed in my life to thrive. I needed to get closer to my ideal life. My youngest son is five now and in the last year or two I've had to get used to the fact that neither of my boys needs me the way they did when they were babies. It was such a different kind of life as a mom. Of course they still need me but it looks sooooo different now. I can see how then it was my turn to dote on them and give all my attention to them but also my turn to thrive on watching all their baby firsts. And now it's my turn to care for them in a different way. I listen to them tell me about their day, I ask them about what they are drawing or writing or making, I taxi them around. But I do also have more space for me. Oh, now you have me thinking! Isn't it interesting that now that they can really pay attention to the life we live - how we take are of ourselves and what we do with our lives - that we actually get a turn to have a little more ability to do just that? I'm writing so much more now and they get to see that. Your kids get a turn to see how you live and do what you need to do for yourself along with them. How cool is that? This is getting entirely too long...but thank you again!

  4. that is such a great insight to have, that one's ideal life changes as one's life changes. Not only is there no "one size fits all" ideal, there's no "one size fits all" for oneself through your own life. I wish you luck in your pursuit of your own desires, and I think your kids will learn that you are your own person as well as their mom, and that will be good for them, too.

  5. Great insight here! I think it's interesting that as moms we all feel guilt, no matter what stage of mothering we're in. Yours are almost grown, mine are just tinkering over the jr high and a jr in h.s. Some moms here may have toddlers or preschoolers at home. I like to think that I can teach my sons more by taking time for me and what fuels my personal achievements. We are moms, hear us roar!

  6. Your reflection echoed some of the thinking I've also been doing since becoming an empty nester this past summer. While my time can be dedicated to new or renewed pursuits, I want to be sure I strike a balance, but that balance definitely looks different now. I appreciated reading your thinking about this shift as our parenting responsibilities change. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  7. It really is about stage of life and knowing where you are and appreciating it! A wise professor once told me a career is a very long thing… remember to make choices for now not 30 years from now. Thank you for sharing -- I am in the throws of adolescence so the guilt is always present!!