Perspective vs. Comparison
My heart is heavy.
I am so thankful that many amazing educators around the world have been writing helpful blog posts with many resources that we can all use in this time of uncertainty while we are expected to continue students’ learning at home. And although these posts are invaluable, it’s not one I am going to write. Why? It’s not because I don’t care about kids or students, it’s simply because I’m just not there, and that’s okay. I’ve had a lot on my mind and a lot to process, and I’m going to start there.
The unknown is a scary place. Not having control is something that I have a really hard time with. I am not a go-with-the-flow type girl. So the fact that we are literally living in the unknown and that things change daily, hourly, or minute by minute, I’ve found myself to be in a darker place. Would anyone know it? Probably not. I am saving face for my own kids and for my students, but I’d be lying if I said I was doing fine.
I am a mother of four young boys, who are all school aged. My oldest is in grade 4, my second is in grade 2, and my twins are in kindergarten. The energy that they have on a daily basis far surpasses anything you could probably ever imaged. The play fighting, the wrestling, the arguing and shouting over one another is constant, but the love shared makes it all worth it. It is our life.
I am also a full time grade 1 teacher, so my students at school are in and around the same age as my own kids. That in and of itself is a challenge. I love my job, would do anything for those I serve, and feel as though I excel in this career. It is my passion, and one of my greatest purposes in life… and the other night, I turned to my husband as I cried and whispered “I feel like I am losing my purpose. The one thing I am super good at is being taken away from me indefinitely”. Call it extreme, call it dramatic, but those feelings were exactly what I felt in that moment, and that is HARD.
I was processing so much. First, here in Manitoba, schools are still open this week, and classes are suspended as of next week. This means that I am still in the classroom teaching this week, and although my number of students is very low every day, I continue to send my own boys to their school because I don’t have another choice. That is hard.
Then I think ahead and try to figure out how I am going to continue to come into work while classes are suspended starting next week in order to ensure that learning continues at home for my students AND simultaneously home schooling my own children, who would possibly have to be watched by a mixture of grand-parents during the day. Thankfully today, we found out that we will be able to work from home should we choose to do so, so that eliminates the stress of having to rely on grand-parents, who I don’t believe should be placed in this position of caring for children in the first place. But to be honest, I am still very scared of what my situation will look like every day while I am a mother and teacher to my kids, while also supporting my 19 students virtually. The biggest scare is being at home every single day with my four kids (kudos to stay at home parents!!) I know it will all be okay, and I will figure out this new routine once I get thrown into it, but the thought of that unknown is hard. Super hard.
There is also the whole aspect of things changing faster than we can predict. I see things happening around the world. How quickly numbers are rising. How some provinces have declared a state of emergency. How some places have closed their school indefinitely.
I am not interested in hearing how I need to find the positive and how I should stop complaining because others have it worse than me.
I can, have, and will continue to find the positive. But that doesn’t take away the negatives, nor does it take away the very real feelings I experience.
I saw this quote the other day and it rubbed me the wrong way.
If you are using this quote to help change your perspective, then I have no problem with it.
For me, though, this quote implies that we have it better than our grandparents did, and we therefore shouldn’t complain about the hard and very real things that are happening in our lives. “Suck it up” are the words that resonate inside my head. And THAT is not okay.
My reality is hard on me, and I am sure yours is hard too. There’s no need to compare them to compete and try to dismiss anyone’s feelings. There is a HUGE difference between perspective and comparison.
If you are not okay right now, know that you are not alone. We will get through this, but as we try to navigate never seen before waters, remember to be gentle with yourself. Acknowledging that this is hard doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re human.
Check on your friends and family. They might be saving face, just like I am. And, I am begging you, please don’t compare… you risk downplaying someone’s very real struggles.
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