Friday, September 12, 2014

I Need A Duplicator

Finishing up my first week of teaching was exhilarating... and exhausting. I am teaching two sections of U.S. History (6-8 graders) and two sections of AP U.S. History (9-12 graders) for Memoria Press. I have felt like I am going to fall over after every class, but today, one of my younger students typed in the combos, "you're a great teacher!" and suddenly, the skies were the brightest blue, like Grace's eyes.

It's amusing to be called Mrs. Baldwin, and to wear the hat of "teacher" when I am also "student" at Holy Apostles, "editor-in-chief" at Ignitum Today, and "writer" here and elsewhere, and "chief of operations" at Chez Baldwin.

Frankly, I'm exhausted. I need a duplicator.

Calvin, you understand me.

And before I go off to do 20,000 loads of laundry, I wanted to point y'all to Haley Stewart's blog post today: "Instagram Envy, Being Authentic on the Internet, and When It’s Time to Break Up with a Blog" because it is worth the read.

These days, I feel like I am barely holding it together. Will is at the hospital more than he is at home (sleep time included), and I am at home, taking care of Grace with the help of our part-time babysitter (while I teach online); and with all my responsibilities plus all my pregnancy nausea, I just feel like I need a break. But I often do not write about that, because writing about how damn tired I am, and how I threw up again this morning even though I hadn't even eaten breakfast yet doesn't appeal to me.

My question, dear Readers, is that dishonest? Am I cultivating a picture of bliss and happiness? A picture of the Easy Life? I think so many people are attracted to Grace Patton's blog precisely because she is so real. She talks about the bad parts and the good parts, and she posts so many cute pictures it is unreal.

I especially appreciate her honesty about residency, and it is with a slow nod that I truly understand her words. I was talking to Will about that last night. Since he had been working ridiculous hours all week, he said he would come home early last night (aka right after his shift ended) and would chart in the morning. Then, 20 minutes till the end of his shift, he texted to say his last patient was going to take him another two hours. Commence my super sad/bad mood, lifted only by my sweetest sister-in-law, who called me and talked to me for an hour.

I won the lottery!
Will asked me, Is residency really that bad? For us, it is only three years. So, in many respects, no. And once intern year is over, I hear magical unicorns prance around his schedule. But yes, it really is that bad -- for me. And I was already warned about this. When Will is at work, he doesn't think about me or Grace or eating: he is focused on his patients, and getting it right, and charting, etc. But sue me for being the wife at home, really missing her husband, wanting to eat one meal a day with him, and watch him play with our baby, or go on a walk. Sue me. He has one day off a week, and he usually spends half of it at the hospital or studying.

When you love your spouse, that should be hard. You should be happy they are happy in their respective line of work, and thriving, but a tiny part of you can't help but hate the sacrifices when they're in your face. Overall, we're doing fine. I'm glad I can work from home and I'm thrilled we found such a nice babysitter for Grace. I'm happy Will loves his job and his program. But it's still hard - and that's okay too. Life can be rosy and ridiculously difficult at the same time.

So, how do you seek to be genuine in your online shares and conversations? Or are you purposely crafting your image? Or has this never crossed your mind? Let me know - I'll be sitting in a cardboard box, pretending there's more of me to finish putting the laundry away.


  1. Julie!! How did I miss that you are expecting!!! Congratulations! I think you do a great job and for different people sharing authentically will look different, more gritty or more prim and perfect, because different people need and are helped by sharing and dwelling on different thing!

  2. I just let my crazy all hang out. Well, I can't do that on Facebook any longer, because of Ralph's job, but I haven't stopped doing it in person :) Little R, to his credit, has just beaten out any last remnants of staging our lives. I have to admit feeling slightly validated over the course of my friends' Christmas letters in recent years. We had Little R a few years before many of our friends had children, and so in those early years, our mailbox was full of elaborately designed Christmas letters that detailed the 95 vacations that our friends' had taken that year and the extensive renovations they had done on their houses. We still wouldn't know a vacation if it smacked us in the face, and at the time we both worked 100+ hours a week, living with a temperamental baby in a NOLA shotgun house. I wasn't so much envious as bewildered at how anyone could live the lives they lived. Well, of course they were editing out quite a lot, mostly not to bum everyone else out, whereas I was entirely unable to hide the fact that my life was nuts. And sure enough, as they had children, that first Christmas card (not letter) had a picture of the baby and not a whole lot else, because what else is there that first year but the baby? Anyway, schadenfreude, no - I love my friends - but validation of my own crazy life - YES!

    1. Meg, you seriously light up my day with every comment! This year I'll write in the Christmas card, "...really missing NOLA up here in PA. Except for hurricane season. And people telling me to Put A Hat On That Baby!"

  3. Ugh, yeah, I have a hard time discerning how much to share, a) bc I feel like I'm complaining, and b) I'm a natural pessimist, so I need to do things to actively combat that, not encourage it. Yet...I like to be honest, so sometimes I have to briefly talk about what's hard. Also, I can't believe how much you're doing right now...! Prayers!

    1. I know Nicole... me too. How/ why do I do this to myself?!