Yoga Pants

In Bossypants, Tina Fey writes that after she turned 40, she had to take her pants off as soon as she got home from work, but before 40, she didn’t have to do that. It’s a fun anecdote that represents her humor well.

And it’s so true! I’m older than 40, by a decade, but I relate to this absolutely. I can’t get out of my work slacks and into my cozy yoga pants fast enough. I never do yoga, but what’s your point? Add to it the four Advil I have to take for my aching back, and the Starburst Reds I have to eat just to keep my energy up until dinner time, and I feel fully middle aged.

Our division of labor in the Odie household is simple: As “Mom,” I do the typical mom stuff. The kids’ social calendars, doctor and dentist appointments, and clothes shopping. The last one is my personal albatross. I hate shopping and have never been into fashion. But I do know what sizes girls and young women wear, and hubby wouldn’t have a clue. He probably thinks I’m a size 8, God bless him.

I manage the clothes, he washes them. We share the folding with the kids. I meal plan and cook dinner, he grocery shops and washes dishes. He drives the kids to school, I pick them up. I have therapy on Mondays, he has it on Tuesdays. The cats make sure we both feed them. He kills the ants that invade the house, I track them down outside and set traps. During distance learning, I grew a vegetable garden, but it’s been too hot and dry this summer to try to grow anything.

I joke with my students at the end of the day that I have to get home to my OTHER full-time job. But it isn’t really a joke. I think that parenting gets easier once the kids are in the lower elementary school grades, then gets harder again when they’re in middle school. Babies and toddlers need constant supervision and care, but they get independent around second grade: dress themselves, brush their teeth, bathe, put themselves to bed. Middle school comes along and suddenly they need showers far more often and they seem to be the only ones who can’t smell the adolescence. So I’m back to harassing them into the shower, even though I no longer have to wash hair or wipe butts.

And the second I get home, I take off my pants.

Posted in Essays/Commentary | 2 Comments

Take That, “Future Me”

I feel incredible. I must remember this feeling.

It’s 6 pm on the night of my grading deadline. My grades are due in 6 hours, and I am finished. Not only am I finished, they are up to date and accurate.

As a high school English teacher, I excel at content knowledge and creating meaningful assignments. I also strike an excellent balance of intimidating, inspiring, and hilarious.

Giving timely feedback and returning graded work? I’m shit. I’ve always been shit.

Last year I was overwhelmed by the social/emotional needs of my students. I erroneously believed I had to meet all of their needs and take it easy on them. But I couldn’t and I didn’t. My AP test scores were appalling. I took it so “easy” on them that while we had excellent rapport and loads of fun, I didn’t challenge them adequately. I have to do the things I have control over. I can teach writing. I can teach reading. I can show Saturday Night Live sketches and teach them about satire.

And I can grade papers.

For 23 years I’ve let stacks accumulate until the work is so daunting, I have had to pick and choose what to grade and what to estimate. I’ve felt insecure about my grades, so I’ve let counselors, students, and parents talk me into changing them.

Today, that ends! I have earned this new episode of House of the Dragon I’m about to watch. Earned it and then some. As of tomorrow, I have 170 revised essays to read and score, but that’s a problem for Future Me. I used to treat Future Me like absolute garbage — as if I had a personal vendetta against that bitch and her crepey neck skin.

This year, my teaching goal is current, accurate grades. When it comes down to brass tacks, students (mostly) only care about the grade, not the learning. I could spend another 23 years stomping my aching feet over my philosophical objections to the emphasis on grades, or I can drink this margarita and watch dragons.

Dracarys, amigos.

Posted in Essays/Commentary | Leave a comment