Grading on a Curve

Posted on | November 19, 2018 | 1 Comment

I’ve sat down at my keyboard a few times over the past few weeks, feeling that strange plastic push back from the keys. I’ve started and stopped and nearly given up on trying to find time to dust off this space and see what remains in the back of my mind… what words still linger there in need of escape.

It’s been a strange year. Not a bad year, just a curious one. I’ve changed jobs, I’m pregnant again… yep… you read that right, and I feel like I’m pulled in at least five different directions on every single day.¬†Was I a good mom today? How’s my grade as “wife”? Did I get my volunteer hours in at J’s school? Have I met my billable requirement at work? Seems like everyone has a different grade sheet for me, a different measure of how I’m doing at life. Report cards with often indiscernible requirements… Needs Improvement for wifedom based on lack of communication and inability to find a minute to share with my husband; Meets Expectations for motherhood, but doesn’t quite hit that Outstanding that lingers at the margin. How’s my cooking? Did I write a good brief? Can anyone tell me if I remembered to unplug the flat iron I used on my hair this morning? Did I tithe to the church? How’s my charitable giving this year? How much time did I spend singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider to C and was it more or less than the time I spent reading with J?

I feel like I sit down each week and pour through these report cards I’ve made for myself, all these self-imposed regulations of things I should be doing and people I should be paying more attention to. Each week is a shrug and sigh of “well I did this right, but screwed that up.” It’s a balancing act… a tedious and terrifying balancing act that could topple over at any minute and leave me firmly rooted in the dreaded “U” for Unsatisfactory realm.

If I’m being honest, I feel unsatisfactory a lot of the time. There’s always so much to do. There’s always so much more to give. There’s always too little time. I’ve been letting it all pile up on my shoulders until I’m literally drowning in the worry of it. Am I screwing up my kids? Does my husband regret marrying me? Is my house going to be taped up and labeled “CONDEMNED” when I get home for the crazy overflow of dust and toys and dirty laundry?

I went to lunch with a new friend last week, and she said something that has stuck with me. She said a former Governor of North Carolina never told people they had bad ideas. He never made people feel inferior or stupid for offering up a suggestion, instead he told them “I like where your head is” or “That’s a great first step.”

So I think I’ll try to incorporate that into my weekly report cards. Was my head in the right place? How about my heart? Was it a great first step? And if the answer to those three questions is yes, then I’ll give myself a “Satisfactory” and postpone my quest for “Outstanding” for another week when maybe the laundry isn’t so overwhelming or there isn’t sport practice three nights out of the week. If the answer to any of those questions is no, then I should work on voicing my apologies and admitting my need for improvement. Because if nothing else, the answer to those particular questions should be a resounding “yes,” right?

It’s hard right now, in the trenches. Things feel overwhelming. But I think my head is in the right place. And I know my heart is. And maybe, just maybe, putting this here is a great first step.


One Response to “Grading on a Curve”

  1. Ruthie
    November 19th, 2018 @ 5:44 pm

    Congrats on your pregnancy! And a reminder that keeping life on the fairway when you are playing a dozen balls at once is enough. You’re enough. <3

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