My Busy, Busy Life: Slowing Down and Stressing Less

I love summer and everything about it. I love being able to go swimming at the pool any day we want to. I love having the option to wear my jammies all day long if I want. I love not having to hurry anywhere and the fact that we do not have to have any sort of agenda for the day. I also love being able to walk out my classroom door and know that I do not have to step back inside it until two months later.

busy stress school
A lazy day is always good for letting your body and mind relax and refresh.

But those two months seem to fly by, and I do not even notice until it is almost too late. As I write this, I am thinking about how it was just June and we had so many days of fun and relaxation ahead of us. Where did the time go? Now it is August and I have already been working in my classroom getting everything ready for school to start for more hours than I am willing to admit.

The depression of summer being practically over, the stress of trying to make sure I get everything done and ready on time, and the anxiety of getting back to our daily school schedule and routine has definitely set in.

Even though I know what is coming and even though I have had plenty of time to prepare myself, every year at this time I start to lose sleep because my brain is constantly keeping tabs on my school “To-Do” lists.

People often say that they would love to be a teacher and have their summers off. I do love that aspect of my job very much. For me, I need that time and I actually think sometimes my body and brain crave it. During the school year, there are so many things going on, so much on our family calendar, and less and less time to fit it all in. That drives me crazy and right now just thinking about it is giving me some anxiety!

I have no idea why, but the pressure of having deadlines and a much faster paced week stresses me out. I’ve always been a person that has stayed busy. In high school, I played sports, worked part-time on evenings and weekends, and managed to somehow squeeze in time to be on the honor roll every single semester. Now add in having a four-year-old, three crazy dogs, and a busy softball-playing husband who also teaches, and you have my idea of a tornado happening daily.

Now I do not want you to think that I do not love my job, my daughter, or my husband. In fact, all of those things are my passions, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without all of them in my life.

It is just that sometimes I feel like as mothers, we are asked to carry so much on our shoulders, some of which we gladly do. But at the same time, we are only able to carry so much.

school stress busy
Sometimes you have to slow things down with a little adult time, like a date night with your husband.

I am so guilty of doing things for those around me to make it easier on them, which then in turn makes things harder for me. When things get hard, that is when I get stressed out. I essentially bring it upon myself, and I think that is the case for a lot of women. It is a balancing act that I have not yet mastered, but I so deeply want to do just that.

Now I know in my brain that no one can master the art of being a mother, wife, and teacher all at one time. But being the busy person I have always been, I try and try and exhaust myself in the process. When that happens, I’m not a nice mom, wife, or teacher. Just ask my teammates at school and they will attest that no one wants to be around me when the stress of trying to do it all hits! Last year they gave me a kick in the pants (which I absolutely needed) about it and called my crabby behavior to my attention. I felt so utterly awful about it and horrible that I let myself get to that shameful point. I continue to be deeply upset with myself, even though it happened months and months ago!

So as our summer winds down, I am making a promise to myself that this year as we get closer and closer to the start of school, I will not put so much pressure on myself to do everything and say yes to everything that is asked of me.

I will just be who I want to be. I will take a deep breath when I need to and, most importantly, ASK FOR HELP when I feel overwhelmed!

stress school busy
When things get overwhelming, stop, breathe, and let it go. Or just take a silly selfie of yourself to lighten your mood!

If I can do those things and put my sanity and myself first, then I can be the mother, wife, and teacher that I want to be. I do not think I will ever meet the expectations and standards that I put on myself, but I am also not going to wear myself out and make myself crazy trying to achieve the impossible.

I hope that you also enjoy the last few days of your relaxing summer and take some time for yourself. Stop trying to be the end-all be-all for everyone around you. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be Super Woman or perfect.

Let’s all just be ourselves and help make the world be a much more relaxing place for our children, our families, and most of all, ourselves.


Melissa was born and raised right here in Iowa. Although she grew up in southwest Iowa (about as close to Missouri and Nebraska as you can get!), she has called eastern Iowa home for 15 years. She and her husband Eric live in North Liberty, along with their 4 year-old daughter Kennedy. Melissa attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her BA in Early Childhood Special Education and her MAE in K-6 Learning Disabilities. She currently teaches kindergarten for the Clear Creek Amana School District, where she has taught for 14 years. In her spare time, Melissa loves to be outside playing or working on projects in their yard, spending time with family and friends, and baking up goodies for her family. She also enjoys taking walks with their two dogs, plump beagle Lenny and shy dachshund-beagle mix Cooper. Life as a full-time working mommy keeps her very busy, but Melissa wouldn't have it any other way!


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