Mar 06

Guilt? or is it shame?

I will do a lot of things as a teacher. Wear a tutu, worry about my kids, laugh when a Kindergartener throws up on the carpet, hold my breath and antibac my face, arms and hands when the “sneeze pocket” fails and I get hosed with … whatever. I will eat school lunches, use the teacher voice, sing songs, read books, do reports, miss my OWN kid’s first day of school and holiday parties.

I draw the line at Teacher Night at the local chain food restaurant.

Today was the first day anyone gave me a hard time about it. It started with a teacher grumbling about “some people haven’t done it at all” over lunch. (Same teacher who has her own axe to grind with me and can’t seem to stop running her mouth about me anyway, so her opinion isn’t high on the “matters to me” list, but it’s one more annoyance for sure.) Then the (sometimes scary) secretary noticed I wasn’t on the list. I’m like “uh yeah, I’m parenting my child.” Then the principal was like “uh yeah, we’re all parents” (said nicely)  and I’m all “uh yeah, and I have a kid who is in bed by 615 some nights.”

There’s so much here. I’m not sure where reason ends and excuse begins.

I’m picking Alex over fake slinging food at a restaurant I actually loathe.

I have an issue with encouraging families to take their kids to a fast food place when we spend the rest of the time encouraging healthy habits. Hoops for Heart anyone? Just got done taking THOSE donations. HELLO?

I don’t see how it encourages students and families to respect teachers if we are out working fast food. I’m not knocking a fast food job, except for where I say I think it’s safe to assume no one is aspiring to sling a burger as a career. “Hey kids, stay off drugs and eat your wheaties and one day you too can leave your kid with a sitter to come make people eat food that will kill them sooner so we can have some petty cash to buy … I don’t even know WHAT with.”

Now it would be fabulous if I could just have an opinion, make a choice and be done with it. But oh no. I’ve had that nasty tight throat all evening. It’s only getting worse. That “oh God, I’m going to get caught, I’ve done something wrong” feeling. The “I chose my kid over my work oh shit” feeling. The “What do I need to be doing to take the heat off myself and get people to forget all about it” feeling. Combined with the “Fuck this, this is bullshit and I don’t want any part of it, for some pretty freaking GOOD reasons” feeling.

Mostly the overwhelming, “Rule Number One: Must… not… rock… boat… must… not… rock… boat” … this rule has been broken, and my anxiety is off the chart and my throat is tight and my fight or flight wants to kick in, my breath is tight and it’s all pretty much crazy making.

Craziest of all is that in the grand scheme – this so! does! not! matter! But in my brain tonight, I’m running in circles trying to figure out WHY this has triggered the crazy to such a degree.

Like I titled – guilt? shame? I can’t even get it named. I made a choice and I’m scared there might be consequences? I actively broke the social rules of my work environment and it might bite me in the butt? Any of that could be it.

I’m livin’ on some weird edge of fear and I’m ready to get off.

(ed: 24 hours later, I do want to say that my principal is one of the best supports I could ever hope for in this whole working parent thing. She’s done it herself and she’s a good mentor for me on finding the balance between worky guilt and mommy guilt. Today there wasn’t any ick factor. This whole issue is just so loaded for me – something I actually don’t at all agree with, combined with my need to be with Alex, but then thrown off because I’m bucking the culture I work in by NOT jumping on board. It’s all very weird to me.)




  1. Rachel says:

    You make some awesome points. It’s insane you’ve been called out for NOT participating in this insane idea. Kudos for you for standing up for you and your kid and health, when childhood obseity is at an all time high (adult too). Everyone knows McD’s is the Anti-Christ, yet suddenly it’s ok in the name of school fundraising? Sounds like you participate in many other things at school, it’s ok to take a day off. (Which is why I refuse to participate in Adoption Recruitment Day at the K and at the Zoo. do I feel like an Asshole? Yah, but then I remember all the other stuff I do, work-wise. And I also remember that in a career where the average life span of a social worker is only 2 years, I’ve lasted over 10. ) It’s all about finding balance. Don’t be afraid to find yours.

  2. Bottom line? You cannot do it all, and no one should. And it’s no one else’s damned business. Let Nosy McSnottipants eat all that fast food!

  3. VDog says:

    It’s really okay to stand up for what you believe in. Deep breath.

    If you get anymore gruff, I’d state your case about the moral reasons why you cannot participate and if they don’t shut up, volunteer to do something else later in the year or over the summer that is low on everyone’s want-to-do list.

    Congratulations on successfully dealing with work bullshit. XOXO

  4. Al_Pal says:

    What V said. ;p
    Deep breaths!!

  5. mamikaze says:

    Good for you! Tell the staff to shove it. There are plenty of other ways to support the PTA. I refused to do those types of fundraisers when I was PTA board member. It’s a pithy way to earn a few bucks while encouraging childhood obesity. Stepping down off soap box. Hug Alex for me.

  6. K. C. says:

    Put aside the fact that it’s a stupid fundraiser. NO ONE can do it all. And if people say they can, they’re big, dumb liars. Hold your head high, Dawn.