Where’s the Joy?

Yesterday I was walking out of a school, high on the fumes of learning (a.k.a. freshly sharpened pencils and glue) and feeling very productive.  I stowed my two overflowing bags (because any teacher worth her salt can’t leave the classroom without a minimum of three projects) in the back of the car when I heard it.

I heard the laughter of children running around in the beautiful fall sunshine.  I stopped to watch two third graders run around the field next to their school attempting to climb a tree.  They were laughing and smiling and couldn’t have a care in the world other getting up that tree.  And I thought to myself,

“This is bullshit.”

Seriously.  Are you surprised?

In typical MeMonster (phrase coined by my internet BFF, the lovely Dr. Branstetter) fashion, those smiling, laughing faces made me think of myself.  They spent an entire day of school working and learning and trying and attending.  And now they get to fill their time with tree climbing, coloring, hanging with friends and stories before bedtime.  I spent an entire day of school working and learning and trying and attending.  And now I get to drive home, do a few loads of laundry, make dinner, write some lesson plans and get my read on because holy-cripes my professional book club meets next week and I haven’t even broken the binding on that puppy!

Where is the joy I ask you?

(And if you tell me that you find joy in writing lesson plans, I will cut you.)  (Okay, I can find nerdy joy in a beautifully planned week or finding the perfect read aloud or even using a fabulous new teacher pen for the first time.)  (All right, and I can find joy in making progress with a little friend or watching a group of kids dig into a project I created.)  (And yeeeess, I do find joy in caring for my family…) (I’m starting to see your point.  I have a lot of professional joy and home life joy for which I’m very grateful.)

But still.

Mama needs a little joy for herself, don’t you think?  Some tree climbing?  (Maybe not in these heels.)  Or a little art project?  Perhaps some yoga?  Sooooomething.

So, in true Mimi fashion, I began to list Possible Sources of Joy.

Okay.  I like art!  Let’s see, there was that piece of art I started for the Mini that I never finished…where did that thing go?

I also fancy myself a bit of a DIYer.  Oh right, I could work on those stockings I started to make for everyone at chez Mimi.  They didn’t quite make it to the mantle last Christmas so maybe I could work on those…

And I did love that hot yoga class, but it’s at 7:30 and that’s totally bedtime….hmmmm.

Mr. Mimi gave me that amaze balls camera but since the baby I seem to only take pictures of her, so I wouldn’t quite call that a hobby anymore, so that’s a no.

Tennis, anyone?

And scene on the list.

I guess at this point, there aren’t enough hours in the day.  So, instead of climbing a tree, I’m going to enjoy the crap out of blogging.  Instead of running around playing tag, I’ll savor using my favorite Sharpies.  Rather than curl up with a good book, I’ll milk story time with the Mini and love every minute.    These days schools can be such negative places, I feel like we need to find the joy all on our own.

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  • I hear ya! Was in school at 7.30am and left at 7pm (and believe me, there were some negative vibes in my school today). By the time you get home and get organised for the next day, there isn't much time at all for joy. I'm glad you're going to keep blogging though because reading your blog is something I do really enjoy!

    October 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm
  • Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!

    Do whatever it takes to find The Joy, every day. That is my mantra this year: http://theteachergeek.com/2011/04/bring-joy-to-your-classroom-a-global-poem-for-change/

    P.S. Running is a great escape. Nobody's asking me for anything…not students, not my own kids, not my husband, it's just me. Not to mention the "happy hormones" that kick in definitely help my mood and keep me from being a cranky mommy/teacher/wife/person. Not that you're cranky. Just sayin'…it helps me find The Joy.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:31 am
  • I understand the weight of daily life, but one thing that has happened to me since I became a grandparent. Kids are much cuter now…

    "I heard the laughter of children running around in the beautiful fall sunshine. I stopped to watch two third graders run around the field next to their school attempting to climb a tree. They were laughing and smiling and couldn't have a care in the world other getting up that tree. And I thought to myself…"

    …very cute, childlike, happy and joyous. There's a place to get some joy 🙂

    Where else? I am volunteering at a couple of elementary schools. I walked towards the library with one of the first grade students I'm working with and commented on the "dog tags" he was wearing around his neck. He said they got them while they were on vacation…and added…

    "We got them at a grass station." 🙂

    The difficulty is slowing down enough to catch sight of it…And, Mimi, if you get that camera working again here's a great place for pictures…


    It's free and you can add one picture a day. The above spot is my page…if you join you can get your own. You post one picture a day for a year…or every other day for two years…or whenever you want. There are professional photographers there…and amateurs. Let me know and I can set you up with a couple of instant friends 🙂

    And you can put up pictures of Mini Mimi…or Mr. Mimi…whoever or whatever you want — even shoes. It's a fun place…

    October 13, 2011 at 12:31 am
  • You would think for a MeMonster you would have more ME time! 😉

    I find that my pedicure time is the only time I'm not thinking about education, psychology, or raising a tiny person. It's only an hour, but it's the best hour of my week. Go get yourself a pedi, STAT!

    It's far safer than climbing a tree in heels or inhaling Sharpie fumes.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:31 am
  • I definitely hear you. I'm searching for the joy myself these days, but it's pretty tough to find sometimes. Maybe only bringing home one overflowing bag per day is the key to joy. I wouldn't know. It has yet to happen.

    October 13, 2011 at 1:23 am
  • @Ms C: thank you for validating my entire life atm. I thought it was just me. I got in at 6 and leave at 7 and found out just today that I have a neighbor across the hall from me at home–he moved in three months ago. *sigh*

    I find joy in watching my students play and make up weird games and swing on the monkey bars and twist the swings to spin till they puke (and yes, I make them wait till they are un-pukey to come in my room.) And I find joy in finding stuff I knew I had in the first place I look rather than the last. I find joy in being able to locate a book for a fabulous colleague without having to think about WTH the damn thing got shoved. I find joy when I do my nails on a weekend morning and give myself a mani-pedi and know that it is better not just because it is free, but because it is exactly.the.way.I.like.it. And lastly, I find joy in clean sheets, the kind with no pet hair on them that still smell like fabric freshener right out of the dryer.

    October 13, 2011 at 1:23 am
  • I highly recommend getting a Pinterest account. I love it and I can find fun stuff to do for myself or for class or a little off-beat humor when I need it. Check out my board at http://pinterest.com/ my user name is elfphd.

    Happy Pinning!


    October 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm
  • I personally need to do something random or silly every once in a while. Feel like climbing a tree? Do it! Want to play tag? Take the child to the park and start chasing! I have zero artistic skill but will grab the watercolors, crayons and paper and just start painting. I don't do projects that require commitment or dedication, just silly little things that can be done in less than half an hour. Do you think you could find the occasional half hour to grab a bit of joy?

    October 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm
  • Okay, I can't believe I'm going to admit this but… I went jumping on one of those trampoline/bungee-cord things at the mall a few months ago. Yes, the mall. I was squealing with delight when I heard someone say — "I've never seen an ADULT on one of those things!!" That was right before I almost threw my back out trying to do a reverse somersault. I'm 46. It was insane fun. INSANE. FUN. My 12 year old son still talks about it… Do something crazy-fun. Your kids will love you for it. allisonwelch.com

    October 23, 2011 at 12:55 am
  • I work at a Boys and Girls Club and feel the same way!

    I drive past a school on my way to work and see the kids all out at recess. I always want to pull over, skip the stress of work, and just play!

    Love the blog!
    -Miss Brenda


    November 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

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