(Joyful Mysteries Note: I met Meredith when she was a student teacher for my oldest son.Even then we knew there was something very special about her.  Years later she became Curly’s Kindergarten teacher, and I fell in love with the magical way she engaged every student.  And then we became friends. She is a wonderful friend, teacher, and now Mother.  I am honored to have her write her Real Today.) 

I’m currently in search of a time machine. Or one of those time-turners like Hermione had in Harry Potter. Or a 1981 DeLorean. Maybe a cloning device. You see, I have 3 “Me’s” which all need 24 hours in which to exist, which are not exactly compatible with one another right now. So I need a time machine.

My first Me is my Self. My Self enjoys running, wine, spending time with her husband, friends, and family, and travelling. She likes to read, obsess over impossible crafts on Pinterest – even try a few of them once in a while – paint her finger and toe nails, get massages, run more than 2 errands at a time, browse and meander at T.J. Maxx or Old Navy or, honestly, anywhere. My Self likes to change her outfit 8 times in the morning until it’s just right, put on elaborate makeup for no real reason, and play with her hair for hours. My Self works hard to be balanced, get enough sleep, and eat properly. My Self holds Me Time sacred.

My second Me is The Mommy. The Mommy has always wanted to be The Mommy and loves it very much. The Mommy thinks about her baby all day, and misses her even after she has just spent the better part of an hour and a half putting her fussy baby to bed. The Mommy takes 8 billion photos of her baby – per day – and doesn’t regret a single one. She cherishes her time with the baby and loves the way it has brought her and The Daddy together. The Mommy wants nothing more than to stay at home with her baby.

My third Me is The Teacher. The teacher adores her students. The Teacher has always wanted to be a teacher, and now that she has been teaching for a few years, is becoming proud of the work she can do with students. The Teacher doesn’t always like to stay late after school or come in early for meetings with parents, but she does it. Sometimes more than she would like, always more than the time “required” by her contract. The Teacher likes learning more about teaching, more about helping her students, more about perfecting her craft. She throws together quick fun activities for her students, and carries on traditions in her classroom from year to year. The Teacher stays up at night in bed, thinking about how she can make tomorrow better, worrying about the student who just didn’t really get that one thing today in Math. The Teacher is dedicated, professional, organized, and fast-thinking.

So, you see why I need that time machine. I don’t have all the time to be all those things as well as I want to. I’m only one person, with only so much time, energy, and brainpower. My daughter is 4 months old, and I’ve been back to work now for about a month. Today, just today, for the first time in 5 weeks, I felt mildly successful at my job. And then I came home and couldn’t get my daughter to nap for over an hour. And I have gone for a run once this week. Once. I haven’t slept in since my second trimester, I have yet to finish the second chapter of a book I started while I was in the hospital, and the thought of going to Target and then Trader Joe’s makes me want to melt into the floor.

I worship sleep. I don’t buy anything that can’t go from fridge to mouth in less than 2 steps, or anything which needs 2 hands. I only multitask. I always have something in my hand, something on my mind, something else to do, somewhere I should have gone today but I just couldn’t. Running, which used to be my primary form of “therapy” is now a luxury, not a habit. My daughter only laughs for her father, while some days it seems like I can barely elicit a grin, and the Mommy Guilt sets in. Life has become a blur.

People give me advice: “Stop trying to be everything to everyone, it’s not possible.” But that’s not what I’m striving for. Most days I just feel like I’m trying to be anything to anyone. My friends think I’m a perfectionist, and they’re probably right.

But the truth is I don’t like doing things halfway. I don’t like teaching my students what they need to know… but in a messy classroom. What my students don’t see is that every moment they’re working or at recess or lunch, I’m frantically throwing together materials and hoping the technology works, and improvising to make my plans work.

I don’t like waking up with my daughter and nursing her… only to put her promptly into her little rocker to “play” while I shower and get ready to leave her. I don’t like spending time with my husband… for a maximum of an hour in the evenings during which we mostly sit in silence because we’re both So. Burnt. Out. I don’t like (finally) running nearly 3 miles… only on evenings when I have someone to watch the baby for 30 precious minutes.

At the end of the day, I know I will find a way to make my 3 Me’s compatible. I know that someday, my daughter will sleep, and so will I. I know my husband and I will once again exchange actual, coherent sentences and use both our hands again. I know Mommy Me will have summers with my daughter thanks to Teacher Me. I know I will get better at balancing work, play, and family. But until then, I’m keeping my eyes open for that time machine…


Meredith is a wife, mother, and teacher. She loves being with friends and family, running and writing. She also loves discussing “Downton Abbey”* with the administrator of this blog.

* the administrator may have taken creative license with the bio.