Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Maybe I shouldn't be a mom

This pisses me off more than I can say. Yeah, yeah, there is a sympathy guilt-trip image associated with it and I feel awful about that. But, let's focus on the little shit on the left. Last Christmas, kids were complaining about their parents not getting them the right thing for Christmas. Fuck. That. Noise.

I've always said-- and my friends and family always think I'm joking-- that our kid will be lucky to have a stick and a real ball to play with. I'm not joking, guys. Last weekend, I told my mum and Graham that we weren't buying our kid any toys. Probably ever. My reasons are threefold:

1. I have seen kids with SO MANY TOYS that they don't know they all exist. What is a single child going to do with an entire room full of fucking toys?
2. Monetarily, I'd rather put that money toward the cliche' college fund or focus on keeping the child clothed and fed.
3. Everyone else is going to buy that child toys. Maybe that's a shitty thing to rely upon, but I have two nieces and I know how it works. When in doubt, get the kid a toy.

So in 10-15 years when little James or Lydia (shut up!) want a new hoverboard, tough shit. I don't care if their friends parents bought them the newest broomstick. I'm not Narcissa Malfoy. I do not have a manor or a house elf. I am off topic.

But, how do I justify having a huge library available for my kids? Is it not just as important for the kids to use their imagination outside of books as it is while reading? Sure!

With other people's toys.

But really though, it's about teaching the kid the value of a single object.  Will he/she get a toy from his/her mom and dad? Probably at some point. I just don't want my kid thinking that he/she will get a toy just for being good while we're out shopping or just for doing their chores. Value and possession of an object are not correlating things that are being taught to the kids that are making the news these days. Not every argument can be solved with "People are happier with less than what you have." Especially when reasoning with a child. I get the feeling of getting really excited for something when you're a kid. Hell, I still get excited when I get gifts. But if it's not what I was expecting (I've stopped hoping), it's not going to crush my spirit. In fact, it never has.

A while back, I wrote a quick blog post about the major disappointment my sister suffered one year when she was expecting Adidas shoes for the holidays. She didn't get them. I was wanting a Seal cassette tape. My parents made it seem like they hadn't gotten it for me that year, and I packed up the rest of my gifts with a slightly heavy heart but at least I wasn't crying like SOME sister I have. Then, at the last moment, my parents whipped out the tape and I was SO HAPPY.

Not all kids can be perfect like me, though. Maybe mine will be... 

Monday, December 10, 2012

If you don't have a mental illness, fuck off.

The title says it all.

But furthermore, let me explain myself.

I love my job. Most days, I laugh until I cry, I smile, I have breakthroughs, I see that unmistakeable look of understanding on my student's faces and I love it. That's hands down my favourite part of teaching.

But sometimes, I get so fucking annoyed I want to explode. I manage to control it in the classroom, but (god forbid) I tend to vent about it on places like Facebook and Ravelry. Then I get these comments either saying "You're always upset with a student" or trying to tell me how to handle whatever situation I am in.

People, I know how to teach. I've been taught by the best professors and supervising teachers out there. I picked up a few things. I wouldn't have a job if I sucked at it. I come pretty highly recommended.

As for the first issue, I wish you knew what it was like, even for a moment, to have high anxiety. To think that every little problem that arises is going to result in ridiculous amounts of stress later. I can't not stress about it now.

I've tried everything, but I've always been this way. Some people would say that I have trouble moving on and hold on to the past. Maybe that's true. But when something stressful happens, I can't help but get physically ill, to shake, to cry, and in some extreme cases during panic attacks, scratch at myself, pull at my hair, and think the worst thoughts possible.

I tried explaining bipolar and anxiety to my sister once. She successfully avoided the gene passed down from our parents. My mother and I have pretty much the same levels of brain abnormalities. I once told Tristan that being depressed like we were was like living in a constant state of despair and wishing that we were dead. Andy has high anxiety too, and was asked by a co-worker what it felt like. I think he said something to the effect that your brain just stops working and starts doing whatever it wants to. And what it wants to do is worry about every tiny little thing, mostly things you cannot control.

That brings be back to today/last night. A student is trying to bully me into giving them a higher grade by accepting work that they turned in VERY LATE. Even though my syllabus says that I do not accept late work, they are still emailing me constantly and attempting to make me feel bad for having standards. Many teachers would gloss over this knowing they were treating the student fairly and like any other student, so no problem, right? Not so much. I invite trouble. I don't know what it is about how I teach, but every semester, I have had a grade appeal. And that would be fine, but the way, in my experience, the grade appeals are treated are unfair to the instructor and disregard hard and fast rules set forth in the already approved syllabus. This causes more stress for me. I have to do work during my vacation (boo hoo right?), and every grade appeal goes to the student. If I had proper support from my department, and they followed their own rules, it wouldn't be an issue. Then there is the issue of reputation. Every grade appeal, big or little, lowers my reputation and in my brain, my chances of keeping my job.

This is what goes through my mind when a seemingly tiny problem arises with a student. I complain about it because, goddammit, I'm fucking entitled to. If you don't have anxiety or depression or any other near-debilitating mental illness, keep your mouth shut. You have nothing to say to me on the subject.