“You’re trying too hard and doing too much,” she said over breakfast one Monday morning.
“I’m doing what I need to do,” I replied sipping my coffee, “there’s a deadline to meet, and my boss will be looking at my programs and registers next week. Some of my colleagues write novels as their programs, and I’m struggling to get ten pages done. It is such a chore when I know what I’m doing, and she knows I do yet the Department insists on these detailed programs. I just want to teach my classes and get on with it.”
“And you are good at what you do, but there’s a limit to how much time you have to spend on the programs. As it is I’ve hardly seen you all weekend as you’ve been in the office writing the damn things. You have a life here you know.”
“Yes and I’m well aware of leaving you alone this weekend, no time to smell the roses or watch rainbows as I have had to cut you out of my life. But I don’t know what else I can do. Once I get to school, I focus on my teaching which I see as far more important than what I write on a piece of paper. So the only time I get to write up my program is on the weekend, and I realise that it is unfair to you. But it’s only for a few weeks then I can go back to my usual old slack self.”
“It’s not just the weekends you are using for school, it’s the afterschool committees you are on. Don’t you think you do enough? I mean why are you on the School Musical committee when you haven’t a musical bone in your body?” she asked knowing full well the answer I was going to give.
“I want to show her I am committed to the whole school, make her think I an asset not a liability, then maybe she’ll look past my shortcomings and see the contribution I make to the place,” I stated hoping I sounded convincing.
“You make a wonderful contribution to the school as a whole, you man the door at the School Musical, you sell raffle tickets at the school fete, you work during the Trivia night there’s not an activity you don’t lend yourself to. I’d like to see you balance it out with equal time at home.”
“You are right,” I said reflecting on what she had said. There were times when I thought I needed to do more, that it was just for a short time and then I would devote more time to home stuff, but the demands of the job seem to multiply, and I found myself spending more and more time at school and doing school things out of an anxiety to measure up against my colleagues who seemed to be far more capable and organised than me.
She got up from the table and went to rinsed out her cup. I knew she supported what I did, but I could see I needed to give her the time she deserved.
“Let’s have another cuppa,” I announced, “come out on the veranda with me, I can be late, I don’t think anyone will notice as I don’t have a class first up today and it’s a stunning morning to be outside.”
The look on her face said it all as she pushed the start button on the kettle and drew down the coffee, teaspoon in hand.