Wednesday, September 6, 2017

In which I finally admit to myself that I cannot do everything...

Hello all, and welcome to a brand new week! I wish I could report in for duty that I am having this glorious week in which I feel validated as a teaching librarian, that my job is so rewarding, and that I have been pert and chipper all week long. Well... :0

I'm going to just say it: I had a terrible weekend. Why, you reasonably ask? Because I allowed work to creep into my home life.

I knew that with this being the fall semester, the very first college semester for all of our students, plus the Labor Day holiday in which we wouldn't see some of them for week 2 of our content, this meant that we would receive a lot of emails with questions. I decided to check my email on Saturday afternoon to just clear the recent messages, to save myself some time when we all came back from the long weekend on Tuesday morning.

Dozens. Dozens of emails to field. Also, emails from my boss with instructions on how to fix various unforeseen technical calamities with our course management system. On Labor Day, I spent 2 hours  on my laptop manually changing due dates in assignments for all 11 of my sections, and answering yet more student emails.

It was...discouraging, to say the least. That type of work isn't meaningful in any way, and with the volume of classes and students that we have, the last minute, frantic nature of these types of problems just makes us all feel harried and frustrated.

Yesterday morning, I was downright dreading going into work. I haven't felt that way since last fall (which was an epic nightmare with our course being brand new in a revamped curriculum), and before THAT I hadn't felt that way since I was a practicing attorney writing a brief at the office at 1 am. It's not a good feeling. I'm a LIBRARIAN, my job shouldn't be this stressful. That's why I made the major career change that I did 12ish years ago.

I got in the car Tuesday morning and had a heart-to-heart with myself. Yes, I talk to myself sometimes, I see it as part of my charm. :0 And I realized something very crucial: I'm trying to do too much. I am simply trying to do TOO MUCH. Indeed, I work full time outside of the home. I'm a wife and mother. And I have all sorts of interests and hobbies that I enjoy. Some of those items need attending to on a daily basis, and others do not. I cannot do everything. I simply, for the good of my own health and well-being, need to prioritize better.

Obviously, my family comes first. Yes, I do need to go to my job, and to do my best effort with it. But I do not need to let it take over the rest of my life. If email and course management disasters build up over a weekend, so be it. I can deal with all of them, as expediently as I can, during the week. We are not paid to work on the weekend. So why am I taking on that burden?

I have felt for some time that God has been trying to tell me that I'm trying to do too much. I put pressure on myself to meet these daily expectations that I set for myself, but see the keyword in that sentence? *I* am doing this to myself. Nobody else is. I can feel less harried if only I allow myself to. So I'm going to try.

Before I left the driveway, I set up my phone in its holder and set my Divine Office app to play the audio for Morning Prayer. And do you know what happened? It wouldn't play.


It really seemed to fit the theme of my life at that moment. :0 Because you know what? IT'S OK. I picked up my St. Teresa of Calcutta rosary and prayed that on my way in. And I felt WORLDS better by time I arrived.

There has been more chaos and gnashing of teeth throughout the land here at my university. But it's OK. Classes have been good! I've done well teaching, and I've been patient and charitable with the students. That's all that matters. Sometimes, my volume of email during the day, and my family time in the evenings, may mean that I can't get Tea Time out that week, or that I won't write a post when I usually do. But you and I have known each other long enough now that I have confidence you realize that I am always coming back to you - if a week goes by, send me a Tweet just to check on me. ;-) But I will *always* be back. This is my happy place, and I'm so grateful to share it with all of you.

How do you fare during busy seasons like this? How is your own September prayer challenge going? I would love to hear from you. *heart*


  1. Sending prayers your way! I so understand and can relate but as it's after midnight and I am attempting to type only kindle in a dark room, I will just surrounded you with comforting angels and God's precious peace! More on the topic and do not overdo!

    1. Thanks so much, Donna! <3 It was so cathartic to write this yesterday, and balm to my soul to read your sweet words. Thank you so much for being here!

  2. Haha, I just typed a long comment and lost it somehow! Ok, to recap: I feel you, Tiffany! I also teach a lot (as a librarian) and find it overwhelming to give my students the amount of time and care I want/am expected to/think they need/etc. Part of it for me is the change in becoming a full-time working mom since having a baby last year. I just have less to give to people that are not my husband, son, or a few other family members or friends. So, trying to think of ways to expand my heart, if maybe not my energy, for others! Praying the rosary on the way to work sounds like a wise option.

    1. Hi Anne! So nice to hear from you! Girl, this was my mantra at the end of both this week and last..."I have nothing left to give." :0 And I feel so guilty, because I know that when I get home, Mike and the kids are going to want my attention! I'm getting there. But it's a tough balancing act, for sure!

  3. Praying for you. Take care of yourself and your family first. If you need to take time off from the blog/podcast then do so. Those of us out here in blog and podcast land will still be here when you return.

    I'm still enjoying night prayer and thinking about buying my own copy of Christian Prayer when I have to return the copy I'm using to the library. A couple of weeks ago you mentioned the book Sheepish. I picked it up from the library and read the first chapter at breakfast this morning. It looks like the other chapters may also be short which is perfect for breakfast reading.

    1. Hi Melanie! I'm so thrilled about your Night Prayer success! The single volume Christian Prayer book is an excellent investment, in my opinion. For laypeople, that's all you really need. Morning, Evening and Night prayer, and just selections from the other hours.

      So glad you're enjoying Sheepish! Maybe I'll pick that up tonight. :0

  4. Hi Tiffany,
    It's funny because I just sent my best friend an email with virtually the identical subject line as your blog title. As a former librarian, I've always believed (along with Murphy Brown) that all of the answers to life's problems can be solved with a book, so over the weekend I reread one of my favorite books by Alexandra Stoddard - "The Art of the Possible - from Perfection to Freedom" and it was exactly the message I needed to hear. Maybe it might be of interest to you? It's about letting go of the idea that we can cram everything into our schedules. My doctor told me I'm the most Type A housewife she's ever met, so I'm trying to relax my obsessive to-do list and enjoy more peaceful moments. Hope you're finding peace!

    1. Amy,

      You and I are soulmates, lol! Been there, girl, with the to-do lists. I will check our your book recommendation! You are right - sometimes we just need to hear something, and it may not be with our ears. :)


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