In the Zone

19 Feb

I went back to work a few weeks ago.  It terrified me and I questioned the decision daily but ultimately jumped back into hosting piano lessons in my home and commuting with both kids 45 minutes north once a week to tutor.

To make it all happen, I drive the girls up to my mom’s house while I teach in her town.  Then all three of us stay the night with my parents and drive home in the morning.  My mom drives her car down and helps out here, prepping the house for piano lessons, babysitting the kids while I teach (along with my amazing neighborhood babysitter), and then helping with dinner and bath time before heading home.  Hubs is responsible for picking up the house the night we are gone so it’s presentable to students and their parents.  And we all get a little help from the frozen entree aisle in the grocery store.  It’s stressful and exhausting.  It means I have to carve out time each week to lesson plan, usually while wearing the baby and tossing snacks at the toddler.

But it’s worth it.

My house is guaranteed to get a fresh, clean start one day each week.  My open floor plan means that students and parents can see every room on the first floor from my front door.  No hiding sinks full of dishes or forgetting to pick the toddler underwear up from the living room floor.  The rest of the week, it looks like a catastrophic Babies ‘R’ Us explosion has ransacked the house.  But on lesson day?  We pass for clean(ish).

And me?  Those two days I am forced to dry my hair, put on makeup, and find some pants that fit from a drawer other than the one housing all my pajamas. I feel pretty on those days.  I think it’s just as important to let go of the expectation that I need to get dressed (or shower) every day.  I have a newborn, for crying out loud.  But I still need days to take care of myself – to feel like how I look matters.

But the best part is how the lessons make me feel.  Once my student walks in and hands me their lesson notebook, I go into the zone.  I am a great teacher.  Responsive to student strengths and weaknesses, motivating, kind, funny.  My enthusiasm rubs off on the kids and the energy we share is addictive.  There’s nothing quite like the high of hearing a student work on a piece for weeks only to come in one lesson and nail it, their face glowing with pride.  Two days a week, I get to share my love of math and music.  I get to build self-esteem in my students.  I get to relax and have fun.  Because when I teach, I feel more like myself than any other time.

It’s a part of my soul – and I’m committed to making it a priority.  Everyone should have something that makes them feel “in the zone.”  What’s yours?

6 Responses to “In the Zone”

  1. addyeB February 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    I’m so glad you have that-teaching-to motivate, inspire and fulfill you. It sounds like a ton of work, and the logistics sound tiring but at least you love what you do and that’s important.

    Me? Well my “in the zone” used to be working as a social media manager for my friend who was a celebrity chef….I stopped in August to focus solely on school….so now my “in the zone” is writing….and dancing. Those two things keep me going.

  2. elise February 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    WOW! i’m kinda jealous 🙂 in a good way, of course! i’m glad for you that you have the support system and the motivation to work. it’s always a great thing to do something that makes you feel human again 🙂 it’s so essential in those first few years to feel like more than a cow/maid/referee…
    it’s also always interesting to me to see how others manage to get so much done… i’ve thought about teaching piano especially, as that’s something i’m fairly proficient at, and i think i could do it… but then it occurs to me, my hubby works 60-80 hours/week and i have three small kids… so it’s just not very practical right now. maybe someday i’ll be able to get more serious about it, and then i will totally pick your brain. 😉

    • learnedhappiness February 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      I could NOT do it without my mom. And my neighborhood babysitter is AMAZING.

      And you’re right. It’s nice to not deal with the toddler nonsense, housework, or boob issues for a little while. LOL

  3. Jenny February 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    I am in the zone when singing and writing. Instead of cantoring for church & being involved in community theater as I did pre kids, I now sing for an audience of two or for the occasional wedding. I hope to pass our love of music onto them. I don’t have as much time for writing as I like, but I make time to read books from people that inspire me. So when inspiration strikes I will have done my homework and broadened my horizons.

  4. Jaime February 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Hmm, I know I have things that put me in the zone–but right now I can’t even think of one! How sad is that for me!! Maybe it’s writing. I could write all day, if I had the time. And I’ve been doing it for 26 years. It’s who I am.

    I love this post because you hit the nail on the head–a bunch of times! How we look affects how we feel. For me, that’s true about how my house looks, too. And all of us should be committed to nourishing our soul.


  1. Mother’s Pride « - March 18, 2012

    […] the kiddos and worried they would get behind, but mostly, I did it for me. It’s my “In the Zone” time and I love it.  It’s a ton of work to make it happen each week and I […]

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