I confess that I don’t feel like I’m working to my potential. And it makes me feel sick. I know the signs. It starts with me not being able to cope with my to-do list. It all looks too overwhelming. So I scale things back: I take out everything that has to do with starting a company.

The next stage of not living up to my potential is that I can’t read anything. I tried to read the New York Times magazine cover story about fixing a marriage. I can’t open it, though. The woman who is the author wrote about her own experience. Fuck. I should have posted about that.

I should have written the post about how our couples therapist fired us because neither of us seems to be capable of getting past our horrible childhoods long enough to connect with someone in a real way. He fired us but then I used my amazing negotiating skills to convince him to take us back and then I had a screaming fit in the therapist’s office and said he’s incompetent and doesn’t give us clear direction. It was a good moment, actually. Because now that I fired him, instead of him firing me, I am fulfilled in my need to ruin relationships with people all around me and I now I have space to let the Farmer get close to me.

Elizabeth Weil, from the New York Times magazine, will get a book deal from her piece. I will get a lot of comments from my paragraph. The comments will be: You should write more about that.

It’s true. I should. I should have a book deal, right? Don’t tell me that, okay? Because first of all I make way more from this blog than I would from a book, so why do I need a book? But I worry that maybe I should have another book because I won’t feel like I’m a real writer until I have a book New York Times book reviewers fawn over.

Should is a dangerous word. Someone once told me there is no word for should in Spanish. Is this right? Surely, though, there is a Spanish way to say I feel like crap because I’m not living up to my potential. After all, Spanish is the language of Catholic guilt. Should is the American way of putting ourselves down in the name of the need to impress other people.

I should be starting another company. Here’s why: I can’t stop thinking of companies. I have a community that is always receptive to my ventures, and I have tons of connections into mainstream media where I could market whatever I come up with.

Instead of all of that, I am homeschooling.

Oh. Please. Please God of Editorial Decisions stop me right now from writing about how sick I am of my kids. Let me write something poetic about the joys of parenting.

I am homeschooling because my job is to be a parent right now. It is such an incredibly boring job. As a whole, the job is enthralling and rewarding and full of joy. But day to day I could cry. Day to day I think, “All my interesting friends are sending interesting emails today and having interesting meetings.”

My kids have such fun days. They are my dream days. Private lessons in everything they are interested in. Reading for hours each day. Wake up with mooing cows, go to bed with star-filled skies.

Sometimes I think of taking skateboarding lessons while my son does. Or swimming while my kids learn racing dives.

If I really hated this life, I’d be changing it.

But all I want to do is write. I don’t feel like I should write, I feel like I have to write or I will die.

So the stuff I think I should do. I’m not doing it because I don’t need to, I guess. I guess I’m blogging because I need to.

I did an experiment last month. My traffic went down 50% because I didn’t do all the little things I usually do to keep traffic up (like write something to get on the homepage of CNN.com). I didn’t post very much. You know what happened? I made more money from my blog last month than I have in forever.

So my blog traffic is not that important. And it’s not that important to post regularly. Except that I have to.

So this is what I’m telling you: There is no should. There is no living up to your potential. There is just doing your life. You can’t do someone else’s life.

If we know our goal, and we know our life, and we are working toward it, then we never talk about our shoulds.

So maybe I can just focus on a single goal: being vulnerable enough with the Farmer to connect with him and get us back into couples therapy. Or maybe living up to my potential is giving my kids great days and giving my husband a good wife. And maybe all I need to do is write this.

152 replies
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    • Nessa
      Nessa says:

      Agreed–I’m pretty sure they use a form of “deber” which, incidentally, also means “to owe.” But I took Spanish a very long time ago so nobody quote me! :)

      • Guilie
        Guilie says:

        That’s right, Nessa–Spanish uses “deber”, conjugated in one of the +500 subjunctives, for “should”, but the previous comment is also correct–that specific subjunctive tense, applied to any verb, will provide the “should” factor. And we also have a saying: “el ‘deberia’ no existe”, meaning “the ‘should’ does not exist”. Like Yoda said, either do it or not, but there’s no “try”. There’s no “should”.

        Great post, Penelope.

        • Faunus
          Faunus says:

          Should is indeed translated as deberia in Spanish. The tense is called pospreterito; something that happened after something else in the past. It’s still not the present though.

          So “El deberia no existe” is not “there is no should” but more like “There is no should have” as it specifically addresses regrets. So technically, there isn’t a word for should in Spanish. Since “deber” also means duty, or must, it’s not should per se.

    • Patrick Gant
      Patrick Gant says:

      Indeed, there’s great insight in the Romantic languages about drawing a distinction between must-do or may-do.

      P.S. Is disqus not supported in the comments section anymore?

  1. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    When I became a wife and a mother I had to start repeating this to myself:
    “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
    (Marian Wright Edelman)It doesn’t actually help that much, but it’s still a nice thought.

  2. Jen Caballero
    Jen Caballero says:

    Isn't it tiring to live up to your potential all the time?  I need lots of breaks to be my best.  I try to remember that the breaks (long and short) are absolutely needed.

    • Grace Okoro
      Grace Okoro says:

      I mostly agree with Penelope, about living your own life, and no one else’s. Reduce the drama, stop stressing too much, leave room for mistakes, forgive yourself and others, pick up again tomorrow resolved to do your best, and if you fail again, forgive yourself again. I guess life is a cycle of us trying to live it the best way we know how, to be happy and to contribute to others’ lives. At least we should- there goes that word again, huh? (laugh). Just laugh and be happy, one day at a time, and know that our richest accomplishments are not necessarily material, or even career- related. It’s in the joys we’ve brought to our own lives and to the lives of others. Now go out there and live! Be alive!

  3. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    RE: no word for “should” in Spanish. Not true and in fact, its meaning can be more judgmental in Spanish than English. The verb is deber which also means “to owe”

  4. Taylor Wise
    Taylor Wise says:

    I know what you mean… With homeschooling, which I am, it never ends. Parenting never stops. There is never a break. There is rarely time to think. But there is such wonderful intimacy, like you said. Time with our kids that many others are missing out on because they are in school 7 hours a day. There is also always someone talking your ear off. It is a tradeoff, like everything else in life. But if your kids need you, and you are giving them what they need, then that is what you “should” be doing. You are in the right place doing the right thing I think.

  5. Riley Harrison
    Riley Harrison says:

    This post contains more wisdom and authenticity than the vast majority of the books written by the circle of clever people you so desperately desire associated to join.  

  6. Di
    Di says:

    “Or maybe living up to my potential is giving my kids great days and giving my husband a good wife.”

    These are the highest goals you could ever attain. Nothing else matters.

  7. Kris Costello
    Kris Costello says:

    Makes me think of what my 8th grade teacher said to me. “you have a lot of potential, use it.”
    Haunts me to this day…..daily “potential”list. Problem is, when one hasn’t been taught the “steps” and supported to use that potential it’s challenging.I guess I’ve morphed it into “something good”, interviewing “experts” on telling other people how to use their potential! (:
    Homeschooling got less boring for me when I started letting my kid work on his own projects, stopped trying to be a “blue ribbon” teacher and “learning mentor”. Now he’s designing awesome structures in google sketch up and amazing worlds and relationships with the minecraft game! And his natural design ability is blossoming and he’s learning that doing what you love is normal, not some task aimed at fulfilling your potential.
    I think a big road bock to “getting things done” when you’re trying to balance marriage, work and kids is not asking other people for help and not thinking you have to do it all yourself.
    I’m just starting to learn that how to ask and delegate, and I have a feeling I will be a lot more “successful” once I figure that out!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it always gives me more insight and things to think about!
    Best wishes, Kris Costello

  8. Traci
    Traci says:

    Penelope – I read your blog a lot, but I have never commented.  I really, really enjoyed your post today.  I like your validation of “just doing your life”.  I regularly feel like I am not reaching my full potential, have too much on my plate, etc.  I work full-time, have two young boys and a husband.  It is easy to feel this way.  I survive by trying remind myself that I need to live my own life and not second guess myself.  Great post today!!

  9. Traci
    Traci says:

    Penelope – I read your blog a lot, but I have never commented.  I really, really enjoyed your post today.  I like your validation of “just doing your life”.  I regularly feel like I am not reaching my full potential, have too much on my plate, etc.  I work full-time, have two young boys and a husband.  It is easy to feel this way.  I survive by trying remind myself that I need to live my own life and not second guess myself.  Great post today!!

  10. Traci
    Traci says:

    Penelope – I read your blog a lot, but I have never commented.  I really, really enjoyed your post today.  I like your validation of “just doing your life”.  I regularly feel like I am not reaching my full potential, have too much on my plate, etc.  I work full-time, have two young boys and a husband.  It is easy to feel this way.  I survive by trying remind myself that I need to live my own life and not second guess myself.  Great post today!!

  11. td
    td says:

    Have you thought about sharing home schooling responsibilities with someone else so that you could get a break some days? I realize this would mean you would take on that person’s kids on the days that you do home school but something to consider. And with all the technology these days you could probably do this remote? Just a thought. 

    Also – instead of focusing on feeling vulnerable and letting someone get close to you could you think of it as just you giving the most love and abundance you can?  

  12. jld
    jld says:

    LOL, really, you might want to figure out why you feel compelled that you “should” do something.
    Any idea?

  13. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    i echo all of the other commenters…the fear of not being a rockstar paralyzes me sometimes, but it makes me feel a bit better knowing i’m not the only one. i asked my mom recently how she had a full time job and raised 2 kids and always had a perfectly clean and beautiful house–she said she got up at 4am to cook and clean for 2 hours every day. so that was enlightening. thank you for your brutal honesty (once again).

      • Carolyn
        Carolyn says:

        If keeping her home clean for her family was meaningful for her, then YES, this did make her happy and gave her fulfillment. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment when you can manage to have an organized home and work full time as well.

  14. Stephanie_schiel
    Stephanie_schiel says:

    Thank you! I have been reading your blog for about two years or so when my former boss told me to check out a talk you did that was posted online. Since that time, I have enjoyed pretty much everything you write. You are honest, sincere, and helpful. I don’t normally post…but I am today because I feel this blog is especially helpful to me. I completely empathize with your approach to relationships. I continuously ruin relationships and/or stay in horrible relationships because I need to be the one to end things (I call it winning). I have always felt like a bit of a crazy person because of this trait because my friends and family always tell me some of the tactics I take (like negotiating my way back into someone’s life just so I can end things my way) are not necessary and I should not be doing them. I don’t know what triggers this in me…(control freak?) but nonetheless, thank you (again) for this and all of your other posts.

  15. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    That cover story you linked to? I couldn’t read it either. It’s overwhelmingly long and boring, and frankly, put me off at the first sentence “I have a pretty good marriage.” So what’s the problem? I’d be more interested if the first sentence was “My marriage sucks.” But that’s just me.

    • Colleen Chen
      Colleen Chen says:

      I totally agree!!! I read one paragraph and couldn’t continue because it’s boring. Who cares about your fricking perfect marriage.

      • tag1555
        tag1555 says:

        There was a lot of criticism along those lines when the article came out two years ago, not only for being tedious, but also that deconstructing a reasonably well-running marriage in hopes of making it perfect is more often a path to ruining what is working. The portrayal of her husband in the article brings the term “throwing under the bus” to mind.

      • Ddgalliano
        Ddgalliano says:

        No wonder reality tv shows are so successful! People love made-up conflict.
        “Marriage Sucks” = Fun = Real Housewives’/Kardashian’s franchise..
        Enjoy!

      • Kathy
        Kathy says:

        Seriously?  You read one paragraph and decided the whole article was boring?  I guess that’s what these days of instant gratification get you: People who can’t and won’t read.  The article actually underscored many of the feelings and tribulations that my own marriage is going through at the moment.  It touched me in many ways, but then I guess you have to live for a few years to empathize with what others are going through. Both of you are obviously too young and distracted to concentrate on an article for longer than a paragraph. 

        Penelope, we all struggle with life.  It’s not about finding happiness; it’s about how you handle the ups and downs. Let the energy flow either way and you’ll get to a calm, more centered place more quickly.

      • Colleen
        Colleen says:

        Reading a paragraph or a sentence and deciding that an article is boring or not personally relevant doesn’t necessarily show immaturity or lack of focus, but rather shows that the article was badly written–as indicated by the other commenter who said this article received the same kind of criticism from many. As for the can’t and won’t read, we marshaled our lazy, inexperienced brains enough to get through Penelope’s post all right, didn’t we?

    • Laura Brown
      Laura Brown says:

      I read the whole article. It was very tedious. Penelope, your take on the same topic would be much more real and I look forward to reading it . . . one day. I am happy to wait knowing that you are otherwise occupied with parenting and homeschooling.

      You’ve got 10 or so more years of daily grind parenting and then you can do all the interesting work-related things you are sacrificing right now. There will be many years of interesting work once your kids don’t need what you are giving them now. The window of opportunity to do what you are doing is absolutely time limited. You will *never* regret the decision to devote yourself to your kids.

      I say this like I’m on the other side. I’m not. I’ve got 4 kids ages 12-16. As the primary breadwinner, I work full-time but at a job that affords me decent flexibility. I love what I do and have to pull myself away from it every single day. The times I have sacrificed time with my kids for work were ultimately unsatisfying. I struggled earlier in my career with letting work-related opportunities pass by because they were incompatible with the kind of parenting I choose. It’s not as difficult now as it used to be but I feel your pain.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Laura, thank you for the encouragement. It’s a good way to think about it — this is only ten years, and then I have the whole rest of my life. Ten years is so short. I know that. But it’s good to hear it from someone like you.

        Also, thinking of it the other way — sixty years of doing all work and no interruption for kids seems boring to me. I know, please, all the child-free-by-choice people do not need to jump on me. I think it’s boring for me.

        I need to remember this day to day.

        Penelope

  16. Alex Dogliotti
    Alex Dogliotti says:

    There is ‘need’ and ‘need’. There are needs that come from your desires (what you say you want). Then there are needs that come from obligation. Because they come from obligation they’re a problem for you. And you tend to postpone problems cos they’re not fun at all. For example, people stay in relationships that are going nowhere just not to deal with the problem of breaking up. The size of the problem is not an indicator of how quickly you’re gonna solve it. 
    The should part you refer to comes from obligation. In other words, a problem. 
    Maybe – and I stress maybe – people live up to their potential every time they get an obligation to coincide with a desire.   

  17. Anon
    Anon says:

    Thank you for sharing that being a mom isn’t always 100% fulfilling, and you want to do other things.  IMHO that is one of the dirty little secrets of motherhood – sometimes women just want more than to be a mom.  I wish women would talk about that more.

  18. Anon
    Anon says:

    The Spanish word for “should”, the verb is “deber”.  So to say “I should be able to…”, one would say, “yo debería …”

  19. Chris K
    Chris K says:

    You are a complicated person, Penelope. (Regard this as a compliment.)
    Relationships. Homeschooling. Writing. Generating a new business. Creativity. Remarkable honesty. Kids/mom/wife/sex/talk/social skills/farm chores/cooking/cleaning/getting SOME sleep/etc.  Rage/confusion/shoulds/needs/boredom. OMG!

    Just one piece to the complicated puzzle that you are:  learn together with your sons. Find topics, issues, stories that interest all 3 of you.  Do more listening than talking/teaching.  Exercise your creativity and drag them into it with you–for example, YOU need to write, so you get them to write with you. You will all write differently . . . You will perhaps be intrigued with their writing, and will be able to contribute to theirs, and perhaps they will contribute to yours.

    The picture of the bed, dog, coverlet . . . speaks a thousand words, yet you could still write about it and so could the boys, don’t you think?  Write about what we don’t see in the picture–that is so very tantalizing!

    Go, Pen! Don’t let the quiet of the farm and the dark days of winter pull you down.  Try a new recipe. Get the boys to help you cook. Write about it (as you have done before).  Unearth the meanings of the season and write about them. Light. New beginnings. Spiritual journeys .  Tears and loss. Bitter herbs. You know the way.

    • Amy
      Amy says:

      Penelope and Chris – I really liked both the post and this comment. Both really resonated with me and gave me an aha moment.  I feel like I can relate to this blog, coming from a very turbulent and dysfunctional childhood. Going to the very bottom and then learning how to float all the way back up can give a person incredible insight into life and why things (bad and good) happen. I’m sure some people with so called ‘happy’ childhood can be called complex, but it’s not as common.

      Complex/artistic personalities can make for somewhat artistic temperaments.  I’m dating someone right now, but it’s new, and I struggle a lot with whether or not it’s the right match for me. I think my biggest concern is whether or not he can handle my ‘complexity’ and complement it, and in the same vein will he he bore me as a less ‘faceted’ person.

      Not really sure what my point was, but thanks for making me think this morning.

      Keep up the fantastic work. So brave of you to post what so many of us are thinking! But with a twist of course.

    • Velvet
      Velvet says:

      Beautiful comment to a beautiful post.

      I think i’ve decided that having conflicting needs and desires that just can’t happen, and being frustrated because of that, is part and parcel of being human.

      As your other readers comment, there is definitely a word for “should” in Spanish. However, I have been told by several Spanish people that the concept of someone being a “loser” is strange for them. Thankfully — and I hope that doesn’t change.

  20. ReportingLife
    ReportingLife says:

    I had a client tell me I wasn’t living up to my potential very recently because I refused to start a new venture on my own with his help.   I thought to myself “well, whose potential is the yardstick?”  Isn’t potential all relative?   I’ve chosen not to subject myself to unecessary stress.   The potential I’ve chosen to meet is staying happy and healthy.  That’s better than most, I’d say.

  21. emily
    emily says:

    The community here has been a lifeline for me these past six months.  Conventional wisdom rarely encourages us to be in the directors seat of our own lives.Your focused, direct and authoritative posts about the potential for learning every day is so valuable.  

  22. PoshPagodaBlog
    PoshPagodaBlog says:

    “debo de” is the closest way to say “I should…” in Spanish. i.e., “Debo de estudiar.” = “I should study.” Pronounced like “theh- boh” not a strong ‘o’ sound.
    Love your blog.

    • Jaime
      Jaime says:

      “deber de” really means a guess, and has a diferent meaning that just “deber” (without the “de”), which is an obligation. It’s a common mistake (even for Spanish speakers)
      E.g. (not completely literal)
      “Luke, debes de ser un Jedi” – “Luke, it seems you are a Jedi”
      “Luke, deber ser un Jedi” – “Luke, you must become a Jedi”

      The proper way of expressing in Spanish “I should be studiying” is “debería estudiar”, as “debo estudiar” means “I must study”. Similar, but not exactly the same. ;-).

  23. Barb
    Barb says:

    Penelope – THANK YOU SO MUCH for your honesty.  I have been reading your blog for 2 years and have never commented, but this post really hit me hard.  I spend countless hours beating myself up because “I should be doing this”.  Most recently I have felt guilty because I have procrastinated on starting to write posts for my new blog.  Everything is set to go, I just can’t get it together to start writing.  Please have another “BLOGGING BOOTCAMP”  soon, I won’t let it pass me up next time.

  24. Barbara Taylor
    Barbara Taylor says:

    Thank you for making me feel better about not living up to my potential, which is something I’ve been doing pretty much every day since high school. Looking back on it, I think I peaked right around fourth grade. 

    I love the courage and candor in your blog posts. (Your “A-List Blogger” workshop rocked, by the way. I keep listening to the sessions for inspiration.)

  25. Anhelo
    Anhelo says:

    Yep, Spanish is the language of Catholic guilt, that makes it also the language of the best erotica fiction.

  26. Bs_mcnerney
    Bs_mcnerney says:

    I really liked this post-I agree there is no end to should which is why it should be avoided. Also, I also, when my marriage was ending after three short years I thought to my self what the fuck, relationships are something I am great at, how the hell could I not make this work? Having and maintaining relationships is one thing I am known to do well.  So of course I read a book.  I don’t know who the author was or what the title was because that is something I am not good at, unless they have other books and I want to read so I have to know who wrote the one I liked.  Anyway, this is the thing, she said that one two edge sword of relationship is that to build a deeper bond, each person needs to trust and with trust comes vulnerability.  When the parties in the relationship bump up against one another’s issues with trust-discord is the likely response.  So each time in relationship when you start having discord it is generally due to one person not realizing that the other person is not ready to take the next step in the movement toward a deeper level of trust.  They resist and the other person pushes and then they have a breakdown.  She suggested that when you run up against a situation where one person is resisting, you should consider that you have hit upon a vulnerable spot with them.  A loving response to this is to acknowledge that you are seeking to deepen the connection and ask them to trust you with their vulnerability.  If they are not ready at the time, be considerate and display the qualities that would cause the other person to feel as if they can trust you.  What that idea did for me is re-frame the way I looked at conflict.  That-re-framing, is something you, Penelope do well.

  27. Nancya
    Nancya says:

    Lovely way to tear apart the word should. And to talk about parenting. I feel the same way. Parenting is the hardest gig I have ever had, but every time someone tells me to go get a full time job instead of part time work, I think parenting is my job now, no matter how difficult. In so many ways, working full time would be more fulfilling. But I would miss out on life, these kids, this short period of time where we get to be there there for each other in such a daily way.

  28. Irving Podolsky
    Irving Podolsky says:

    Again, a peek into your heart and soul.  What courage.

    You said it best with these words: “…living up to my potential is giving my kids great days and giving my husband a good wife.”

    I would add an addendum:  Seek joy and avoid pain.  I think if you do that, everything else falls into place.

    Your internet friend,
    Irv

  29. Daintydotmediaworks
    Daintydotmediaworks says:

    Yoda said it first: “Do or do not; there is no try.” In your case, there is no should.

  30. fred doe
    fred doe says:

    sounds like prairie madness. the first thing you need to do young lady is get up make that bed and take that little dog for a long walk. then when you brush your teeth and wash your face look into the mirror and say, “every day, in every way i’m getting better and better” finish with a big CARPE DIEM. actually it sounds like writers block and it must be common for people as your self who put out so many ideas. i mean this in a good way.

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    If I were your kid, and I could read, I don’t think I’d be enjoying that awesome education much, because I’d be too ashamed for my role in my mom’s obvious meltdown.

    Don’t get me wrong.  It’s absolutely sensible to not want to devote your entire self to raising your kids.  That’s asking way too much of a person, in my opinion.  I think you should listen to that voice and try to find some other way to satisfy your need to give your boys a decent education without sacrificing yourself in the bargain.  I don’t care what it is.  But any sacrifice you make that has you screaming at strangers in frustration is probably a bad choice.

  32. AmishFarmersLoveTriangle
    AmishFarmersLoveTriangle says:

    Just because he annoys me, I WOULD SO PUNCH IRVING “PODUNK” PODOLSKY in the face!! Your a Lame-O!!
    He reminds me of the dorky kids in junior high who use to heap praise on the cool kids and agree with everything we said so that they would get accepted…..Quit being such a  toolbox.

    • Irvingiscool
      Irvingiscool says:

      Half the comments lay it on thicker than he does, but all of them, including his, seem genuine. Leave him be, you bully.

  33. Caroline L
    Caroline L says:

    There actually is a word in Spanish for “should.” It’s deber. http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/deber

    Believe me, there is all kinds of Catholic guilt in Spanish-speaking countries. 

  34. Mark Wiehenstroer
    Mark Wiehenstroer says:

    It seems to me as though you use anger as a source of motivation. Anger, properly controlled and directed, can be a powerful change agent when employed at certain, opportune times. However, after reading this post and other posts, I think you need to manage your anger in a more controlled fashion. Make it your goal and master it. I guarantee it will be tough but you will be rewarded for the rest of your life if you’re able to achieve it to at least some degree. We won’t talk about me. :)

  35. Laura
    Laura says:

    I needed to read these words at this time in my life:

     “There is no living up to your potential. There is just doing your life. You can't do someone else's life. If we know our goal, and we know our life, and we are working toward it, then we never talk about our shoulds.”At 58, I went to school last year to do a one-year journalism course. Yesterday I might have said, “I should be writing and selling stories, and developing my retirement career.” Today I am saying: “I know my goal, I know my life, and I am working toward it.”My twenty-something son, away at university, is struggling with social isolation and my 90-something mother, in long-term care close to me, is struggling with the indignities of aging. Being there for both of them is mostly what I’m doing right now. But I know my goal and, slowly, I’m working towards it. This is my life today. Thanks for giving me a new way to look at it. 

  36. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hire someone to teach your kids. I live in a small midwestern college town (not very far from you) with a great teaching college. The students are solid, smart kids, many from farms, and starting teaching jobs can be hard to come by. I’ve hired students to dogsit and babysit, and am currently working on hiring one to teach my daughter Spanish. Hire a recent grad from rural Wisconsin or Iowa to teach your kids every day (and not live with you). I searched your blog for “outsourcing” and didn’t come up with any results, so not sure how you feel about this concept, but you need a break, at least part time.

  37. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    This post makes me sad.  I don’t like that your goals seem to be only about who you are to your husband and kids while downplaying your desires outside family relationships as unimportant.  I guess it just seems wrong to me that parenting should involve giving your kids dream days while you suffer in silence on the sidelines because that is your job now.  Homeschooling and spending long periods of quality time with your husband and kids are great goals.  But I also think there has to be something just for you–and enough time (or help) built into your schedule to accomplish it guilt-free.  Maybe that thing for you is your writing, and maybe you have the time for it and it is enough, I don’t know.  And I may be wrong, but you just don’t seem that happy, and so this post makes me sad.   

  38. Evelyn Badia
    Evelyn Badia says:

    Sooo why do something that you’re not enjoying? Are you having that interesting life you want so much?  Do you have to homeschool every day? Can you adjust it for it to work for you?  And I understand about not living to my potential.. But what’s that potential?  when is it enough?

  39. Larry B.
    Larry B. says:

    As Linus once said in one of the great Peanuts lines ever: “There’s no heavier burden that a great potential.”

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