I’m Giving Up (Thursday’s Log and a Dental Disaster)

In honor of Kate’s Northrup’s book, Do Less, I decided to jot down a
weekday schedule in my life. It’s a strategy she recommends to help
women “trim the fat.”

Quite frankly, I’ve been exhausted, lately.  I’m working hard so I can NOT DO THINGS next year like:

*pay a mortgage

*smile with missing teeth

*put my kids in front of a movie to grade papers

*get up before my entire family and miss breakfast

*fall asleep too exhausted to stay up and actually talk to my husband
about stuff other than our schedule

When I read this schedule, I see there are many
things to give up.  And I CAN’T WAIT!

6:30 am I wake up, make coffee and lunches.  I take a bunch of vitamin C in
some cherry juice and my 26th day of heavy antibiotics for my infected sinus and jaw.  I shower-stay in too long because I’m tired to face the day.  I’ve been fighting this infection for a month and it’s weighing on me. I wish my son luck on his Smithsonian field trip. Daddy is the chaperone. Thank God because I have no more sick days to take after this self-inflicted illness (is it too much to want teeth ?).

7:30 I leave for work.

7:55 I arrive at work, finish students’ cooking lesson plan, and upload some links to google classroom for a pre-unit assignment.

8:15 I introduce the lesson-a cooking project. Walk around and listen to
student table top speeches (physician and patient), grade them and check notes.

9:05-11:40 I do that 3 more times for periods 2, 3 and 4.

11:45 I have homeroom-17 minutes of downtime.  I email our home
middle school to confirm my eldest’s math testing.  We’re having him take the public school tests this year to ensure he’s on target.  We’ve confirmed an 8:15 am testing slot tomorrow morning!  Yes.  Now to figure out how to get him there with 1 car and 4 people with different places to go that morning.  Text the hubby so we can start brainstorming. A few students want me to edit their speeches or check their notes.  I help 3.

12:02 pm I’m finished teaching for the day, time to get grading done.  It’s
the end of the grading term so there are lots of final assessments. 

12:03 I listen to recorded speaking prompts, part of students’ quarterly tests, online for 45 minutes (waste 10 minutes switching rooms and computer set up since my classroom is shared).

12:48 Feeling slightly accomplished after listening to 40/116 student tests, I leave to pick up my daughter from preschool.

1:00 I play with L outside of preschool for 10 minutes, then head home.

1:30 I give up on giving L a nap. Text back in forth with my husband
about the field trip. Lots of cute pictures, but kids with tough behaviors were paired with my son.

1:45 Hubby gets home exhausted after chasing three 5 year-olds around
the history museum. I think “no wonder I’m burned out from teaching!”

2:00 I frantically drive to my periodontist appt to get X-rays of my infected implant (I somehow switched days in my calendar—thought it was the next day).

2:10 Arrive at the periodontist office.  I get the news I don’t want “this $3000 surgery didn’t work so we need to take out the implant.”  I try not to cry.  Agree to come back at 4 pm so they can remove it and ask that he please take scans to make sure it has to go before they perform the second surgery.

2:30 I get home, talk with my husband about my stupid dental implant (all we’ve talked about for a month).  My eldest son sits down to talk with me and I must ignore him as I discuss my options with my dentist friend. We both agree to remove implant if scan looks bad.

2:45 My best friend in the world talks to me and I feel less shitty.  I
abandon my family to head back to the periodontist at 3:15.

3:50 We take X-rays, final decision—implant is coming out.  It hasn’t integrated and has drifted into my sinus.  Shit, no wonder I’ve been so tired and sick.

4:45 I walk out of the office with blood on my face but feeling lighter since I finally made a decision about the implant.

5:15 I arrive home and heat some soup since I can’t eat much after surgery.  I want to sleep forever.  Make it through dinner, thank God Daddy got something on the table for our 3 angels.

6:00 One child sits next to me on the couch and reads to me.  My daughter sits on the other side.  I’m bleeding a lot so I get ready for bed.  Yes, it’s 6:30 pm. A 15-minute mouth cleaning regime later, I’m ready for story time.

7:00 I fall asleep in my daughter’s bed realizing it’s the only time I had with her today besides 10 minutes on the playground. The 2 littles play and read to each other while I doze.  I’m not sure when they finally fall asleep.  I realize I’m kind of happy.  I can breathe through my nose for the first time in 26 days.

This schedule is horrendous. Granted it was a terrible day, but the fact that I lived it made me realize I need to cut more lose ends. I want to embrace my life not just survive it.


What I’m Giving Up

1) My braces are coming off 1 month early. After infections and repeated surgeries plus 45 minutes MINIMUM to clean the mouth daily, I’m saying hello to a retainer for a year and goodbye to braces.

2) I’m also looking for a home for our dog. He’s destroying my yard (not good when you’re attempting to sell) and weak socially with other animals. He’s lovely but needs to find a better home while we’re in Puerto Rico. Even my eldest is fed up with avoiding other dogs when he walks him.

3) I gave up the homeless dinners I serve with my son. Our last one will be Mother’s Day. We’ve done it for 16 months. Time to pass the baton.

4) I gave up our class field trip. This is the first time in 11 years of teaching that I am not taking my students on a field trip. It’s such a relief; balanced by the asshole feeling I get when I tell students we’re no longer going. Too many health issues these past 2 months. They know I’ve been out a lot and struggling. They actually take it better than I do.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more to cut. My question: What are you giving up to live the life you truly want?


Here are some resources if you’d like to do less of the things that don’t give you bang for your buck, and more of the things you really love.






Published by Family ADDventures

Nicole Santiago is a learning specialist, student advocate, and founder of Family ADDventures. As a specialist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog: FamilyADDventures.com

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