Hair on Fire!

So, there’s this book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith, and a coworker, who I like and respect and admire (really), loves this book. Listening to her talk about it makes me love the book too. Hey, I want to be a great teacher. Sure I do.

I also want to be a great mother. A great wife. A great daughter. A great friend. A great person. Oh, and a great writer. But I can’t do them all like my hair is on fire. I don’t have that much hair.

That I-could’ve-done-better feeling follows me around most of the day (and most of the night). Does it follow you? And if you’ve only got so much hair to burn, who do you burn it for?

Obviously, if I don’t say my son, I’m a bad mother.

But whenever I do get it right…whenever there is that great moment between mother and son or between teacher and student or between writer and the page–oh, the feeling of excitement and relief. A bit like having a fire extinguisher put out my head. okay, better than that.

The thing is–I’m sick and tired of self-help books and seminars and CDs and whatever. Truth is, I rarely pick up self-help books or anything, but we do live in a self-help culture, which I sometimes appreciate and see the value in, and sometimes I just want to shout at–“Leave me alone. I’m not that bad!” Not to mention I don’t like the smell of burning hair.

Now, I’ve got a less than great novel to finish.

5 thoughts on “Hair on Fire!

  1. First of all, don’t say your novel is less than great. There will be plenty of agents/editors out there who will do that for you until you find the one that says, “you’ve got it.” But don’t shoot it down yet. I know…I do that too. But we can’t do that.

    I dislike self-help books too. Not that they are all so bad, but they bore me. My husband teaches college, and he has the same dilemma. He enjoys teaching, and he wants to help his students, but first comes his research/writing. He can’t do it all. If he wants to succeed at what he wants to do, he’s got to give up some of the lesson planning and go easier on himself. Sometimes he bemoans this, but I’m glad he doesn’t give into what his colleagues do. I think, what does it teach our students/children, if we totally give up our dreams to cater to them? We try to balance, but perfect balance is not possible. We just have to do our best.

    Since I’m a stay-at-home-mom I have a luxury that you don’t. I burn my hair for my son and my writing. However, I often think of all the OTHER things I need to be doing. Housework definitely suffers. Cooking different and less boring food for my husband suffers. Socializing suffers.

    Something always has to give. You’re doing a good job. Don’t let others make you feel guilty because they chose other ways of living their lives.

  2. Me too me too me too! I’m so sick of self-help crap. Most books don’t tell me anything new. I used to buy them, but no longer.

    I guess at this point the only thing I burn my hair for these days is my daughter. Even my husband gets shorted. I assume at some point the balance will shift again.

  3. Fabulous post. You are singing my gospel.

    “I don’t have that much hair.” Now that’s a great line. Great job! More like that! I heard of this great book…

    And ugh, the “getting it right” idea smothers us. If we’re all blazing like the sun, there’s no putting us out. And, we wouldn’t worry and work so damn hard at keeping the fires burning, either.

    Thanks for this.

    xo Jena

  4. Here here!
    What’s so bad/wrong about the way things are, just as they are.
    The constant self-help improvement mania makes me weary.
    I’m all for passion, giving your all.
    But I’m also tired and need rest.
    And I rather like my hair and don’t want to lose it to the flames.

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