Feeling frazzled


OK it’s not me that’s feeling frazzled, although I have been on the verge of tearing my hair out on occasion!  No, it’s my character in my new WIP, which I haven’t actually done anything with since the end of March.

This is because of work commitments, but also because I’m currently editing Reunion of the Heart, which is going well and hopefully will be finished soon.  At which point I can send it to my mum for proofreading. 🙂

For today, the 21st May, I’m sharing 21 lines from my as-yet-untitled WIP.  In this scene my MC Rebecca is feeling frazzled.  She’s just started working as a teacher at a secondary school (for 11 to 16 yr olds) and it’s tough going. And now her mum and dad want to come and stay.

Rebecca can’t bear to have them come; she’s too busy and is feeling the strain.  But on the phone to her mum, it’s clear that she just doesn’t understand how stressful teaching can be.  Rebecca gets lots of holiday, as her mum sees it, and doesn’t work weekends, so where’s the problem?

But Rebecca isn’t having it…

‘No, I’m sorry but you can’t.’ Rebecca heard her own voice sounding exasperated and wondered why her mother always had that effect on her.  It was six thirty on a Tuesday evening and Rebecca was a couple of weeks into her new job.  She was feeling crotchety.

‘But you don’t work weekends as a teacher,’ her mother pointed out helpfully.  ‘Surely your dad and I could come and stay.  And anyway if you really needed to work, we could go off and do our own thing.  You’d hardly know we were there.’

If only that were possible, Rebecca thought.  ‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she said, ‘but it’s just not possible.  I’ve got too much to do.  If you were a teacher you’d understand.’

There was silence the other end of the phone.  Rebecca couldn’t help her last barbed comment – her mother never understood.  And she was beginning to think that even if she had chosen the career path her parents had favoured, they would still never understand her.  Finally the pause ended.

‘All right, if that’s the way you feel,’ her mother said stiffly.  ‘I’ll see if Maria’s free.’

Thank you God!  Rebecca mouthed tilting her head up to the ceiling.  Then she thought of her sister.

So that’s Rebecca’s story for the moment, as I haven’t written much beyond this point.  It’s all in here! *taps head*

To join in with WIPpet Wednesday, just post on your blog anything you’ve written lately.  Relate it to the date somehow and then link up with us here.

Thanks K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely host. 😀

31 thoughts on “Feeling frazzled

  1. I’m well-acquainted with the world of teachers. Two of my sisters are teachers, and I even did a short stint with pre-K and then some special after school programs for middle schoolers. The work is never done. It’s too bad her mom doesn’t understand that.


    1. My parents were both teachers pretty much all their working lives. They retired the year before last and are really glad they did. So having grown up with two teachers as parents, I know the demands that teachers are under. And like you say the work is never done.

      Rebecca’s mum doesn’t understand her period! 🙂


  2. My husband is a teacher, and I used to be a school nurse. I completely get how exhausting and frazzling teaching is! We constantly hear people saying that teachers are overpaid (mostly because of summers off and shorter at-work hours). Funnily enough, it’s usually people who make twice as much as my husband complaining about it. 😛

    Anyway, I’m sorry for Rebecca that her parents don’t get it. She’s probably right—they wouldn’t get it no matter what career she’d chosen, unfortunately.


    1. I think you’re absolutely right about people earning more than teachers complaining about them. Even my husband doesn’t fully understand how much stress teachers can be under. I think you only realise if someone very close to you is a teacher. Otherwise you just look at all the holidays teachers get and think they have an easy ride, when the reality is so much different.

      Yes I’m sorry for Rebecca too. She’s been a bit of a disappointment to her parents, but it’s not really her fault – it’s more that they can’t accept her for who she is.


  3. Poor Rebecca! My dad was a teacher and I know many teachers. I understand that frazzled feeling. It will be interesting to see how the conflict with her mother continues to play out.


  4. I can totally relate! I taught university for several years, and while you don’t have as many hours in the classroom, there’s still tons of preparation and corrections, not to mention conventions to organize and the whole publish or perish thing … I didn’t get a lot of fiction written during those years.


    1. Oh absolutely, there’s SO much preparation involved with teaching. It’s not a job you can just leave behind at the workplace every day – it’s full on and there’s always more to do. Never been a teacher myself, but like I said I’m the daughter of two teachers so I know what it’s like.

      And I’m not surprised you didn’t get much fiction writing done in those years. Teaching is full on! 🙂


  5. *clears throat, sets up soapbox* Maternal grandmother – college chemistry for 35 years. Maternal grandfather – elementary and middle for 49 years. Paternal aunt – special ed, 30 years. Uncle – ESL/ASL elementary about 15 years. Cousin – middle school, coming up on 10 years. Mother – preschool, briefly. CA BFF – special ed. coming up on 10 years. Self – homeschool, special needs and gifted, with additional experience working with children/adults outside of school, including troubled and disabled kids, 20 years total.

    Yeah. Teaching is rough work.


    About your lovely except, though, too bad about Rebecca’s parents. I always get as little pang of regret for people who have strained relationships with their parents. It’s very well written. I can really hear her internal ugh at the thought of her parents’ visiting, the relief when they decide not to, and the concern? maybe for her sister. 🙂


    1. So not that many people in your family have been teachers then! 😉 Seriously though you’re right, teaching is DEFINITELY rough work. And tough.

      Glad you liked my excerpt. Rebecca’s parents haven’t always made things easy for her, particularly with her choice of career. I think involving them more in the story could be interesting. 🙂


  6. I babysat through my teen years for the four sons of a teacher and a chef.

    I married a chef.

    And we unschool (which takes up all, none, and every between point in my time, because unschoolers don’t have a ‘we’re done learning now’ time each day. Ethics at 4am has happened way more than once!).

    This scene reminded me of being nearly three weeks overdue for my first child, far from family, in Montana. My mother called me from New York to complain bitterly that I hadn’t called her all day and she was worried, and I shouldn’t leave her there so far away and worried, and I’d promised (years before I met my husband or even left New York) that she could be there when my first child was born. (She could have – there are planes and trains and cars, but she didn’t want to travel).

    She had me in tears with the guilt. She offered no comfort at all for an expectant and overdue mother who was scared and overwhelmed…

    You’ve caught that same flavor, here..

    (And yes – Jeremiah did get born, a mere 20 days after his due date, and after 27 hours of unmedicated and unproductive labor, by C – section – all 10 pounds, 2 ounces of him!).


    1. Ah poor you, that sounds absolutely awful. Sometimes parents can be really unhelpful. Mine are generally great but they have their moments and there are things about them that really annoy me!!

      It can be difficult for other people to realise just what we’re going through sometimes, can’t it, just for them to empathise would be nice when we need it. 🙂


  7. Even the most loving families have their “issues”… and it definitely sounds like Rachel’s has theirs. (Though I’ve never been a teacher, beyond homeschooling my son, it only takes looking at all the work that they expect of their students to imagine how much work needs to be done… to deal with the work of each student and then the school administration.).

    And I’m definitely curious about what Rachel is suddenly thinking about her sister…


    1. She’s not envying her sister, Maria, having to deal with their mother, seeing as she (Rebecca) won’t have them to stay. She feels a little bad about effectively dumping her parents on her sister! 🙂


  8. Hahaha, I love the last bit where she mouths “Thank you God!” when her mom finally relents from her insistence on coming over on weekends. Even if her mom doesn’t get how busy a teacher’s life tends to be, you as a writer understand it, and the readers that understand teachers and their lives will appreciate you! 🙂


    1. Glad you were amused! I think for me, as I said above, being the daughter of two teachers I’ve got a lot of sympathy for people who are in the teaching profession. It’s not easy and I’m glad that you think that comes across in my writing! 🙂


  9. Parents that quite don’t understand? I think we’ve all been there. And now that I’m a parent, I’m sorry to admit, I’ll be on the other end eventually (if I haven’t been there yet). I feel for Rebecca! I fear being her mom!


    1. Yes, you’re right, we have all been there. I don’t have children myself, but I can definitely empathise with those who have children finding it a difficult balancing act between being fair and laying down the law sometimes!!

      Obviously, Rebecca and her parents have moved on from that stage in a sense, but I think the parent/child relationship remains even when you’re grown. My parents can sometimes treat me a bit as though I’m still their little girl – which I guess in a way for them I always will be!!


  10. Ah, mothers. We can be so aggravating sometimes! That sense of frustration really comes through in this WIPpet. Love the pic you chose as well – hahaha – I can relate to that feeling!


    1. Thanks a lot Adrian. 🙂 Yes, Rebecca’s relationship with her mum – with her dad too – is strained because they wanted her to take a certain path in life, but she chose another. Thankfully my own parents aren’t like that!


  11. I love this excerpt Elaine. Sounds like a fantastic work in progress. And you got some truly amazing comments on this as well. The relationship between mother and daughter is really well defined even in just those few lines. I loved it. 🙂


    1. Aw thanks Jade, glad you like it. It’s coming along very slowly though, I’m afraid, what with my work situation and editing ‘Reunion of the Heart’. But I’m planning to get back to it properly very soon. 🙂


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