About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Six Benefits of Not Working

   In March, I stopped working at the direction of my doctor and with the approval of the state of California.  Living with a chronic medical condition meant I couldn’t keep teaching.  Without the stress of my full-time job, I would hopefully experience much less pain and overall more comfortable days.

   And sometimes that has happened, but it doesn’t happen everyday.  My autoimmune disease isn’t something that can be cured.  Pain doesn’t just disappear; but hopefully it can be eased, and I can feel some relief.   

   In the meanwhile, I have discovered six additional health benefits to not working.  Here they are:

  1. More sleep.  I am able to get into bed earlier because I am not staying up late to grade papers or lesson plan.  Additionally, I am sleeping later each morning because I don’t have to set my alarm as early as I did when I was teaching.
  2. Emptier bladder.  Teachers can’t use the restroom when the feeling strikes.  We have to hold it, and I’ve been told, that teachers have a high rate of urinary tract infections.  Not working and having more relaxed daily schedules means I can use the restroom when I need to.
  3. Fuller stomach.  When hunger strikes, I couldn’t grab a granola bar while I was reading a short story in our fifth grade anthology.  Theoretically, I ate when my students did (recess and lunch).  But, even then, those weren’t guaranteed meal times for teachers.  There are discipline issues to resolve, phone calls to return, copies to make.  A twenty minute recess is not always even time to accomplish tasks and eat a snack.
  4. Less stress.  My days are much more relaxed.  I am no longer responsible for thirty plus children, but just my son.  Teaching is a highly stressful job, and this time off has made me realize how different I was when I was teaching (over-extended, over-exhausted, over-whelmed).
  5. Fewer expenses.  My monthly income is substantially lower, but I am also spending less.  My son is attending kindergarten, so I no longer pay for childcare.  And I am spending less on my shopping trips.  I was always spending my own money on items for my classroom (paper towels, antibacterial soap, baby wipes) and on items for my students (pencils, books, folders).  
  6. More me-time.  When I was teaching, my day started at 5:15 each morning and ended usually around 11:00 each evening.  During that stretch of time, most of my energies were dedicated to others -- my students, my son, my husband.  Now, with me not working and my son in school, I have a chunk of time that is “me time.”  Time for me, to savor a blended mocha, to do some writing, and to read my novel.  

   Everything happens for a reason, or so people say.  When I’m in one of my pain episodes (tears streaming, body throbbing) I wonder why I was burdened with this disease.  But, in other moments, when the pain is manageable, I am beginning to see that I can look at my disease and try to find the benefits, try to adapt, try to be brave and re-imagine my life.


  1. It kills me that you have been stricken with this very painful medical condition.I am glad you finally retired from teaching(even though your doctor advised you to do so much sooner than you did).I had hoped your days will be more pain free which I see aren't the case,but I hope and pray the pain does ease up for you.I love reading your work.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  2. Honey,
    I am so glad that you are home now. It was very tough seeing what you went through with juggling teaching and your medical condition. I Love you with all of my heart!

  3. I am so happy you have more time to sleep, eat, and pee!!! I miss teaching with you more than anything in the world. Thank you for being such a great partner and friend.

  4. I am glad you have more time for yourself.I know it was hard for you to retire from your teaching.I wish you luck with all your writing.Your mother and I are proud of you.