Hold on to your hats, parents: people with no children just may be busier than you.
Please take this moment to swear at me, tell me where to go, think I’m insane. Good? Okay, let’s continue.
I started blogging a few years ago because almost on a daily basis I reflected on the fact that this parenting thing is so overwhelming that it seemed parents were too busy being overwhelmed to tell anyone the truth — that it’s overwhelming! A strong urge rumbled within my belly – TELL EVERYONE! Don’t hold back. We’re not talking about a warning here, but there seems to be a severe lack of truthful information about parenting floating around the planet. I knew more about the benefits of kale from reading parenting books than the reality of what it’s REALLY like to “expect” a human — including your lower regions turning into a war zone for a couple weeks: Why do I need stool softeners?! What’s happening down there?!
Admittedly, now that I have two children who are six and three, I have every so often found myself doing an internal eye roll when my single pals with no children moan to me that they are SO BUSY. I bite my tongue because I’m not a jerk and frankly, I’m all for public displays of getting it out of your system, regardless of whether you’re a parent or not.
But after spending 10 days without my kids for a recent work project I think I finally have to admit that I AM less busy when I’m with my family. How is this possible? I have three other people to care for, think about, worry about, make dinner for, do laundry for, repeat things to over and over and over again, etc., etc. But here’s the rub…
I just do less other stuff when I’m parenting. I say no. My priorities shift and I do things like make sure the entire evening is clear for us all to just sit on the couch and watch a movie. When I’m flying solo (and yes, this could partly be because I’m alone for multiple days for the first time in while) I’m filling my calendar: Running out to meetings, catching plays, shoving in lunches, googling activities not to miss — MY FEET ARE KILLING ME. I’ve even started googling sites to find out more about orthotics. When I’m parenting I’m still running, but I’m usually running home to peel apples or something. Apple peeling is the closest thing I know to meditation (But I’m still too busy to figure out how to meditate). My children have tiny legs so I actually have to slow down to walk alongside them. Sometimes they ask me to watch a TV program with them about turtles — turtles are SLOW. Sitting there staring at turtles slows my heart rate. I can honestly say in the past 6 years I’ve watched a dozen documentaries about turtles (thank you public programming). Would I do this if I didn’t have kids? Doubtful. I’m sure I’d be running….
So go forth and multiply. Sure, you may have to watch Finding Nemo seven thousand times, but it may be more relaxing than you think.
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