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Being “Busy” Is Not a Badge of Honor

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

“Oh, hey!” I exclaimed to my long-lost mom friend, bumping into her among the throngs of kids escaping the confines of the school grounds on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. “We haven’t seen you guys in forever, how the heck are you?”

“Good, good,” she replied quickly, blowing a few strands of hair off her face. “I mean, we’re just so busy! Just like you, I’m sure — it’s so busy all of the time, isn’t it?”

I’m pretty sure I grimaced at her statement, because truthfully, I’m tired of hearing “we’re so busy!” as the default for every single thing in our modern day mothering lives.

How’s it going as a stay-at-home mom?

Let me guess — busy.

How’s life as a paid working mother?

Wait, don’t tell me — busy.

Do you have little kids, big kids, or pets who think they are kids?

I’ll go out on a limb and take a gander that your life is busy too.

Being “busy” seems to be the be-all and end-all to sum up our lives these days, and I just don’t understand it. It’s like we are trying to out-do each other with the amount of stuff we can pack into each day, hoping for some metaphorical gold star at the end.

Are we trying to prove our worth to each other? Or maybe it’s to ourselves? Or maybe it’s just a knee-jerk reaction now, like instead of replying, “I’m good, thanks! How are you?” we just respond, “I’m so busy, how about you?” Either way, it may be worth taking a second look at what we are portraying when we proclaim our busyness badge of honor to the world.

I mean, let’s be real. If you have the time to be reading this right now, your life is not too “busy.”

Being “busy” has become our default mode for what it means to be a modern-day parent. We create a lot of our own busyness, and hide behind these packed schedules to signal our self-worth.

There was a time in my life when I absolutely longed to be more busy. Staying home with two young kids and a part-time job that I loathed, I remember feeling trapped. Days would stretch on and on when I would have no reason to leave my house. Although I was “busy” with the demands of a toddler and a newborn, I certainly didn’t feel any sense of real satisfaction with my busyness.

Of course, like many things in motherhood, that season of feeling trapped at home ended more quickly than I could have predicted. I am now officially in “busy” season. Some days, I do that once-wished-for school run three times a day, buckling more car seats than I care to count. But still, if I’m being honest, I’m grateful to have those tasks at hand to keep me moving forward.

What many people seem to forget (but I cannot) is that when you’re the one at home with no end in sight to your day, without any tasks that hold any real worth in the outside battle for busyness, it can be so, so hard to feel like you matter.

I hold on to how I felt as a young mother longing for the life of the “busy” Mom, coffee cup in hand, jetting off to soccer practice after popping a quick dinner in the Crockpot, because I know what I was really looking for was a sense of direction in my life that would fulfill me. These days, I hesitate to offer up the standard, “I’m so busy!” or “Free time? What’s that?” mantras that seems to echo on every website, article, and blog.

Because in a lot of ways, a busy life is a gift. If you are living a life filled with activities of your choosing, that bring you happiness, a decent wage, or opportunities to spend leisure time relaxing, you’re actually pretty lucky, am I right? If we are busy to the point of exhaustion or to a point that it’s hurting our health or we can’t find time to do anything that fulfills us, then “busyness” is a problem.

But all of our happy, messy, chaotic, days?

Those aren’t what I think of as a busy life, that’s just what I think of as a full life.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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