Everywhere I turn moms (and women in general) are living in a world of being overplanned, overworked and simply put- burnt out by all the things that supposedly bring them joy.
So why does every conversation start like this…
Hey! Haven’t seen you in awhile, how are you? “Oh I’m great! Soooooo busy with the kids this and that (insert laundry list of to-do’s), followed by a dramatic face and sigh.
Maybe this is you. I know it’s been me. And if it is, I hope you keep reading. I just can’t help but get cringe every time “I’m so busy” is said. It never fails. How are you? How’s your week? Want to meet up? Or maybe a playdate for the kids? Too many conversations start off with how busy life is. I caught myself saying it recently and afterward I thought, “Wow, that was an automatic response”.
Busy is something we all have in common
Simply stated, being a mom means you are busy. Whether you have a baby, toddler, young kids, middle-schoolers or high-schoolers… it doesn’t matter. Kids at every age take up our time, our attention, our mind and of course – our time. We’re all wearing the busy badge. Some more loud and proud than others, but seriously- we’re all in the same club. And quite frankly- I am trying to get out of it.
Can you free yourself from always being busy? Are you willing to prioritize what matters most and Actually free yourself from the “busy-ness”.
It’s time to take back control. The reality is you chose how busy you (and your family) are. Yes, there might be circumstances beyond control, but kids aren’t the ones registering themselves for sports and after school activities. We as parents perpetuate the busy-ness for not only ourselves but our kids too.
More free time for kids
Whatever happened to playing outside? Or being stuck in the house with a sibling and no playdate (gasp!)? Can’t we let our kids spend a few hours with no plans, TV or devices to entertain? There are countless articles, books, and research that suggest open play and creativity are actually really good for kids. And I’d venture to say adults would benefit just as much, if not more. Hence, the recent uptick of adult coloring books. At first, they sounded silly to me, but I can see how they help adults relax.
When we plan every minute of every day of every week (and I’ve been there), we self-impose routines that leave us exhausted, moody and devoid of happiness. It contradicts the sort of parent I want to be. And if we’re feeling busy, how do the kids feel?
Unintentionally kids are being conditioned at a young age that structure is needed ALL. OF. THE. TIME. I want them actively doing something they enjoy, but not over-involved to the point of burnout, moodiness, sleep-deprived or getting behind in school. I also want family time- to go to church, sleep in or just have a meal uninterrupted.
They are watching us people. Listening to every word. Soaking up all we do- big or small, right or wrong. Being constantly busy is the fast lane to burnout.
Remember that feeling of knowing you have NOTHING planned for the weekend? Close your eyes and go there for a minute. When was the last time you had NO games, NO practices, NO birthday parties? How good did it feel to just unwind with a night in? Or do something impromptu with the family?
So what to do about it?
Maybe you’ve mastered the art of NOT being busy. Or maybe you’d like to get rid of the busy badge and take back control of your family’s calendar. Here are three questions to ask yourself:
- How can you create intentional space in your family’s calendar?
- What will you say NO to?
- What would you and your family do with more free time?
Being busy isn’t a state of being… it’s something we control and influence. Make time for the things that are important to you and your family. Try balancing structured activities with free time to just be. Free. Nowhere to go. Happy. Whatever you want to be, just BE.