12 Oct
Posted in: parenting
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Out of the Busy Race

I’ve officially dropped out of the race for most busy mother. Someone else can take the title.

There are people in my vast circle who bring out the worst in me. You have them too. They want you to see all the balls they’re juggling at any given time. They are constantly on their phones. They want you to know what they’ve had to do without any help from anyone. I’ll find myself spouting off my own to-do list and crammed schedule. I’m done with that trap. It doesn’t matter. None of it. Everyone has their own busy, and listing your own list of busy does more harm than good in this mothering journey.

I knew that our oldest entering high school wasn’t just another chapter for him, but it’s own new novella. So much will change for him in four years. I’ve seen the shift in less than two months into his freshman year. I didn’t know high school was a pivotal life change for me as mom. I’m aware of how fast this active parenting stage of life is moving. I don’t want to busy myself with an endless list of to-dos when what I want to do is enjoy the time I have with children under my roof. I’m out of the race.

We have jobs, four active kids, boards, and volunteering for aforementioned children. Every parent has stuff. It just looks a little different from house-to-house. I felt a shift in how I felt about being busy and what that even means. I’m in a stage of a whole lot of living happening around me. There are constantly needs to be met, children to watch, and projects to finish. Busy is defined as having a great deal to do or keeping occupied.  Shifting from the feeling of constantly being occupied in 100 different ways to giving part of me to someone/something else led me to a revelation. I am going to miss this stage something fierce. The amount of life that happens in my home everyday is a privilege to witness and take part in.

family walking through aspen trees

Sure, I have plenty of boxes of things to check off my list, but a great deal of those things I have to do are life experiences. Picking kids up at different times from different places means I have time with one or two at a time held captive in the vehicle. Driving them around isn’t solely something that has to be done. It’s time I have them, mostly, to myself.  I’m available for them in those cross-town drives. That time is precious with my two teen boys. They’ll talk while they can look out a window and aren’t forced to make eye contact.

Last year, I made a point to weed out parts of life that weren’t adding to the who I wanted to be or how I wanted our family to run. Giving of myself to every cause left nothing for my family. Always saying yes wasn’t worth it. There were things I did mainly so others would see I had given of my time and effort. Those things took away from things and people who were better served by my time and attention. Weeding out that fluff helped lead me to this less anxious stage I’m in now.

In years past, I would look at our schedule and break out in hives. I felt everyone was being letdown. There wasn’t enough of me to give to anyone or anything. The guilt of not being able to volunteer for something at school or missing one of the kids’ activities would gnaw at me. Yesterday one son won his cross country race, and I wasn’t there. Both parents couldn’t make an appearance without stress and possibly yelling for people to hurry up because we have to get across town NOW. Instead, I picked up my daughter from dance and let the race go. Guess what? He won that race without me there, and it was fine. I didn’t apologize for missing the race. I hugged that boy fiercely, congratulated him and made him wear his medal at his brother’s football game. I’m going to miss a football game this week and a few other activities in the next few weeks. Here’s the thing: life keeps going even if I’m not present to witness it, and that’s OK. This is big progress for me who would have lamented for hours about how big of a failure I was as a mother who couldn’t manage to make it to everything everyone does everyday.

Sometimes things have to be prioritized and the chaff put to the wayside to free us from the chains of busy life. This race to do the most is wearing everyone down and setting a sketchy example for our children. The goal in this life is not to do everything all the time. It’s OK if other people do things. It’s fine if you miss a sporting event. It’s alright to say something you’ve done for years is no longer important to who you are now. Let someone else sit on the committee. I promise the world won’t stop spinning if you’re not part of the decision-making process. Turn over the reins friends and let someone else lead.

We don’t have to be busy and occupied at every second. The 30 minutes I sat in the vehicle reading to our daughter while we waited for kickoff instead of checking one more thing off my to-do list was better than squeezing in another errand. I’d rather her remember that than memories of me constantly on the phone. I’ll strive to not fall into the trap of listing my schedule to be the busiest of all in a conversation. I’m not less because someone else seems to be doing more. I’m done offering up a list of things I have to do to prove I have too much going on. Simply saying no to something is enough. No one will care if there’s peanut butter and jelly for dinner occasionally and would be grateful for pizza night in lieu of another crock-pot meal. I am enough just the way I am, even without the title of Most Busy Mom.

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