There are normal busy families. And there are over-the-top busy families.
Which one are you?
If you are reading this, perhaps you already know.
I’ll be blunt. I think being a busy person is fine. We all have kids, jobs, interests, friends, activities, and so on. I am busy that way, too.
But staying in a constant state of extraordinarily busy is not a good thing. For one, it isn’t healthy. But it doesn’t add to life satisfaction, either.
Last time I checked, being busy doesn’t make anyone happier, better looking, more popular, richer, thinner or smarter. Being busy doesn’t make children better than anyone else’s children. And unless I’ve missed something, I’m not finding any studies proving that being busy makes anyone a better parent or a better homeschooler, either.
It’s as if someone out there, somewhere, was awarding points for being busy. And lots and lots and lots of people, primarily women, are frantically trying to earn those points.
I have some bad news. There aren’t any points. You don’t get prizes, either.
In fact, the only reward for ultra busy is exhaustion and a thousand lost opportunities.
As I said before, not good. So, what’s going on?
I think there are several things at once. See if any describe you. See if maybe — just maybe – my words can act a springboard for change.
Being busy outside the home, I purport, at least for some, appears to be a reason (dare I say — excuse?) for not doing what they probably ought to be doing instead. Isn’t there a saying about being alone with yourself? Are there possibly folks worried about being home alone, having to keep the kids busy all day? Perhaps those that prefer not to have to plan a difficult lesson or face teaching a difficult subject? Could there be people who’d rather not have to clean the house (go to work, pay the bills, wash the dog, whatever it may be) today? Could they be avoiding that stack of bills, list of phone calls, or whatever else they’re dreading to do? Certainly going out and keeping busy can be exhausting, but at times can be a whole lot more fun than staying home.
Next, I wonder, is there is some kind of philosophy floating around that goes something like this: “If I expose my children to more things, my children will eventually get good at more things.” Think about this one, because it all depends on the definition of “good”. If getting good at something just means knowing about it, then I suppose this makes sense. But if it means gaining some level of mastery, enjoyment, or seeing some future in the possibility of continuing the activity, then it’s preposterous. There’s always a chance a child may pick up a skill by taking a class or going to weekly lessons. But, there are plenty of skills kids pick up at home, too — many that start right in the living room (or on the computer, playing in the yard, watching educational television, or by reading a book) without having to leave the house at all.
Finally, I think women in particular need to recognize their own need to get out more often. I assert that some moms live through their children, keeping them very busy in order to experience the activity themselves. Or, by keeping children busy as a way to satisfy their own social or emotional needs — that is, while the child is busy, mom gets to interact with the other moms.
There is nothing wrong with being busy. I mean no disrespect to others who are. But if you find yourself in the over-the-top category of busy, especially if you aren’t happy with how hectic your life has become, take my words to heart. Slow down. Say no once in a while. And find other ways to satisfy social needs if those exist. Your children will not suffer a bit. In fact, they’ll appreciate having you more than all of the other things you do.
What do you think about all of this? Are you comfortably busy? Or are you out there earning points?
I’d love to hear from you — please leave a COMMENT!
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