Saturday, July 21, 2012

Busy, Busy {what is busy}

It is rare for me to go out in public with my kids & not get comments from strangers.
Most of the time people say, "Wow!  You have your hands full!"
I just smile with an eyebrow raised & answer, "Yep!"
It's true.  I have my hands full.  My life feels full.
Full, but not busy.
When people comment, "My aren't you a busy lady!" 
I don't give the same answer of agreement.
Recently I was asked how I was doing and I think I gave the notso brilliant answer, 
"I'm good."
Descriptive right?  So she asked what we've been up to.
I said, just having regular, nice summer, with nothing interesting to report.
She listed off a bunch of things that one does when they are parent & said,
 "See, you've been busy.  You are always very busy!"
I think she wanted me to know that my time was not being wasted.
She seemed to be trying to encourage me, as if I may feel worth more if I were busy.

The truth is, I don't feel busy.  I don't see our life as busy.  
Loud?  Often.  Chaotic?  At times.  Full of worth?  Yes!

Did you read the NYT article, The Busy Trap?  
(It's a few weeks old.  I'm slow to mention my thoughts.  
What can I say?  I'm just slow.  It is not because I've been too busy.)
And my bloggy friend Annie wrote some good words about the Irony of the Busy Trap, too.

When you ask most people how they are doing, what do they usually answer?
"Busy!"  Right?
Is that good?  When most people say "Busy!" they don't sound too happy about it.
They sound a bit harried.  The tone sounds like it wasn't what they want for themselves.
So many are so busy.

What do you think of busy?  
The good, the bad & ugly.

I see busy as harried & cluttered movement.
I think of "busy" as stress that outweighs the purpose of it all.
Busy may look like too much good stuff going on that we can't be present in any of it.
A busy life seems like a life that has no leftover space in it.

We may have some craziness around here with 4 little kids,
but we still have space for rest.  
Not just on a rare occasion.  Every day we take time to rest.
We usually get a fair amount of sleep.  
Scott & I have time of rest after the kids are in bed.
We have time of rest as a family, all 6 of us.
We sit in the yard & watch the birds.
We play marble run.  We bake cupcakes.
We eat dinner at the table.
We read books.  We take walks.  
We hold babies on laps & snuggle bigger little ones, too.

We also break up fights & calm crying.
We repeat the same exhortations again & again.
We clean spills & messes (& sometimes we let them sit a while.)
It is common that I don't wash the pots & pans until they are required for their next use.
We eat Subway for dinner sometimes.
Sometimes I do get stressed & freak out.  I am short with my kids.
I brush aside their chatter so I can get my stuff done.

Mostly I think that life feels busy & hard to do,
when I fail to keep some leftover space.
We need space leftover for all of the unknowns.   
All the stuff we can't predict & control.
Space for the other people we are living our lives with.  
Space to just be.  Space to rest.
A blank space on the calendar.

Last summer my bloggy friend Sarah Bessey wrote a piece about 
Leaving Space in the Margins, as part of her Practices of Mothering series.
It is very worth a read by non-mothers, too.  I think it applies to all of us in our lives.
(And while you are at it, her entire Practices of Mothering series is worth a read.)

I know I haven't been blogging much lately.
(And I'm not sure if what I just blogged made a speck of sense.)  
I haven't been too busy.  I've just been doing other things.
No big summer trips.  Just a few fun outings so far.
We are hoping to get a little vacation of sorts in before school starts, though.
Even when we have been taking it easy this summer, 
it still seems like time goes by quickly.  Right?  
Once you start seeing the end of July it feels like, "wait!  where did summer go?"

I hope you all are finding time & space to enjoy your life right now!
Tell us about it.


Stef said...

Ahhhh, the busy answer. I love that one. I never know how to respond when people say "busy" after I ask how they've been.
We have definitely had one FULL month. There's been more than 3 things on each day of the calendar and as enjoyable as its been, its made all 6 of us miss our regular, mundane day-to-day lives :)

I think busy can often be busyness that is good and profitable and it can sometimes be busyness that just fills empty space. I like to sit with Jason and weed that stuff out of our lives. We often have the "what needs to go" talk. What TV shows are lame and are totally wasting our time, what activities do we need to say no to, what amount of Internet time do we need to say good bye to, etc... how can we take out the empty busyness and fill it with good busyness and also put in that great time of rest and enjoyment as a family.

Anyway, good post!

Erin said...

Stef - I love your points that some of the things that we think are "rest" like tv & fb & stuff is really just more stuff to fill our time.