Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thoughts on Busyness

I used to lament when looking at my calendar and seeing how empty it was. It didn't feel like I was very important. Now, I'm thankful for those empty squares. Busyness is a good way to hide. To hide from the dailyness of life. Life is wrought with problems, and annoyances, and, especially for the woman at home, repetitiveness that can become mind numbingly boring. But is filling up our calendar with one commitment after another the answer to making life more interesting or less daily? Might it just be that this leads to ever more dissatisfaction as our homes and relationships spiral into chaos? Is a better answer found in carving out solitude? Time to be, time to pray, time to read a good book, time to journal, time to get to the heart of who we are. I now take pride in keeping some breathing room in my calendar. I'm getting better at saying no to some things (working the school carnival) and yes to others (dear husband taking the kids to the pool on Sunday afternoons) without feeling guilty. I see the evidence all around me of kids who are too busy, of moms who are too busy, of dads who are too busy. The kids can't concentrate on school work because they are so tired from running around to "enrichement" activities every afternoon. The moms can't even begin to think of having friends in because their houses are so chaotic (who do you think is doing the shuttling for the kids activities). The dads are missing out on their kid's childhoods as they travel 20+ days a month or work 10-hour days. Sadly we carry busyness around as a status symbol these days. The harm this does to our family relationships and our children's long-term emotional health is becoming more and more apparent every day. I, for one, have found giving up the busyness badge of success to be a blessing.


Jen said...

I was just thinking about you and wondering how you are enjoying this beautiful weather today. I'm in heaven.

Your post is so true. I know quite a few women who are like that with themselves and their families. Sometimes I think people think it is a status sybol to over-schedule their kids. Sometimes I think it's because they don't actually want to spend time with them. Either way it is very sad for them all. I think you and I are a lot alike in our values.

Hope your day is wonderful. Jen

Splaneyo said...

We struggle with this a lot. My husband works and I stay home with the kids. He is gone a lot, occasionally traveling, but mostly just working. As a result, we do not eat dinner as a family and there are many nights he does not see the kids before they go to bed, but as a result I get to stay home with the kids. It is a vicious circle.
I do know the scheduling types though - I am not one. I think some of those people think they are doing what is best, but what they fail to realize is they are doing it for their kids and not with their kids and there is a big difference.

Mrs. Pivec said...

As always, I am totally with you on this point! :)

We have 2 weekly events and that is enough for me! We all love staying home and though we've tried different activities from time to time, they really don't stick.

We've got a homeschool co-op this year, weekly, and a P.E. group weekly and that's it. Bi-weekly, I've got my knitting group and a Bible study, but that's just me and both are more relaxing than anything else.

Childhood is such a short period of time for freedom from schedules. I wonder why we adults are always in such a hurry to thrust those upon our children?

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Preach it! You're speaking my language...busyness isn't a badge of honor--wish I'd learned that earlier in my life.

And those empty days on the calendar are so vitally important for my well-being and my family's. We need down time together--time to be spontaneous and enjoy one another without feeling rushed.

It makes me sad that so many people have stopped having others into their homes. I love being invited to someone's house for dinner--but it doesn't happen very often. We try to invite people in--though school nights make that hard.


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