Busy has become the new norm. Especially for mums.
I appreciate our mothers were busy as were theirs before them. But don't you agree there's a heightened level of expectation placed on women in 2020? Regardless of work roles, family structure, pandemic or no pandemic, mothers are 'on' from sun up to sun down.
This culture of 'busy-ness' is not the result of any one system and it's certainly not a reflection of mothers individually or collectively. It's been a gradual incline. The opportunity for a new extra curricular activity here and the need to work out of the home there. Busy-ness is increased by social comparisons via online platforms as well as newly developed options. When did announcing a baby's gender become another task to plan and implement? And who's it benefitting anyway?
Busy-ness is real. For sure.
Cooking, washing, children racing this way and that. Tears to dab dry, faces to clean, people to please and hearts to heal. A mothers role is that of counsellor, decision-maker, chef, educator, partner, daughter, friend. I'm certain you can list a hundred more responsibilities pulling you in every which direction.
Is 'busy' how you refer to your life? Perhaps your label differs and this feeling is more evident in your life when you state 'there's not enough hours in the day'? or when you here yourself ask in exasperation, 'can't I just have one minute to myself?!'
Although we're living in a time where our lives can be controlled, scheduled or automated at the click of a button (thank you click & collect for giving me back an hour of my week), I'm not convinced it's stopping our busy-ness. That's because I believe the only way we can stop being 'busy' is to acknowledge and assess the following:
B - BOUNDARIES.
When you become 'busy' does it show physically? Your movements might become faster and heavier. Plates are returned to cupboards with less care as you move with such speed, you could soon sign up for a local fitness event ... and win first place! Or are your signs of busy-ness more like the grinding of teeth and words that are spoken in a sharper and more direct tone than you intended? There's possibly a heaviness, yet shortness to your breathing as your mind ticks through a million tasks. What's your way of doing busy, because you'll have signs when you go looking for them? Us humans, we're clever like that. We leave clues.
When I begin to notice these signs in myself (yes, I'm prone to the label of 'busy' too), I recognise I've reduced my boundaries and taken on more than I should. And I'm confident to say you will have too. Or perhaps you've never had boundaries before and the culmination of that is starting to take it's toll? A lack of personal and/or professional boundaries are a one-way ticket to the undesirable land of Busy.
U - Unclear
Being unclear of what matters in a day or in a lifetime impacts busy-ness. This is because a lack of clarity opens the opportunity for you to say yes when the answer that was most needed was 'no' or 'not right now'. Feelings of 'I should', and care for others take precedence over your needs. Does putting the needs of others before your own sound familiar?
To reduce the impact of lack of clarity on feelings of being busy, practice asking yourself, 'what matters?' And I mean, what REALLY matters? Apply this thinking to both immediate situations such as tantrums or bath time, or your bigger life goals like showing your children what's possible for them, and allow these answers to inspire your actions.
S - stillness (or lack-there-of)
I get the irony here. We're discussing the topic of being busy, yet I'm asking you to be still. After two and a half decades of parenting, four and a half decades of living and over two decades working in the field of education and/or personal development, I'm asking you to trust me on this one. The more busy you are, the harder it is to slow. And unless you slow, you're unable to quiet the deafening sound of your mind to hear the whisper of your heart.
Can you remember spinning yourself on a swing, twisting the ropes or chains as tight as possible and then when let go, you spin out of control? Or when you make a whirlpool by walking laps and laps until soon, the current carries you unassisted. This is a little like the busy-ness of your life. It's got control over you. Only in the stillness can you reset and decide your next action.
Y - You
This mightn't be what you want to hear, but all mothers on their empowered journey know it's up to them to create the life they want to live, to feel the feelings they want to feel, to experience the moments, the memories and the meaning that MATTERS.
Decision-fatigue is real. But so is minimalism.
You get to choose in this one precious life - not everything that happens to you, but certainly enough to challenge your busy-ness - and I urge you with every fibre of my being, begin today. Begin to reassess your days, your routines, your yes's and the yearning of your soul. Is your body crying to rest? Is your heart longing for compassion? You are the answer and this is your permission note to come back to you.
Motherhood does not have to equal busy to the point of regret and resentment. Nor does your life. How do you want to live and how can you lean into that? And if you can't reduce your responsibilities, try changing your language to something other than busy, like full, rich or purposeful. Regain inspiration for this season of your life!