Why are we all so damn busy?
My Wednesdays a month ago used to go like this:
Wake up, feed baby, take dog out, argue with daughter about breakfast selection, feed daughter. Put baby down for nap, take dog out, entertain dog, tell daughter to get dressed and go potty x100, make snack for preschool, make lunch for daughter. Put baby and daughter in car drive 15 minutes to drop off at preschool and 15 minutes home with fussy and tired baby. Take dog out, feed baby and put down for nap. Wake baby up and drop off at Nanas, drive 15 minutes to pick up daughter, fight with her to get her dressed for dance class and go potty. Watch dance class (adorable!), drive to Nanas, pick baby up and go home. Take dog out, make supper, eat supper, chase kids around. Husband gets home, tag team bath times and stories and bed. Do dishes. Lie on the couch and wonder to myself while eating chips, “what happened to my life?!”
After six weeks of awful Wednesdays, along with play dates and gymnastics and more preschool on Tuesdays Thursdays and Fridays, I was starting to feel burnt out and (gasp!) a little grumpy. I didn’t want to be a grown-up anymore. I was ready to up and quit. I even gave my two weeks notice to my threenager but she just told me to get back to work. I really just wanted to lay in our bed for a whole day with zero responsibilities and watch an entire season of Grey’s. Just like I did back in my old dorm room in the pre-kid days when I was hung over and skipping class. The good old days.
But alas, I will have no such luck. My children are here to stay, and they always seem to wake up at the crack of dawn, expecting of me. Expecting me to protect them. To care for them. To feed them, play with them and teach them. I am always supposed to know what to do and what to say. I always do, but sometimes I just don’t want to!
Of course I am thankful for my wonderful children and the dog that we have, but by the time the kids are in bed every night I am done. Will it always be this way? In our current society it’s normal for parents to give up their lives for the recreational habits of their children. We want to see our kids happy and for them to experience as much as possible in life. Seeing their smiles make us happy and that makes our stress worthwhile, right? But aren’t we just breeding a generation full of entitled brats? How much is too much? When does a blessing turn into a curse?
Apparently on my busy Wednesdays. And I’m sure your busy Tuesdays, or your friend’s busy Thursdays. Because all of a sudden we are all busy and we don’t know how not to be. It has become our way of life.
The real eye opener was on an evening after a particularly boring, rainy day. The kids and I literally accomplished nothing all day. I didn’t get any dishes done, didn’t do laundry, we had no outings, and went for no walks. Instead I decided to give in to my three year old boss when my son was napping. I played dinosaurs. I crawled around on the floor pretending to be a dog like an idiot. I threw a ball so she could play fetch. We did a craft (aka I cut shapes out and she glued them on paper– that’s as crafty as this lady gets!) and we coloured together. I really enjoyed spending quality time with my daughter, but I didn’t consider it to be a special day. I had actually felt a little guilty for not “doing” anything with them as most of our days are scheduled full. I felt like I was lazy.
I didn’t think much of our day, that is until my husband came downstairs after reading my daughter bedtime stories. “She said she had a really good day with you”, my husband told me right away. I was in shock. I responded, “Really?! She said that? She never says stuff like that! We didn’t do anything all day!” and his response was, “Yeah, she said it a couple of times actually…”
I spent the rest of the night thinking about it. And most of the day after. And it kept popping into my head for a few days after that. I started looking back on our busy days and realized that I spent much of our time nagging and rushing her because we were going to be late. At one point or another I would get stressed out. But if my daughter’s idea of the perfect day is to stay home with me and make forts and eat popcorn, who was I doing all of this exhausting work for? Why was I shuttling her from one activity to the next? And who was the brainiac who decided in the first place that three year olds should register for sports and dance? How did this become expected of all of us?
So what did I do? I said to hell with busy Wednesdays! We didn’t register for the next session of dance and I took her out of preschool. She goes to my neighbours for the day and spends time with her best friends instead. Voila! Wednesdays are no longer despised by all of us. I no longer feel burnt out, I get to spend quality time with my son (which rarely happens) and my daughter gets to do what she loves. Winning all around.
My kids are still young and it saddens me that the issue of becoming too busy has already reared its ugly head. How do parents with multiple older kids in a couple sports each survive? How do they cook dinner and have family meals? How do they have time to help with homework? Do they see their spouses? Nothing ever seems like it’s good enough or that we are doing enough. We are making our lives so much harder than they actually have to be, to please everybody but ourselves. Why?
So please, can we all just stop being so busy and enjoy our family before our kids grow up and move out? If you need me tomorrow you can find me in my fort eating popcorn. I highly encourage that you make one too!
Do you have any encouraging words for other parents? Any advice on how to survive in our busy world? Share in the comment section below!