How many times have we heard, “We’re too busy” in response to a question involving something “fun?” I’ve heard it often form others, and on occasion, as it escapes my own lips. It saddens me how “busy” we are has almost become a mark of social distinction. When did it become fashionable to be so overbooked, stressed out and sleep deprived?
Do our children really need to be shuffled here and there, to activity after activity until they don’t even know how to enjoy down time? What does this way of life do to the development of their little souls? I don’t have children old enough to be involved in activities and sports - yet. I hear so much about this way of life from other mom’s, I can’t help but wonder how I will deal with it when my time comes.
My husband and I worry that too many choices can be oppressing. If one is so busy doing a million different things, how can they really discern and develop the gifts God has given them? As parents, would it be horrible of us to allow our children to try many different things, and then pull them out of the things they aren’t gifted in? This is by no means a criticism of mothers who try to do it all. We all do the very best we can, and that means different things for different families.
Unfortunately, this over booked way of life is tempting to those living the vocation of motherhood. Of course there is always something to be cleaned, made, fixed, organized or packed. It’s the nature of running a living household blessed with little souls. It’s not uncommon to hear women singing the praises of another mother and using phrasing like, “she never sits down, she’s always doing something!” “I WISH I could get as much done as her!” What concerns me is not the state of the bathrooms in the homes of these woman, (as I am sure they are immaculate and ready for unexpected company) but the spiritual lives of the women who are raising our future Church. Time for contemplation and the ability to do so is a skill that improves over time. Time, that one little word defines so much of our lives.
Why are we creating all this busyness? Isn’t the point of working, cleaning, making meals in the kitchen and doing the laundry all in order to have our needs met so we can be able to……..to what? I want to fill in that blank with JOY! We are so busy doing all of these things in life so that we can get them done and enjoy….life! Our blessings and lessons can be found in the work, and the play that NEEDS to follow.
I’ve been praying to find the joy in the things that stress me out. Since I am a firm believer in full disclosure for the sake of relating, here goes:
This week I have a full plate of things to do for work. Although I actually really enjoy my job, there is one aspect of it that makes me uncomfortable. After I write articles on people, I have to give them a title to go on the cover of the newsletter. Generally, these titles need to be really friendly and inviting. Since I’m a bit of a sarcastic person, I call it “campy,” or “hokey.” I’m just not in tune with “happy, happy” things. I have no gage for knowing if something is good or lame, because I think everything is lame.
For this reason, my husband has a love/hate relationship with watching TV commercials with me. ‘DUMB,” “LAME,” and, “PaaaaLEASE!” are words often shouted off the couch - where I sit in my creatively elitist perch. So, in order for me to allow myself to write these types of things on paper without cringing, I enlist the help of my husband each month. Unfortunately, he thinks everything is lame too, so it has become a really fun game for us. This is where JOY entered our incredibly busy weekend. Yes, we would both have rather been sleeping at 1am last night as I was still working. But, instead of me complaining because I have so much to do, or my husband whining about having to take care of the baby so I could get my work done, we played “name that article,” and laughed. God, how we laughed! After going waaaaay too far into cornyville and giggling about what people would think, we chose:
“Does Your Lawn Need a Check Up? Matt’s On Call!”
For an article about a college kid who does landscaping in order to pay for his dream of going to medical school. Get it? I know, we think we're super clever. I actually still think it’s lame, but my husband assured me it’s, “the right amount of lame.” It was a blessing to share this time together. Looking back, we would have missed it if I would not have been working. And, we found the joy in the situation while our living room looked like this:
I know, it’s bad, you can judge if you want, but we’ve got joy in our hearts over here!
Because I knew my husband would be dog tired today from our late night last night, and because I am slightly too tired to chase around my 18 month old, I decided to pack it up and bring joy to daddy’s office this morning. I put the girls in the van, hit the drive through for a dollar large pop to help my hubby get through the day, and surprised Joseph at work! He was thrilled to see us- and thankful for the gift of caffeine! Another joyful moment derived from what we could have decided was a stressful situation.
I pray for the ability to turn all of my stress over to God, leaving more room for Joy to move on in! I pray for joy in your lives as well.