Why I Deleted “Busy” From My Vocabulary

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear “the word”: BUSY. I hear it from my patients, our family, our friends, and myself! Is it just me or does it seem that everyone is so extraordinarily busy these days???

I initially started thinking about this word when I noticed myself saying it repeatedly at different times throughout the week. A friend would ask, “How was your weekend?” Without thinking twice, I’d say, “Busy…..(followed up by elaborating on what we did)”. “What are you guys up to these days? I’d reply, “Ah, well, you know…..life is busy (followed by an elaboration on jobs, school and activities)”. When you think about it, how often do we find ourselves saying, “Oh, we’re just so busy….busy, busy….always busy!”???

Sometime last year, I honestly started to get annoyed at hearing my own self say the word “busy” more than I cared to hear. All of a sudden, I seemed acutely aware of “the word” but not in a good way….in a convicting way. Since then, I’ve seemed to notice and hear it more and more everywhere I turn…from strangers and close mommy friends alike. It’s almost like “busy” is contagious…..a virus within our culture that’s spreading and can’t be stopped. As I’ve stewed over this word, it’s made me think…..do we mamas take pride in being busy? Does proclaiming this sort of life where our calendars stay extra full allow us to proudly wear a “busy badge of honor”? Or, does rushing from one thing to the next validate us and prove our worthiness that we are indeed rocking this motherhood gig? Because, well, if we’re not packing our schedules to maximum capacity, then we must not be doing enough, right?!?!

(Not true, sister.)

I mean, yes, motherhood is busy: laundry, meals, potty training, homework, and the list goes. But, that’s not the kind-of “busy” I’m talking about….I’m talking about the “busy” we can control. Our control of the yes’s and no’s. As I continue to work to refine this area in my own life, I’ve come to this epiphany:

For everything I say “yes” to, I’m saying “no” to something else.

If I say “yes” to heading up that committee, it might be saying “no” to being able to give my son one-on-one time on certain weeknights. If I say “yes” to too many extracurriculars, it might mean saying “no” to home cooked meals. I’ve learned how crucial it is for me to protect my yes’s…..choosing them wisely and without worrying what others think.  

And, let me tell you, learning to say “no” is a hard discipline to refine when you’ve always been a “yes girl”. As a mom who’s trying to grip the reins on busyness, the hardest part for me has been saying “no” to things that are good. There can be things that come along that are noble and wonderful and great opportunities and good for our families – but it can be too much. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing when we feel the need to say an “obligatory yes” to everything.  As the schedule keeper of our family, I’ve learned how important it is for me to fiercely guard the pages of my calendar for the sake of my people.

All this being said, I’ve recently felt the need to shift my vocabulary and consciously delete the word “busy” from my daily conversations.

Because the truth is, I equate the choice to accept a crazy busy life as being one that has historically left me tired, stressed, overwhelmed and hoping that there’s more to life than this one speed of overdrive.

And, when I hear someone say they had a relaxing weekend or that they “just stayed home” for a change, it feels like a breath of fresh air.  Like someone else’s slowness is permission for me to choose slowness as well.  And, then I realize that maybe margin and white space is what we all need a little more of these days.

Although I’m still a work in progress, I’m choosing not to just accept the busy phenomenon that’s surrounding us because “that’s just the way life is” – because it’s not and it doesn’t have to be. We get to decide what we say “yes” or “no” to, and it’s never too late to make a change. We always have the freedom to go in a different direction if we decide it’s not right for us, our child or our family as a whole. And, yes, maybe that means we miss out on this and that……but being intentional about saying “no” to the things that are not a good fit only allow us to find the joy and fulfillment in saying “yes” to the things that we truly value and fire us up!

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