“I don’t have time.”
“I’m so busy.”
I try hard to never utter these sentences.
Having three children so young and so close in age means that yes, my days are sometimes a bit hectic. I can’t tell you how many times someone has looked at me with my three girls and said something like, “Whoa! You’ve got your hands full! You must be so busy!”
But I’m not any more busy than most people. In fact, it seems to me I’m actually less busy than many people I know. When you have little kids, you have a different kind of busy. Or maybe busy isn’t even quite the right word for it. Maybe “frazzled” would be better, or “scatterbrained.” I might look busy when I’m running and/or wandering around like a crazy lady, because I can’t quite wrap my head around what I was supposed to be doing just now, due to the fact that my brain has not had a moment of quiet for the past seven hours. Between the sibling squabbles and top-of-the-lungs singing, throwing fits (mostly them) and reading out loud, “Mama, can you be Prince Charming?” and “I have to go potty!!!”, “I’m so hungry!” and “Mama, Mama, Mama, MAMA!,” I often have difficulty forming coherent sentences or remembering where I am, which might make me appear a bit harried at times, which might be mistaken for busy.
Moms have lots of stuff to do, but I can’t say that I’m super busy.
But that’s not why I try not to say, “I’m so busy” and “I don’t have time for ____.”
A few months ago I was busier. Miss was in preschool twice per week and I had to drive 25 minutes each way to take her to school. Both older girls were in gymnastics and Miss was taking swimming lessons. We had a weekly playdate with good friends. Add in grocery shopping, cleaning house, cooking, yadda, yadda. There was lots to do.
I made a choice to take Miss out of preschool and life began to feel much less busy.
I. Made. A. Choice.
I chose to take Miss out of school for many reasons, which didn’t necessarily include becoming less busy. But the reduction in rushing and running was a welcome result. I realize that taking kids out of school or other activities isn’t something that others would want or be able to do. But my point is this:
We have time for that which we make time.
If something is a priority, we make the time to do it.
Sometimes I’m very tempted to say, “I’m don’t have time to exercise.” But I do. I really do. The truth is, sometimes I’m just too tired. Or too lazy. Or I prefer to sit on my rear and read a book during the brief and precious time that my kids are napping. “I prefer,” not “I don’t have time.” Yes, it would feel better to say, “I don’t have time,” because then it could feel more like I wasn’t responsible for my lack of exercise. But I want to take responsibility for, and thus control of, the choices I make for my life.
Here’s another example. I’m in three book clubs. I don’t go to all of them monthly, but frequently do attend two, and one I never miss. Very often when other members and I have invited friends to join a book club, we get a response of something like, “I’d love to, but I don’t have time to read.”
I try not to get offended by this, because I’m pretty sure the people who make these statements aren’t trying to say, “I am way more busy than you if you have time to sit around and read books! Loser!” No. I’m sure no one means that.
But the thing is, I have time to read books because I love to read books. Reading is a huge priority to me. The book club I never miss? Priority. Same thing with this blog. Priority.
I make time to do the things that are important to me.
Reading, blogging, cooking, playing with and teaching my kids, quality time with my husband. Exercise. Yeah, I’m working on that last one.
Sometimes my life can feel busy. Sometimes I feel rushed, especially when trying to get three kids into winter gear and out the door in time to make it to a swimming class. Sometimes I get so focused on the end goal – lunch on the table, kids in bed, or whatever, that I forget to have fun with my girls in the process. I’m working on slowing down. Feeling less pressed. Being more mindful. Enjoying small moments.
Avoiding the “I’m so busy”/”I don’t have time” temptation is one of the ways I’m trying to accomplish this. If I don’t say and believe “I’m soooo busy,” I think I’m less likely to feel that way.