Who’s up for a little game of “Choose Your Own Adventure”? Come on, let’s play!
You run into a mom friend at………:
a. A birthday party
b. The grocery store
c. Soccer practice
d. The liquor store
You greet each other by………:
a. Squealing into a boob-smooshing hug
b. Awkwardly leaning in for the hug, pulling back for a second cuz’ you’re not sure if you’re “hugging friends” yet, then just going for it
c. Smiling politely and saying “hi”, scanning your memory for their name…..
d. Pretending you didn’t see them because you’re exhausted and just didn’t feel like talking
Then you ask, “How are you?”, and they say………:
a. “I’m sooooo busy” – this is the “Poor Me” busy that comes with a deep sigh, an exasperated eye roll, and a body slump that looks like a deflated balloon.
b. “Busy!” – this is the “Self-Satisfied” busy, who is so proud of how much she’s got going on she will run you through the full list of things she’s doing and the calendar of events.
c. “Ugh…..busy…” – this is the “I Give Up” busy, who says it like it’s obvious, that there shouldn’t be a question of the fact that she is sooo…..apathetically….busy.
d. “So BUSY!!!!” – this is “Angry” busy, who will tell you all about how crazy work is, how many stupid things the school sends home for her kids, and how she doesn’t have time to do anything in a cloud of thunderous complaining.
“I’m so Busy!”
Before I get going about Busy, let’s be clear that I do this too. I am not about to sit on a shiny pedestal and talk about how all the other moms are doing this and I am exempt. That would be bull-shit, and totally annoying for you to read. Okay, back to it.
Why does this happen? Why is it so common (almost predictable) for moms to answer the “how are you” question with their state of busy-ness?
For the majority of moms I believe this happens because we feel like there’s no other way. I have a huge amount of empathy for that because I know what it’s like to feel like life is completely out of your control; like there’s no other option than being busy - that the anger, apathy, and sadness that all come up are a response to being in a situation where you feel completely helpless.
I mean honestly, with kids, work, the house, responsibilities, commitments….. how is it possible for anyone to NOT feel busy?
And that is my major beef with “Busy” – it has us all playing the role of victim and martyr. When we're “Busy”, we're not making choices. It’s this world where we are all stuck, running around doing things we don’t want to do, and even if we like the things we’re doing, we’re moving so quickly we don’t enjoy them. Busy keeps us in robot mode; just a bunch of floating heads totally detached from our current experience or our emotions because there’s no time for it and we’re too focused on the next thing we NEED TO DO!
Whew! I feel exhausted just writing that.
Then layer on top of that, our culture glamorizes being busy. We measure our value by how much we’ve got going on; this is the new way moms are unconsciously competing with each other - Who’s the busiest? Who’s the most run down? You’re obviously not doing it right if you’re not completely exhausted at the end of each day. We compare our busy-ness in an effort to connect with each other, when really all we’re doing is keeping our selves distant and stuck.
But, what if there WAS a choice? What if we all decided to stop participating?
I feel like very soon you may see me standing on a soapbox at the corner of my office building, shouting at the top of my lungs,
“Ladies!!! Look at what this is doing to us! This isn’t what life is about!
You have a choice. You ALWAYS have a choice.
Put down your “Busy” badge of honor and stop! It doesn’t have to be this way, but it’s not going to change unless we decide to do it differently.
Do less stuff! Slow down! Say NO!
Let's all cheer each other on when we take a break! For the love of all things holy, I am begging you.
The world needs us to be here, and we just aren’t when we're stuck being Busy.”
Because the fact is, the minute we stop participating in Busy, it will set all of us free.
So here’s my request: See if you can remove the word “busy” from your language for one week. Notice every time you go to say it, and then pause….. Take that moment to breathe and be aware of what you’re choosing.
Do this from a place of love - no “busy-shaming” please. My anger about this is not directed at you or any one person; it is Righteous Anger focused at a habit that is no longer serving us, and needs a new clear boundary.
I’m building a big ol’ fence around our deepest selves, and Busy is not fucking welcome.
“I love being productive. I love being connected. I love being of service.
Being busy doesn’t honour any of that at all.”
- Chela Davison