As moms, we juggle a ridiculous number of competing priorities, but being busy is not a badge of honor. Being a mom is the most complicated, time-consuming, stressful, all-encompassing brilliant passion of my life. So, I get that moms are busy. What I don’t understand is why, as moms, we’re so proud of how busy we are. Why do we celebrate being busy?
Let me come clean; I’m guilty of this just like everyone else. I create to-do lists and intend to accomplish ALL. OF. THIS. STUFF. then I get myself all stressed out trying to get it all done. While I’m pulling my hair out trying to complete these projects, I’m secretly loving the stressful frenetic energy I’m generating. I get all hot and bothered just thinking about what it feels like to have a bunch of stuff to do and it FEELS. SO. WONDERFUL. to knock out a bunch of tasks and check them off my to-do list. But see, there’s something wrong with that.
It’s not right.
I’m a mom. And for some reason, instead of working and being busy to support my family by spending time with my kids, cooking, cleaning, blogging, or taking freelance writing jobs, I started working for the thrill of being busy. I loved to see if I can get it all done. Crazy right?
Being busy became a competition with myself.
So one day I sat down with myself. And looking in the mirror, I asked myself, what is wrong with me? Why am I so obsessed with being busy?
It was only then I realized being busy allowed me to feel like I mattered. Like maybe I was achieving something meaningful. Because I just didn’t feel good enough about myself, as a person, without that bag of busy I hauled all over the place. That bag of busy made me feel important. I mattered.
After all, I grew up with She-Ra: Princess of Power and Xena: Warrior Princess. Women weren’t met to be just moms. I couldn’t be “just a mom.” I needed to have it all: a career, a great clean, organized house, a supportive husband. My kids needed to read before pre-school. My body needed to be tight and our family needed to eat clean wholesome foods.
That’s a lot of needs and a ton of pressure.
When I realized that being busy was just my way of proving to myself that I mattered, I just wept.
For the first time, I finally saw being busy for what it is. It’s my ego trick. If I’m busy, then I must still be relevant. I must still matter.
And from what I can tell from my conversations with other moms, I’m not the only mom who’s made a life of being busy. I bet I’m also not the only mom who’s busyness is just her way of proving she’s OK; she’s enough.
Moms, I don’t know when we started minimizing the very act of pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing. Because I do it. Somehow, the act of being a mom is no longer significant. We push ourselves and compete against what we see other moms doing until we’re strung-out on to-do lists. We don’t even realize we do it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a full life and admirable to be ambitious. And it’s wonderful to choose to climb the corporate later, cook whole foods for your family, or eliminate plastic from your home. You can do all of it or some of it if that’s your choice.
Do you thrive off to-do list? Go to town and while you’re at it, take mine too. But at the end of the day, make sure you’re choosing to do these things because you want to for your own happiness or to support your family—because you want to—not because you’re just trying to make yourself feel more important or prove to yourself, to other moms, or to anyone else that you’re significant.
You already are immensely significant.
Moms are some of the most important people in the world (sorry dads). Through us, life is created and nurtured.
Being busy doesn’t define who we are as moms. What defines us is how often we choose to be just mom over being busy. It could be something as simple as closing your laptop and deferring being busy until after the kids go to bed or ordering pizza and spending quality time talking with your kids instead of futzing in the kitchen. For me, it means putting my phone upside down and sliding it out of arm’s reach.
Moms, whatever you do, know that being busy does not make you a better mom or a more important woman. It just makes you busy. Let’s stop celebrating being busy and start just being proud of the women (and mothers) we’ve become.
What’s one way you can stop celebrating being busy?