I spend most of my days feeling stressed out. I live by my planner, and it helps a lot- but it doesn’t change the amount of things hanging over my head on any given day.
I’m overscheduled. And I know I’m not alone.
I work from home. I volunteer/donate services for a few special nonprofits that mean a lot to me. I serve on a Board of Directors. I help run my daughter’s Girl Scouts troop. I’m on my son’s Cub Scout pack’s popcorn committee. I’m on the elementary school’s yearbook committee. I shuttle my kids to and from their activities and clubs, try to squeeze in 2-3 workouts a week, and try to cook an actual dinner most nights. Weekends are a never ending series of errands, birthday parties, and working.
I’ve been reading these emotional blog posts about the un-busy movement and I feel trapped. American culture venerates busy. It’s a sickness. Think about it- you run into another Mom in the store and she makes small talk. “How are you?” For me, the answer is always “busy,” and the response is always a sigh and “me, too.”
I know I need to un-busy myself to have a more satisfying life. To focus more on family instead of being stressed out all the time. To actually have a chance to enjoy my days instead of racing from one appointment to the next. Go to bed, wake up, do it all again.
But how do you unbusy yourself when you are in the thick of it all? When the PTA moms are discussing how the lack of involvement means parents don’t care? I totally understand where they are coming from- yes, parent involvement is the only way to succeed. Teachers can’t do it alone. The book fair can’t run itself, Class Parents keep everyone in the loop, if no one steps up the kids won’t have an end of year picnic. I completely agree. But I am already burning the candle at both ends and I have nothing else to give.
Is this just a season of life to endure, where I should be clinging to the mantra, “This too shall pass” much like the sleep deprivation baby days and the tantrum toddler days? Or is this only the beginning, as the kids get bigger, get more involved, and develop their own busy schedules? What am I teaching them about life, when I never slow down to appreciate the day, when there is no time to reflect or practice gratefulness?
I’m terrible at saying no. I’ve been known to volunteer for tasks knowing I have no extra time, simply because I have the skill set required. I’m not even asked, and I will just jump right in. And when I’m specifically asked? It’s all over then- I say yes.
I’m exhausted. We are all exhausted.
Something has to change.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tell me I’m not alone. Tell me how do you juggle the guilt and the pleas for help vs protecting your time? When do you say yes, or when do you say no?