Yesterday I listened to the I Should be Writing podcast while I organized the upstairs book/game cabinet. It was a project that desperately needed done, but that I had put off for quite some time because I was “too busy”. During the opening minutes, Mur talks about the pride that we in this country take in being busy. When we ask each other how we are, the common response used to be “good” or “fine,” but now it has become “busy,” “crazy,” or “hectic.” And these are all said with a sense of pride. How many times have you been around a group of people or talked to a friend or co-worker who has said, “oh yeah, I only got 4 hours of sleep last night”? How many times have you or I said it? How many times have we tried to one-up a co-worker or a rival mom because…why? Has it really become that he (or she) who is busiest wins?
I really thought about this hard yesterday because as a full-time mom and aspiring writer, I do feel the pressure to justify my presence. I think it’s a big part of the reason that I get caught into the traps of being roped into doing things that I don’t necessarily want to do. And I don’t think that I’m at all uncommon in that area. If you ask most moms, I bet they feel that same pressure. I’ve heard how lucky I am that my husband works a good job and that we can afford to stay home so many times it literally makes me want to vomit. (And yes, I mean literally in the Webster’s dictionary I actually feel nauseated way.)
But, this post isn’t about my luckiness, it’s about my busyness. It’s about my need for you to take me seriously as a person and as a writer. In our culture, it seems that the way to do that is to appear so crazy busy that you can’t possibly fit anything else into your life. It’s to show the world this exterior of the super woman who can juggle homeschooling her daughters while writing a novel in a month while keeping a clean house while running two girl scout troops. I have to appear busy in order to seem like a worthwhile member of society. We wouldn’t want to be the mom sitting at home eating bon bons and watching her stories now, would we? We are so much better than that!
But, maybe our grandmas and moms knew what they were talking about. Raising kids is hard. Being a writer is hard. Working a job is hard. It’s time consuming. The question we should ask ourselves is will this thing that I’m doing help to make my life better, more productive, more interesting, or happier? And if the answer is no, then we should consider our choices. What’s the point of it if we’re not enjoying it?
Does this mean that my schedule is going to free up any time soon? I highly doubt it. I have two very active children and an itch for writing that demands to be scratched. But, I have decided that this is what makes me happy. This year my focus has been on cutting those things that stand in the way of my writing and stand in the way of my happiness. The only things I intend to keep around me are the things that matter to me.
What would this world look like if more of us did the same?