For years, there has been a popular cry for moms to “stop the glorification of busy!” What if we aren’t glorifying anything at all, but are just really, genuinely, bone-crushingly, exhaustingly, BUSY?
A quick Google search will bring up dozens of blog posts and articles on the subject. Well-meaning writers lament about how every time they ask a friend “How are you?”, she replies, “Busy!” They go on to say that busy has become a badge of honor, a rote answer, a way of life as said friend speeds off to the next 100 things on her list leaving the writer feeling dismissed. The writer is concerned that she’s not stopping to savor life or smell the roses or she’s going to run herself into the ground.
“Glorifying” implies that this is something she is proud of, maybe even bragging about. Or just something she says to sound important.
Whatever stage the kids are in, motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
The first two years pretty much consist of trying to keep the little ones alive 24/7. The next two, trying to keep them from destroying themselves and everything else. Then begin the grade school years, with the endless parade of homework, reading logs, school parties, parent-teacher conferences, dress theme days, posters due, lunches… The teen years arrive with a new set of challenges including navigating emotional minefields and acting as the family Uber driver. There is a joke for expecting moms: “enjoy your sleep because you won’t do it again for 18 years”.
“Don’t have the kids in so many activities”, well-meaning friends and family members say.
I remember saying “I will never have my kid in more than one activity because we are NOT going to be that family running around nonstop”. What I found is that you can say a lot of things before you are in that particular situation. Parents want to raise well-rounded children. We want to support their interests. And sometimes the activities just overlap. I also said I would never bribe my kid with candy, yet here we are.
When a mom friend tells you she is busy, there’s a good chance she isn’t “glorifying” anything.
Maybe she is busy because the expectations and demands are insane. Maybe she is a full time mom trying to juggle kids, home, relationship and keep herself healthy. She might have hidden struggles you know nothing about. Maybe she works full time and already wrestles with so much guilt over always feeling like she falls short.
Maybe, like me, she has a career and a family and occasionally has complete meltdowns because it is impossible to keep up with the never-ending mountains of laundry.
This is the rush hour of life. These are the marathon days when keeping up is impossible. The kindest thing we can say to other moms is “I know. I see you. This is tough! You’re doing a great job”.