GAMES ARE CANCELLED
Who has not silently cheered upon receipt of this text or email? “Due to the rain, games are cancelled for this evening.” Let’s be honest, I’m a super visually emotional person, therefore, my cheering is RARELY silent! YAAAAASSSSSSS!!!!!! Please tell me you know the feeling. In summary, life is a sport of busy no matter what your game plan is.
Within seconds of receiving the text, you have moved on to thoughts of accomplishing a mental list of the eight THOUSAND things you are going to get done with this sudden free evening. No games or practices!!!! I mean, are you KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!?! Hallelujah!
By the way, you love the games and hanging with other awesome parents during the evening. It serves as social time for you with people who are living a lot of the same life circumstances. Who doesn’t love that connection! In addition, seeing your kids out there having fun and doing something they love is great. However, a bonus free night and the relaxation as a result of a peaceful, steady rain to top it off? Sign me up.
We’ve all been there. Furthermore, if you have any guilt over feeling excited about this, you need to drop that RIGHT NOW sister. Good Lord! We’re allowed to have thoughts and emotions too.
In short, life with children is busy. For the record, not just when they are in activities and have games. Incidentally, any point with kids can be summed up by one phrase…. MOTHERHOOD IS A SPORT OF BUSY.
THE SPORT OF BUSY
Consequently, I’m finding the busy just evolves over time. As babies, you are busy figuring out how to parent. Feeding your cute little bundle every few hours is exhausting. In addition, the “are we cut out for this?” or “am I doing this right?” thoughts which run through your mind all day, every day. All the what if’s, questions, and self-doubt in the first year of life. Keeping your mind busy and racing while you are physically caring for your baby.
Toddler busy. Pretty sure I don’t even need to add anything to this statement. HOLY BUSY CHILD, BATMAN!
Furthermore, we then start to sign them up for age appropriate activities. Reasons for doing so include keeping them active, meeting new friends, learning teamwork, and being a part of something. By the way, this is honorable and really a necessary part of childhood and their development. You go momma! Conversely though, you have managed to complicate your life ten-fold when you now add chauffeur and game attendee to your growing list of responsibilities including career woman, spouse, and mom.
WHO IS NOT BUSY?
I attended the Integrating Women Leaders conference recently. IWL put on a wonderful conference on Uniting Our Power. LOVED IT!! Like, legit… it was incredible. As a result, this is fair warning I’m probably going to talk a lot about it in the next few blog posts. You have been warned.
During one of the break-out sessions, I sat next to a lovely woman I had not met previously. As we began talking, we did the typical, “what do you do for a living?” and “oh, do you know so and so?” By the way, I always promise myself I will come up with something different and then forget until mid-conversation. #foreheadsmack
Anyway, she referenced dreading these events beforehand thinking of all of the THINGS she has to do at work and will be missing. However, upon arrival she is always beyond happy she maintained her commitment to coming. “I hate letting the word busy get in my way, who’s not busy, right?!”
Drop the mic my new friend.
Another one of the speakers, Coach Dar, spoke about our own personal development and while it is likely the most important thing for us to do for our own personal and professional growth, it’s almost always the first thing we let go when life gets BUSY. #truth
Similarly, I have skipped personal development opportunities put on by my employers because I was “just too busy.” (forehead smack) Dreaded a conference the day before even though I was elated when I signed up for it? Guilty. Why do we do this?
BUSY AS A BADGE OF HONOR
Do you wear your BUSY as a badge of honor? We talk about it. Commiserate about it. Frankly, it feels like if you have to suffer the busy, then you might as well make it a good thing. While I’m all about making lemonade out of lemons, I tend to disagree here. To clarify, I have TOTALLY worn BUSY as a badge of honor. So no, I’m not calling you out without a big heap of my own self-reflection. In this case, the busy conversation with my new friend at IWL really got me thinking.
Why do we as women do this to ourselves? Everyone’s definition of busy is different. This doesn’t make one individual’s dictionary right or wrong. Likewise, they have their own barometer. I recently heard Marcia Barnes speak on Ceilings and Curveballs at Linking Indy Women. To paraphrase, we all have curveballs in life and yours aren’t bigger or smaller than someone else’s. They are big to you and that is okay. She encourages women to take comparison out.
Similarly, I feel this applies to BUSY in our lives. Your busy life doesn’t need to be compared with someone else’s busy and wearing a silly badge prouder and larger. You are busy. They are busy. End of story.
In addition, I find the women who, on paper, seem to have the most going on, often seem to be the ones who talk the least about their busy. They appear to just embrace it, for instance. Taking time to have a good conversation with a friend. Time to volunteer, work-out, do personal development, a myriad of other things in addition to being career woman and mom. First off, they may not have it all together either. In this case though, how are they gliding through the BUSY with seeming ease?
THE WHY IN BUSY
Let’s take this a step further and put on our 3-year-old hat for a second.
Why are you so busy?
Are there things you are doing you can stop? If you answered NO too quickly, I’m going to ask the toddler question again.
If you have a good answer you can feel down in your heart and think through rationally with your brain, then good. Move forward. Conversely, if you are struggling again in either the heart or the brain for the answer…. toddler yourself again. WHY AM I DOING THIS?
Furthermore, giving yourself a break is not only in the “games are cancelled, and you have a free night” sense. It really is about giving yourself a mental break and accepting grace when we make mistakes. Yes, you need a physical break from the running around to and from practices, games, parties, and club pick-up and drop-off. But how many times have you beaten yourself up over a conversation with your child which did not end the way you wanted. You yelled. You hit the end of your patience rope. Or you have not had a sit-down family meal in over a week and there is an incredible amount of guilt over this. You forgot the field-trip permission slip and received a stern email from the teacher about the need for this form immediately. Maybe you showed up late or forgot your part of the pitch-in for the church gathering.
Forgive yourself. Give yourself the grace you would give any other mom in this situation.
A BUSY CRITIC
We are our own worst critics. If you are living a life of comparison to mom A, B, and C, you are not living your own life. Be you.
It really can be this simple.
In a life of comparison and competition, you will never be the God created person you were meant to be. God did not create each of us with our own individual talents and abilities for us to suddenly morph into Stepford wives. ICK! Everyone has their own special talents. You recognize this in other moms and compliment them on their abilities. Are you giving yourself this same grace with your own abilities? Are you focusing on the talents you bring to the table?
In this giant motherhood huddle, we need to remind ourselves we are doing our own personal best every day. Our personal best, some days, may not be knocking it out of the ball park, but rather pure survival. And you know what? THAT IS OKAY.
In short, next time you receive the text “games are cancelled for this evening,” let it serve as a trigger. This trigger is to remind YOU to give yourself the grace you deserve. You are a good mom and doing your personal best every day. Now go out there and dance in the rain.
If you want to be happy, put your effort into controlling the sail, not the wind. – Anonymous