I was wasting time on Facebook the other day and saw this meme which made me laugh because I could totally relate:
But then I started thinking: I don’t want that kind of life. I don’t want to constantly be saying “Yes” to everything and wearing myself out. Over the past few years–probably since around the time that Huff the Babe was born–I’ve been trying to not take on so much stuff and I’ve been working on saying “no” more often. Thought, I sometimes still overwhelm myself, but I feel like I’ve gotten better at declining than I used to be. I’ve noticed this typically seems to happen to women–we actually become addicted to being busy/taking on enormous amounts of responsibility. (I’m not talking about stuff that needs to be done, e.g. laundry, dishes, caring for our young. I’m talking about the extras.)
The subject of busyness is actually being studied as an addiction. Yep, you read that right. Just like drugs, alcohol, or food, people more and more are using busy schedules to numb themselves/distract from problems they are unable to face.
If I keep myself busy enough, I won’t have time to be anxious.
My schedule is jam-packed; now I don’t have to think about how my marriage is falling apart.
Go here, go there, and do this. No time to think about my feelings of unworthiness.
But keeping ourselves busy and not getting down to the root of why we’re keeping ourselves busy is just perpetuating the problem. We are making ourselves sick with the constant hustle and bustle of getting to places we “need” to be… but did you ever stop to think about where you want to be? Do you want to be driving to and from extracurricular activities every single evening? And I’m not knocking extracurriculars; I think they’re a great way for kids to learn perseverance, teamwork, and cooperation. But if you’re spending 99.99% of your time in the car, scarfing down your dinner in between pick-ups and drop-offs, with no time to invest in the relationships around you, maybe take a beat and take stock.
Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed?
Do you see your kids less and less because of the continuous full calendar?
Are you not sleeping well?
If this is you (I’ve been there) try to start saying “no”. I know,: its easier said than done. But, sometimes, the best thing a mom can do for her family, her marriage, and her own sanity is to say “no”.
You don’t have to head up every single fundraiser.
You don’t have to sew costumes every Halloween.
You don’t have to be at the church every time the doors are open.
You don’t have to bake cookies for the team’s snack.
You don’t have to have hand-stitched napkins at Christmas dinner.
You don’t have to do it all.
One more time for the ladies in the back: You don’t have to do it all.
Again, I’m not saying that any of these things are bad, per se. What I’m saying is, if you are constantly running and never feel like you’re getting ahead; if you cart the kids to and from all weekend and lay in bed on Sunday night, thinking about how you barely saw your children; if you feel like you and your husband are “two ships passing in the night”, think about areas in your life that you can say “no”. By taking on a lot, we’re also missing out on a lot.
To quote author Mary Katherine, contributor on Scary Mommy: “…most of us can probably let go of a few things go without the world falling down around us. We will be doing ourselves, and our families, a huge favor too. Because important things are happening in quiet moments, mamas. And you deserve to experience them.”
Yes, you do.