Think back to the last time someone asked you how you are doing.
More likely than not, your answer was “Good. Just busy.”
We are busier than ever.
According to a recent survey, when asked to describe the perfect mom, this was the answer:
“The “Perfect Mom” is organized, educated, fit, and focused on family but still able to hold down a good job. Oh, and she’s a good cook to boot.”
Right there, you can see that we have our plates full. And they seem to get fuller by the minute.
I am fascinated with women of the past. I love reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and learning about life in a simpler time.
The funny thing is, was it simpler? They did not have the modern conveniences that we have, could certainly not order groceries online, or even head to Target for some necessities.
No, life long ago was certainly harder, but easier.
While it is easy to blame social media, technology, TV, I think we need to take a more extensive look at why we are so busy.
I have decided to stop being busy. I made this decision on December 19, 2016, and I have not looked back since.
I was tired of being tired. I was tired of being frantic. I was tired of never relaxing.
It was taking a toll on my health, my relationships, my marriage, my children. It was time for a change.
I chose Breaking Busy as my first book to read in 2017 because I wanted to do just that. I was ready to Break Busy. No matter the cost.
As tears rolled down my cheeks, I realized that it was possible. It is possible to be fulfilled and happy, without being busy.
Definition of Busy
As a homeschooling mom of 5, I am going to be busy. You are going to be busy.
There will still be housework, schoolwork, errands, chores, groceries to buy, meals to cook. That is not going anywhere.
It is ok to be busy. But it is not ok to be busy with things that are not fulfilling your heart and soul.
It is not healthy to be doing something all of the time because we miss out on the little moments. We miss out on being there for those that need us the most.
I still have work to do, a husband to care for, and children to raise and teach. I am busy, but at the same time, I am not busy.
Let’s see what I learned.
What I Learned About Being Busy
First of all, I realized that I was not present.
I was at home with my kids almost 24/7. I was there, but my mind was going over my to-do list, my obligations, and conversations with others.
I was too busy to enjoy what was happening right in front of me.
My head was too often down looking at my phone or my computer.
I did not want my kids to remember me or their childhood connected to a phone.
Breaking busy for me means being present, being in the moment, and saying yes way more often.
“Yes, let’s play that game.”
“Yes, let’s go on that walk.”
“Yes, let’s finish that project together.”
Am I still busy? Absolutely. Do I love life? You bet ya.
I am putting away my work for when my kids are not around and cherishing each moment that I can with them.
I want them to remember their childhood with a mom who always had time for cuddles, books, puzzles, games, and most importantly, just listening.
How This is Looking in Our Home
First off, Dustin and I have both made a decision to put our phones away.
We are not on our phones in front of the kids. If we have something that cannot wait, we step away to take the call or respond.
I was tired of saying “uh-huh” to my kids while mesmerized by a screen.
Secondly, I am back to getting up before the kids. Early mornings are my “me” time.
Sometimes, I blog – because I want to, not have to.
I read, knit, pray, go over our school lessons for the day, and watch the sunrise.
Mornings are my time to break busy and be ready for the day ahead.
I have found that when I take this precious time for myself in the morning, I am able to spend the rest of the day focusing on the needs of my family.
Finally, I am careful about my obligations.
I still ask myself these Four Questions Before Saying Yes, but I am doing so with more intention.
One of the most compelling chapters in Breaking Busy is called the 5 F’s of Decision Making.
I learned that I am a pretty good decision maker. I am decisive, and once I have made a choice, my mind is made up. However, I realized that sometimes my decisions were not based on my priorities.
The 5 F’s of Decision Making
Alli Worthington, the author of Breaking Busy, is an amazing woman.
Her book, Breaking Busy, changed my life.
I wanted to take a quick moment to share with you how I am refining my decision-making process using Alli’s 5 F’s of Decision Making:
- Faith – For me, this is all about making sure what I am asked to do aligns with my faith and Scripture. Is this something my loving Heavenly Father commends? And even more than that, have I stopped and asked Him about it first? I find that as women we are great at going to others asking for prayer (which is good and healthy). Sometimes we ask someone to pray for us before we have stood ourselves before God in prayer. Every decision begins in prayer.
- Family – How will this affect my spouse and children? What would we have to give up or what time or money commitment does this require? If applicable, this is a great step to ask your spouse and children for their opinion.
- Future – How does this affect my long-term goals or plans? Is this decision something is going to matter ten months or ten years down the road? I also remind myself to check my heart and make sure that I am completely in and excited about the decision. This step is a good place to see what your gut is saying about the choice.
- Fulfillment – Does this decision bring me fulfillment and peace? At the core of my being, is this decision one that I find fulfilling. It does not matter what every other mom is doing. It does not matter the “label” that is there, and I feel like I have to just go along for the ride. No, fulfillment is personal, and it is something that only you can decide for yourself.
- Friends – And I do not mean Facebook friends. I mean those select few who do life with you. They have seen you on your worst days and your best. They have cried with you, laughed with you, and done things for you when it was super inconvenient. This friend is the friend that stays in the hospital with you because your husband has to work, and you are terrified of your upcoming surgery. This is the friend that doesn’t try to fix everything but just sits with you in the moment. I am blessed to have these friends in my life, and they are the ones that I consult for the big decisions. A prayerful friend is a treasure.
These 5 F’s of Decision Making truly make breaking busy just a little bit easier.
This framework has provided me with a solution to make decisions that matter.
The Main Reason We Are Busy
Armed with my new way of decision making, I started to think about mothers, women, and our lives in this twenty-first century.
I have decided that to break busy, I will have to stop the comparison game.
Not only is it stealing my joy, but it is making me even busier.
I am the mother of my children. Not the moms at the park or at church, not even the grandparents are the mom. I should make choices based on what brings me joy, not what the world tells me.
Pinterest is the ultimate comparison game. It is easy to see why. I want the perfect party, the well-planned day, the put-together outfit, and the organized home.
None of that is wrong. As long as I am doing it for the right reasons. Planning the ultimate party is awesome, as long as I am doing it to fulfill myself and not my neighbor.
Pinterest is awesome, but I have to be careful that I am using it to bring fulfillment to my life and not compare my life to others.
I have found that when I do things for the right reasons, I enjoy the task, feel peace, and free up time for what truly matters.
How Will You Break Busy?
It is time to think about how you will break busy.
Does it mean you set limiting parameters on technology?
Does it mean you limit your kid’s activities?
Does it mean you stop and find peace in the moment?
It is all of these things, but most importantly, it is tailored specifically for you.
I am breaking busy and loving life.
I pray that you find “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” I pray that you find your path to breaking busy.