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PeacefulChaos

what does 'busy' mean to you?

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We have church Sunday and any week where I'm out more than three week days feels busy. Partly because anywhere we go is at least 20 minutes driving time. More than three days a week impacts on my ability to keep up with the house so that defines busy.

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When I use the word, it's typically in relation to why certain plans have not been made. Such as "why haven't we had a playdate with so-n-so for a long time?" "We've all just been really busy".

 

To me, this generally means we have a full enough schedule that we don't have lots of extra hours that we're going "hmm, we have a free day, let's call A!" I don't feel rushed most of the time, it's just that life is full enough we just keep going along and we don't really stop and think of what else to add. "Full" would probably be more appropriate for me than "busy". A truly busy day would be when we have back to back plans all day that leave little to no room for things running late or not going well.

 

When others say it to me, I assume pretty much the same. I don't have thoughts of them having back to back super busy days, I just assume the clock keeps ticking and doesn't remind us to stop for things not already planned.

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To me, busy means that I'm running around and going out a lot and have a lot more than "just" schoolwork, meals, and housekeeping on my to do list.  Too many days of that in a week, and I feel stressed, frazzled, and tired.

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I don't think the people I know are doing it as a merit badge/competition for busiest person type thing.

 

At least I don't *think* they are.  

 

A lot of them really seem genuinely stressed by it.  And I don't envy that AT ALL lol - I think that since so many of them lead similar lives to mine (homeschooling a couple kids, limited activities, etc) I just end up wracking my brain like Am I forgetting to do something?  I mean, I don't focus a ton of attention on it lol.   ;)  It's just something that's a curiosity to me because I don't know what all makes everyone feel so busy.

 

But, as far as the personality factor, I'm one of the more fast paced of the group.  When I do feel busy, it is all the more exhilarating of a life for me.  I do recognize, however, that because I'm more task oriented than people oriented, when I'm busy, it's not me or the tasks that suffer, it's the people around me.  So since having kids and all the different ways that my life has changed in the last 15 years, I lead a much slower paced life than what I ever imagined, and have learned to love it.   :)

 

I just try to keep it in mind when I'm itching to go out with friends and everyone hems and haws about it because they're busy.  These are best friends so I know they do want to go - and there are factors of every person's life that make it busy.  And while I can happily go from one event to another in one day, not everyone has the personality to enjoy that - they enjoy being at home (DH is like that).

 

It's just interesting.   :)

 

Does your husband do much to help the household run? My dh does a good job of providing an income, but does very little otherwise; taking kids to activities, housework, cooking, yard work, bills, taxes, doctors and dentists, really EVERYTHING other than working outside the home to earn a paycheck falls to me. Maybe some of your friends have less support on the home front?

 

Otherwise I don't know Your life sounds quite pleasant though :)

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Yeah, and I think for some people, their version of busy is a choice. Yeah, you signed your four kids up for 5 activities each. You volunteered for scout leader, and you're working a full time job. You're going to be busy. Don't complain about it.

 

Some people say busy cheerfully and you can tell that they are enjoying their busy. Others use "How are you?" "I'm just SO busy." as an opportunity to whine. I hate that, especially when they have chosen the busy. It's okay to not have a commitment every evening. It's okay to have down time. They're not better people for being so "busy" if it's not something that they love.

The thing I see happening with those I know who are chronically busy (myself include in a former life), is that they feel pressure to be this way. They are anxious. They worry that their kids aren't getting enough of the right activities. They worry that they might miss out on being part of "something special," so they feel compelled to volunteer hours of their time and resources that may not be available. They feel that society esteems the busy, the productive, the go-getter, the rain maker and they work hard to be in this group. I frequently see people listing all the things they accomplished in a given day on Facebook to a chorus of kudos and head pats. I have friends who repeatedly complain that there's no time to clean their houses, make dinner, read books, go to church, etc.. They will resolve to change and simplify one minute and the very next moment tell me about some great new opportunity that they want to make time for. It's as if they cannot see their inability to say no. Learning to say no was probably the most useful skill I've ever learned. I haven't had nearly as many panic attacks since I realized that I am just as valuable if not more so when I say no to things that make life too complicated and busy.

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Oh boy. This is a huge pet peeve for me. I hope I don't offend anyone by my response. I honestly don't like the "busy" phenomenon. Who doesn't have stuff to do? Why should we define ourselves by how much we have to do? I hate when I ask how someone is and they reply with "busy." It seems like an avoidance tactic to me. A way to avoid being present with oneself and others. Busy is not a qualitative description but a quantitative one and it seems to be important to people who seek external approval for their existence. Forgive me if that sounds harsh.

This is a description of several people in my family! They try to create meaning and happiness by being busy and use activity to avoid reflection and deep, honest relationships.

 

That said, not everyone who is busy is acccurately described by the paragraph above.

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For me, busy means I don't have time to read for pleasure. The last time this occurred was several years ago when my husband went back to school full time for a PharmD. I didn't read a single book for pleasure for four years. I was working full time, homeschooling, taking care of everything around the house, and doing the majority of transport for my son's activities and classes. Due to practicum rotations and work, my husband was even away from home for six weeks or more several times during this period. It's definitely the busiest I've ever been in my life and very different from my life now.

 

Now my son is away at college and I work a max of 40 hours per week with a flexible schedule and my husband has more days off than he works, so he handles most of the errands and around the house stuff. I have plenty of free time to do whatever I want in terms of hobbies, volunteer work, seeing friends, reading, etc. I also no longer use up all of my vacation visiting family or taking hours and days here and there for obligations. I actually use my vacation time for real vacations.

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I consider myself busy, but not (generally) stressed.  My to-do list each day is usually nearly a full 8x11 page long, and I tick the items off, but I'm not stressed.  I guess b/c a lot of it is stuff I like (exercise, sewing, knitting, cleaning SOME stuff, reading, teaching) and I'm not running all over the place.  I'm very careful with my outside-the-house time.  Tuesday afternoons we do lessons + errands + grocery shopping (that's a busy day!) and Fridays my son has a science class in the afternoon (10 mins away) but otherwise during the week we don't "go".  Staying home keeps me productively busy, but not stressed-busy.  I also think another thing that helps is that I try to take rest time each day (even if it's just 15 mins) to read a book/take a bath/work on a creative project....but often longer than that!

 

So for me, busy doesn't equal a bad thing. 

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I have a friend who is amazing in her capacity to take on many things at once. She never describes herself as busy. She is a charter school teacher and she homeschools her kids. She has 4 children in her home including a foster child. She plays fiddle in 2 bands. She runs youth group at her parish, operates 2 home-based businesses, is creating a web based writing curriculum, teaches music, and heads up a non-profit. I have no idea how she has so many irons in the fire. She always makes time for outings and coffee dates with friends and loved ones. She even hand draws her Christmas cards! I truly do not understand how she does all that she does. I once commented on how busy she is and she said, "I never think of myself as busy because I love everything I do." I have so much admiration for her.

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Busy is what I'll be when baseball starts up again. It's just when I feel there is always something going on and I don't have a huge block of downtime. Yes, there are lots of smaller moments that could add up, but nothing to relax over or schedule a play date or coffee kind of time.

 

But I'm not the kind of busy my friend is who home schools, owns her own business, runs a homeschool co op, and runs a Girl Scout troop. Plus all the other things she volunteers for. She thrives on it. I would lose it. She is much better at time management than me!

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Does your husband do much to help the household run? My dh does a good job of providing an income, but does very little otherwise; taking kids to activities, housework, cooking, yard work, bills, taxes, doctors and dentists, really EVERYTHING other than working outside the home to earn a paycheck falls to me. Maybe some of your friends have less support on the home front?

 

Otherwise I don't know Your life sounds quite pleasant though :)

 

I'm sure there are all sorts of things that don't occur to me - even down to the hours that DH is home vs. others, the way we divide housework even amongst the kids, etc.  :)  

I'm not saying any of this to dismiss anything.  I don't live other people's lives so I don't know, you know?  :)

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I think there are different kinds of busy.

 

When I was single, I did a LOT of different things.  I worked long hours, I volunteered, I went to the symphony and concerts on a regular basis, I took all kinds of religious classes, I went out dancing almost every weekend, I traveled, I belonged to a book club.  If you would have asked me back then, it would have never occurred to me to say that I was "busy".

 

Now, I don't do any of the activities I listed above.  Yes, I have 3 kids and yes, I home school and yes, they have some activities.  But if you asked me today, I would tell you that I am busy all.the.time.all.day.long.

 

I don't know why I feel busy now.  Is it bc my time is not really my time?  Is it bc the choices are not as flexible (it's not like I can flip flop between homeschooling and not homeschooling every other month).  Is it bc I need to feel busy, otherwise I don't feel like I am contributing something? 

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My 2c worth:

People are busier now than in the past, but it doesn't have to be that way. Many/most people have fuller schedules than their parents did, however this is largely a choice. When I was the age my daughters are, I played one sport and two musical instruments, and that was as much as, or more than, most kids in my school did. Kids now probably have twice as many organized activities.

Also people seem to take pride in how busy they are. If somebody is calm and unhurried, that is no longer viewed by many people as a positive thing. It's as though some people assess their own important based on how in demand they are, and conversely assume that a less obviously busy person is less important or less industrious.

A related phenomenon is the admiration of multitasking. They psychologists tell us that multitasking doesn't work well for most tasks and most people, and yet multitaskers still seem to get looked up to.

Some people just give the impression of busy-ness because they make a meal of things that other people might take in their stride. I'm sure most of you know a person for whom everything seems to be a big deal, an epic saga. Often we can choose whether to run around like a headless chook or whether to make a sensible plan and carry it out, one thing at a time.

I am very introverted, so 'socialing' tireds me, but for me this is a separate thing to busy-ness.

Also I think that people tend to confuse busy-ness with stress, so that a lot of what makes them feel busy is actually lack of mindfulness and presence. It's tiring doing what needs to be done at the same time as worrying about ten other things.

Bravo! Well put. I think this nails it.

 

I'm introverted and when my kids were little and especially when we first started homeschooling I did feel the need to try to do what all the other moms were doing--- running around from one activity to another, but it always made me feel stressed, on edge, and snappy with my kids. Life had other plan for me (namely a baby followed by a twin pregnancy 15 months later).

 

I now enjoy that my children only have to formal commitments a week. They have a weekly horse riding lesson together on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning dd8 takes ballet and ds6 has a swim lesson. DH takes ds and I take dd.

 

That's it. We have a homeschool group we actively participate in on average once a week for a park day or field trip, but it's all optional which is nice because I don't feel obliged if we don't feel like signing up for every field trip or making every park day.

 

I enjoy spending time at home most afternoons and evenings. It gives me time to do some tidying, laundry and make dinner without feeling rushed and I enjoy it a lot more. I'm happy at home with homecooked meals and reasonably clean home.

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I am busy.  Super crazy busy all the time, and I can't stand it.  I am overwhelmed and stressed, but there is not a lot I can do about it except keep plugging on.  I'm not trying to win some award or get out of anything.  I just don't have time.  I haven't read a book, sewn, or done handiwork for pleasure in a long time.  My to do list is pages long, and there are never enough hours in my day.  The only things I do that I don't have to do are read my Bible and go to church.

 

Lots of people chose to be busy and fill their schedules.  There are also people who don't have a lot of choice and they, I think, are the ones who suffer because of it.

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Sometimes when I'm speaking to an acquaintance I run into at church, at the store, etc., and I know there is a small window of 5 minutes or fewer to actually catch up, I'm a bit stymied.  

 

Other people say I'm deep and, truly, I don't have much use for shallow conversation.  When I ask someone how they've been, I hope for / expect a real, authentic response.  I think I'm learning as I get older that many people do not want to receive or give authentic, deep replies.  

 

So in response to, "How have you (guys) been?  What have you been up to?", I often reply, "We've been well.  Things are good.  We've been busy." (Even though I am pro-simplicity, anti-excessive-busy-ness, believe busy is often a choice, and also get annoyed at the "badge of busy-ness.")  And then there's a pause to read the other person and see if this is just going to be a shallow endeavor or if we're actually going to exchange something of meaning.  

 

Because in my mind, I'm thinking, what would this person actually want to know about?  What's TMI?  Are they asking in a genuine way or just being polite and trying to connect in a lighter way?  Which events of the 1000's of things that have happened in the last month / year should I tell them about that they would actually be interested in?  The out-of-town trips we took to see family?  The constant balancing act I'm trying to achieve between the various roles in my life?  That it rained all day today and I think rainy days are glorious and wonderful?  That we all got sick with colds and flu over the holidays?  That I think the national debt is atrocious and I'm concerned about the economic status our children will inherit?  That I'm finally exercising daily?  I mean, where on earth do you start?!   :confused1:   Some of it's boring...some of it's only stuff I'm interested in...some of it could be downright divisive, depending on if the other person agrees or not...

 

So, it seems like in those types of situations (obviously this is different than a longer hangout time with closer friends or someone known well), the safe, standard answer to "How've you been?" seems to often be a cheerful (and truthful)...

 

"Busy!"

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I am a farm wife. It is winter, so I don't feel particularly busy.

 

When I say I am busy in the summer, I am butchering 200 chickens a day and washing/packaging 30 dozen eggs. And that's just part of the day.

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This is quite interesting for me to hear that some people find the word busy used like a 'merit badge' or like it is dismissive.

 

If someone asks me to dinner or to an event, and I say "I can't because I am busy" it doesn't mean any thing other than that. "I already have something planned". I don't feel like I need to outline my entire day to justify that I am already scheduled for that time block. The word 'busy' is just a quick easy way to say it. I shouldn't have to explain that I might have to go back to work to pick up a few more hours that night, or that it is the only 3 hour block of time that I don't have anything scheduled and honestly....just want to be alone for a few.

 

It is fine to think that others aren't any more busy, than they want to be....unless they have a child that needs extra care, an adult who needs care, a home or animal that needs it, or life style that necessitates that.

 

I have a special needs daughter (my great-niece) who has standing therapy appointments 2x per week. My other daughter and I both have standing PT appointments for genetic back issues. Those are not something I thought of when I planned kids. I didn't think that raising one extra child, was going to be like raising 4 of my older kids all rolled into one! It didn't think that my daughter and I would have accidents that result in thousands of dollars of therapy...that I have to work to pay for. Healthcare was different when I decided to have kids. Even taking on dd9 was different when we took her on. When we agreed to take her on, we were getting $500 per month to help raise her, now it is under $300, and.... we haven't had any money at all, since September. That difference has to come from somewhere and that means I have to work extra days to make up the pay. She doesn't cost less to raise, we are just paying for more and more of her care.

 

If someone asks why I work 6 days a week, I don't explain all that. I say "It works best for our schedules. We are pretty busy and it helps to spread out my work on more days so I am off when the girls get home from school." I don't say that we are on the verge of being behind in bills, and if I didn't work 6 days, someone would have to drop much needed therapy! That is TMI....and if someone says "wanna go to a concert on Tuesday", it is much easier to say "I'm busy".

 

Luckily my personality likes to have a busy life style, but honestly, it wouldn't matter if I liked it or not.....It is, what it is, and you can pretty much count on the fact that I'm busy.

Tap, I agree with you on the bolded. I have the same philosophy. When people outline all the reasons they are busy, it sounds like excuse-making or humblebrag to me. I have intentionally trained myself not to babble on about why I can't do something; nobody needs my excuse. It suffices to say, "I can't; I have something planned already," or, if this fits, "I'm sorry; I have a lot going on right now and can't add anything else."

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Lots of my friends talk about being really busy. It seems to be generally accepted that 'everyone' has 'really busy', often 'stressful' days.

 

I'm not questioning people as far as whether they are busy or not, but I very rarely feel this way myself.

 

I don't feel busy at all. I don't consider my days to be stressful. Have I had busy days? Sure, but the majority of my life is, by far, not busy.

 

So what constitutes busy to you? I'm wondering if it has to do some with personality and if a person who prefers quiet, slow paced life (possibly an introvert, but that may not come into play here) has a lower threshold for 'busyness' than someone who prefers having a lot to do or is more fast paced.

 

Part of me is hoping that's the case, because if not, I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong by being not busy?! Lol!!

 

 

Busy is not being home.

 

I'm in a season where we *chose* (I guess) to run kiddos to classes and extra-curriculars.   It's nuts and I hate it.

Busy is when you choose have-tos over want-tos.  I hate that too.

 

Three cheers for teens getting licenses.  One more month...............

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Tap, I agree with you on the bolded. I have the same philosophy. When people outline all the reasons they are busy, it sounds like excuse-making or humblebrag to me. I have intentionally trained myself not to babble on about why I can't do something; nobody needs my excuse. It suffices to say, "I can't; I have something planned already," or, if this fits, "I'm sorry; I have a lot going on right now and can't add anything else."

 

Hm.  I agree with you but never thought of it as excuse making or humblebrag.  I feel guilty for saying no, so I think when I mention what I'm doing in a day so that I can't do something else, I'm justifying.  Then I don't have to feel as guilty for telling someone no.  Obviously that's a personal struggle (guilt over saying no) but for some folks it isn't a type of bragging. ;)

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My 2c worth:

People are busier now than in the past, but it doesn't have to be that way. Many/most people have fuller schedules than their parents did, however this is largely a choice. When I was the age my daughters are, I played one sport and two musical instruments, and that was as much as, or more than, most kids in my school did. Kids now probably have twice as many organized activities.

Also people seem to take pride in how busy they are. If somebody is calm and unhurried, that is no longer viewed by many people as a positive thing. It's as though some people assess their own important based on how in demand they are, and conversely assume that a less obviously busy person is less important or less industrious.

A related phenomenon is the admiration of multitasking. They psychologists tell us that multitasking doesn't work well for most tasks and most people, and yet multitaskers still seem to get looked up to. 

Some people just give the impression of busy-ness because they make a meal of things that other people might take in their stride. I'm sure most of you know a person for whom everything seems to be a big deal, an epic saga. Often we can choose whether to run around like a headless chook or whether to make a sensible plan and carry it out, one thing at a time.

I am very introverted, so 'socialing' tireds me, but for me this is a separate thing to busy-ness. 

Also I think that people tend to confuse busy-ness with stress, so that a lot of what makes them feel busy is actually lack of mindfulness and presence. It's tiring doing what needs to be done at the same time as worrying about ten other things.

 

 

I agree wtih you wholeheartedly.

 

Unfortunately I've learned it's a catch 22.  With our oldest, our skill sets matched beautifully.  We were able to homeschool her completely without outsourcing her education at all except foreign language.  I patted myself on the back and promised that crazy busy mom would *never* be mom.  We purposefully and intentionally chose to scale back sports because it was making us crazy.  We wanted an un-busy home - to the extent that we could.

 

Our second is a STEM guy.  I can't teach math beyond intermediate algebra.  I'm not a physics girl.  He's planning on going into Engineering.  If he hasn't had a fairly rigorous math and science education, he'll be behind before he starts college.  

 

We had to adjust.

 

My grandfather is in a home. He needs visitors.

We had to adjust.

 

We had a lot more children.

Adjust.

 

We live 25 minutes out of town = Driving

Adjust.

 

Previously I reserved all activities, doctor appointments, grocery trips, etc. for Fridays.  This was my way of purposefully reducing busy-ness.

I am that mom I promised myself I never would be.  We drive.  We do car school. We eat in the van on the way to somewhere or home from somewhere else.

 

I. Hate. It.

 

Not everyone wears busy-ness like a badge of courage. :(

(Blessedly, DS will soon have his license and I can go back to being mom.)

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There's they type-A personality who can't sit still.  DH is like this, though he would argue with me because he thinks to be type-A you must also be Martha Stewart level controlling.  He cannot be awake and still unless we're at the lake. 

 

There's the genuinely over scheduled who are functioning like Type-A without actually being it (I call them A-). They sign up for this out of guilt and perceived social pressure.  In my life, these are the people who complain about being busy the most.  This is usually a working mom with kids in private schools.  She volunteers, she makes sure the kids are in music and swimming and martial arts and programming and sports and she's the only one who drives them to these things. She makes meals from scratch and tries to compete with people like me who have hours to cook, and then when she can't she makes a backhanded compliment about her friend being "better than her" for baking bread or making yogurt from scratch.  IME this is also the type to become a caretaker for an adult parent, and is likely to have some sort of medical breakdown because this level of busyness doesn't make them thrive, it makes them stressed. This is also the type of person whom pinterest stresses out, rather than inspires.  I used to be this person.

 

Then there's the type B who goes with the flow, gets some things done, refuses to over schedule because it stresses them out, and who carves out time to relax.  This is me now.  I don't stress about activities too much because I physically can't do that much.  I choose mostly self-teaching curriculum in case I just can't physically do it. I have a flexible routine.  I use the crock pot frequently.  I keep the house fairly clean, but I don't stress about it.  There's a dust bunny of dog hair that's been in the bedroom hallway for two days and I've successfully ignored it so far, though it will get swept up today. We do homeschooling year round so we can take a break with no notice and still never get behind.

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I am a farm wife. It is winter, so I don't feel particularly busy.

 

When I say I am busy in the summer, I am butchering 200 chickens a day and washing/packaging 30 dozen eggs. And that's just part of the day.

 

uh-huh!

 

I get it.

 

We don't do chickens like that, but it's not unusual for us to stack 250 hay bales in the barn or to work in the garden for 5+ hours in a day, or spend 3 hours mowing grass....

 

Winter is the only time that I can tackle fun projects like sewing or quilting.

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Busy also means that I don't have down time for relaxing activities like knitting, reading, browsing WTM. I recently had my ILs and then my parents here for a few days. Lots of good time with the grandparents, good times all around. But we were going and doing a lot, so I didn't have time to pursue my personal relaxation hobbies, just time for the necessities. So I'd say I was busy if someone asked why they hadn't seen me around here lately.

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Tap, I agree with you on the bolded. I have the same philosophy. When people outline all the reasons they are busy, it sounds like excuse-making or humblebrag to me. I have intentionally trained myself not to babble on about why I can't do something; nobody needs my excuse. It suffices to say, "I can't; I have something planned already," or, if this fits, "I'm sorry; I have a lot going on right now and can't add anything else."

 

I don't usually rattle off my schedule when it comes to declining another event, but I know I have when trying to "justify" my frazzled state, lol.  I tend to be very self-deprecating (working on it) and Spring stretches me pretty thin.  It seems to do the same for a lot of the homeschoolers I know irl so, if we're sitting around during an activity, it isn't unusual for any of us to start venting about The Busy Season.  And I'm almost always impressed with how much "better" my friends and acquaintances seem to be handling it.  An observation of reality, not a judgment.

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Some of my friends are insanely busy. I'd lose my mind. It seems to be a bragging point to be the busiest. Oh yeah well I have to do all that and bake cookies for this group and make a meal for that and take kids to overlapping activities and and and...

 

That level of busy is my idea of hell on earth. 

 

I'm not busy. I like it that way. I decided a while back that just because others can handle it, or even thrive with it, doesn't mean I have to. I like having very little outside commitment, close to none actually. I like just having my kids, house, meals, laundry, etc. I don't want to have a lot else, or even much else. 

 

I'm struggling now because I'm supposed to be getting another contract, hopefully, for another book series and writing DOES leave me busy. But I'll do it. Not sure I'll keep doing it forever though. Because yeah, busy is not my thing. 

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Leaving the house busy is harder for me than at home busy.

 

I stay very busy at home with the farm, but I handle it better than going places.

 

I am the same. Laundry, cooking, vacuuming, teaching the littles, etc isn't busy to me. I enjoy that as much as anyone enjoys laundry, lol. I get a sense of peace from sitting home all day, having on the radio or the television in the background, and doing that stuff. Love it. (not like, scrubbing baseboards maybe, but regular everyday stuff.)

 

HATE having to be on the run. More than 2 errands in a day and I'm a stressed out grumpy lady. I don't mind a short trip to the grocery store...my kids are old enough at 5 and 3 to be pretty decent in a store. But grocery store AND another thing and blergh. Even fun stuff has to be limited or I get cranky and sad. 

 

Just let me stay home and take care of my house and kids and that be it. That's my ideal. Nothing ever rushed, that's my ideal. Plenty of time to do things in a calm manner. Heaven. 

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Yesterday was busy.  I had to pick up MIL from rehab and take her home.  Any time I have to drive her somewhere ends up a busy day.  She moves slow.  She talks.  A lot.  She gets distracted.  A lot.  Keeping her on task is like keeping a preschooler on task.

 

Yesterday I woke up late - still adjusting to East Coast time after spending New Year's in LA.  Quiet time.  Breakfast.  Start normal daily clean-up stuff.  Realize I'm running late and shower.  Get to MIL on time and find that nothing is ready to leave rehab except her.  Pack her stuff.  Wait.  Wait. Wait for a nurse to check her out.  (I know nurses are busy, but if you want people to check out by 11, why do you have the nurses in a meeting at 10:30?)  On the way home, realize she has NO food in her apartment b/c she has been in hospital or rehab for 2 months.  Stop at Wendy's to get lunch.  Get her in the apartment, bring her stuff in.  Eat lunch.  Go through all her meds to figure out what she needs and what she already has.  Use phone whole time to find out what the generic name for x is.  (This takes an hour, really.  She has meds all over the place!)  Ok, she needs 4 (out of 20!).  What groceries do you need.  She gets distracted, she hasn't been in her apartment for 2 months and she needs to go see what that thing over there is.  And spiders, is that a spider?  Finally get a short grocery list from her.  Take her Rx to get filled, 2 HOUR wait.  (Beginning of year, they have to check on everyone's insurance.)  Pick up State girl.  Take MIL her groceries.  Take State girl to school, help her carry stuff to dorm.  Somehow I got the heavy suitcase.  Go back to pick up Rx.  Still not ready, 15 minutes.  Leisurely stroll through Target.  Ok, 20 minutes have passed.  Nope not ready, 10 more.  Find out State girl can't find her phone.  Can I go look in the car?  Yep, there it is.  Let dh know about phone, he will come pick it up and take it to her. Rx finally ready.  DH where are you, I'm ready to leave?  He is 2 minutes away.  He gets phone, I take Rx to MIL.  I take Rx there, her CNA is spending the night and there.  I get caught up on what has happened this afternoon - MRI is Friday.  Appointment with liver doctor in Feb.  I finally get home.  Thank goodness Campbell girl likes to cook.  At some point I asked her to make dinner.  Just wait for dh and eat.

 

That is a busy day to me.  Woke up at 7:30.  Left home at 9:30 and got home for good at 5:15.

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Busy the way that most people mean it, I think, means having enough things to do to fill up their day.  That's a good thing!  Busy in what I think of in its truest sense means having much more to do than you can possibly manage during your day, regularly.  That's not good!

 

 

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We have church Sunday and any week where I'm out more than three week days feels busy. Partly because anywhere we go is at least 20 minutes driving time. More than three days a week impacts on my ability to keep up with the house so that defines busy.

 

I hadn't thought about it, but the driving time does make simple things feel more overwhelming. Grocery store is 15 minutes, but everything else is 20 minutes at minimum, most things are 30 or more. I definitely was less averse to leaving the house when I lived 5-10 minutes from everything. 

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I hadn't thought about it, but the driving time does make simple things feel more overwhelming. Grocery store is 15 minutes, but everything else is 20 minutes at minimum, most things are 30 or more. I definitely was less averse to leaving the house when I lived 5-10 minutes from everything. 

 

Absolutely.  Grocery & Target are less than 10 minutes - but the opposite direction of everything else - which is at least 25 minutes away.  So leaving the house for anything just sucks the time away.

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This is quite interesting for me to hear that some people find the word busy used like a 'merit badge' or like it is dismissive. 

 

If someone asks me to dinner or to an event, and I say "I can't because I am busy" it doesn't mean any thing other than that.  "I already have something planned".  I don't feel like I need to outline my entire day to justify that I am already scheduled for that time block.  The word 'busy' is just a quick easy way to say it.  I shouldn't have to explain that I might have to go back to work to pick up a few more hours that night, or that it is the only 3 hour block of time that I don't have anything scheduled and honestly....just want to be alone for a few.

 

I want to say that I was in a mood when I posted yesterday and overgeneralizing. All of the situations I described were real things that I've encountered with people I don't um, enjoy very much. So I guess I'd like to add that SOMETIMES people seem to use "busy" as shorthand for "more important than everyone else." But I think a lot of that has to do with the person and the tone they use and so many other factors. For the most part when someone says they're busy my first thought isn't "well, look at  miss important over here!" It's more like "Oh, I understand. I'll leave you alone then." 

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I hadn't thought about it, but the driving time does make simple things feel more overwhelming. Grocery store is 15 minutes, but everything else is 20 minutes at minimum, most things are 30 or more. I definitely was less averse to leaving the house when I lived 5-10 minutes from everything.

This is a big factor for me and I have become more reluctant to go drive places as I have gotten older. I am not right near shopping or any other errand centers. So I procrastinate on a lot of things like picking up chicken feed or mailing off a package, simply because it seems like too much effort to go drive to the places where these things happen. I just got my DD's allergy medicine that I was supposed to get Monday. *hangs head in shame*

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I don't usually rattle off my schedule when it comes to declining another event, but I know I have when trying to "justify" my frazzled state, lol. I tend to be very self-deprecating (working on it) and Spring stretches me pretty thin. It seems to do the same for a lot of the homeschoolers I know irl so, if we're sitting around during an activity, it isn't unusual for any of us to start venting about The Busy Season. And I'm almost always impressed with how much "better" my friends and acquaintances seem to be handling it. An observation of reality, not a judgment.

One thing I was innoculated against early in motherhood was the dreaded "recite my busy schedule to other moms" tendency. ;) My SIL was notorious for doing this, as she had four kids in a million activities all the time. Seriously...my bank teller asked me if I was related to her one time, and then said, "She likes to tell people how busy she is...(eyeroll)" Another time, she got a verbal smackdown at the county fair by another 4-h mom who really didn't care to hear what time she had to get the steers, lambs and pigs to market. The other mom snapped, " I KNOW, 'Marney!' We are ALL doing the same thing and this week is insane for ALL of us!"

 

It made me very sensitive to how other moms might perceive the "I'm so busy" speech. I try not to say that unless it can't be helped.

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I feel like "busy" means having a lot to do that requires jumping from one thing to the next without much down time.

 

For me, a busy day is having to be in 3 or 4 different places and get some school work and "work" work done somewhere in there.  (This is not unusual for me.)

 

A "not busy" day for me involves sitting at home doing accounting for 40 entities - or being engrossed in one big work project - while my kids go to school, do their own homework, and eat dinner at home.

 

We might accomplish more measurable work on a "not busy" day than on a "busy" day.

 

I like "busy," as long as I don't end the day worrying about missing deadlines or failing to provide something I want for my kids.

 

If I say "too busy to do xyz" it usually means that my day is fully scheduled with things I consider more important than xyz.  I say this about stuff like school PTA fundraisers, cooking a lot, etc.  :)

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One thing I was innoculated against early in motherhood was the dreaded "recite my busy schedule to other moms" tendency. ;) My SIL was notorious for doing this, as she had four kids in a million activities all the time. Seriously...my bank teller asked me if I was related to her one time, and then said, "She likes to tell people how busy she is...(eyeroll)" Another time, she got a verbal smackdown at the county fair by another 4-h mom who really didn't care to hear what time she had to get the steers, lambs and pigs to market. The other mom snapped, " I KNOW, 'Marney!' We are ALL doing the same thing and this week is insane for ALL of us!"

 

It made me very sensitive to how other moms might perceive the "I'm so busy" speech. I try not to say that unless it can't be helped.

 

I sometimes do the "this is how busy I am" thing, but IRL I will include "I'm sure the same is true for you," because being an involved parent is gonna be busy.

 

I've had times when I wanted to respond to a "harried" mom with "yeah, that's what I do every day."  But I know that it's easier for me (usually) because I have a busy routine that I'm used to.  It can be easier to do the same 100 things every week than to do 5 unfamiliar things in a day.

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For me, busy means me working 50+ hours a week at my full-time work-out-of-the-home job, a part time job that consists of me providing childcare at home 1-2 days a week for another homeschooling family, and trying to juggle instructional time at home with my own two children in addition to running them to piano lessons, language lessons, dance class, nature classes, park days, etc. 

So when I tell someone that I am busy, I mean it quite literally. Nearly every single hour of my day, day in and day out, is full with a prior commitment. I am reluctant to do many things with other people socially because when I do have downtime I just want to sit at home on the couch, or actually sleep for a change instead of filling my calendar with social obligations even moreso that it already is. 

Edited by Wabi Sabi

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It's cool to be busy. Fortunately I have no interest in being cool. To me busy means running around a lot. Boy scouts, gymnastics, soccer, youth group, volunteering. I know lots of busy people and they seem more tired than happy. I do tend to be busy when my mother in law calls. :leaving:

 

This. When we are out of the house most evenings in a week, I feel busy. (Honestly two evenings in a row can do it sometimes)

Edited by vonfirmath
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I am not sure if this is the same article pp mentioned upthread, but this article is coming from the angle that I am talking about in this discussion.

 

 

The answer to feeling oppressively busy, he says, is to stop telling yourself that you’re oppressively busy, because the truth is that we are all much less busy than we think we are. And our consistent insistence that we are busy has created a host of personal and social ills which Schulte reports on in great detail in her book—unnecessary stress, exhaustion, bad decision-making, and, on a bigger level, a conviction that the ideal worker is one who is available at all times because he or she is grateful to be “busy,†and that we should all aspire to the insane schedules of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

 

 

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