Lesson Fifteen: Stop the Glorification of Busy

In my family, the women are always busy. My Mum can’t sit still. She has always had this remarkable ability of walking in the house and starting dinner before she sits down to have a cup of tea, return phone calls, get changed  – anything! She just walks in…puts the shopping down and starts chopping up the vegetables.

As  a child, by the time I had walked back down the stairs after changing into my comfy tracksuit, Mum would have already had the dinner cooking on the stove.

I have never known my Mum to nap – except in the car on long journeys away. She makes hats, or necklaces, or cooks up dinners for the freezer while us kids could always quite easily lay around watching tv all day!  She can achieve such remarkable productivity in one day, and back this up again, and again. My Mum is always so expertly multi-tasking -that I think that if she was a bee, there wouldn’t be any need for a division of labour. If my Mum was the Queen – she would just do it all by herself!

This busy-ness has been passed on to us, in the form of either guilt (of lack of work) or incredible productivity.

On the days that Matilda goes to daycare, I have always gone straight on to doctors appointments or the shops in a bid to immediately get started on my long list of activities.

To come home straight from the daycare drop off to have a rest sits really uncomfortably with me.

This has also meant that I have always had a lot of pain by friday, and my weekend’s fun has always been compromised. I push myself and push myself and by the end of the week I can barely move.

After doing a brief shop on my Matilda free days, I like to come home and work on my computer. I see that as ‘productive’. Following up on emails, researching ideas, writing a blog post – they are useful ways to spend my time. I allow myself this slight ‘rest’ break because I am sitting still on the couch, but I must do something useful – not scroll through facebook or read celebrity gossip.

At night, for some reason it is perfectly acceptable to cuddle up with Matilda on the couch to watch our favourite shows, such as ‘The Voice’, ‘Peppa Pig‘ or currently ‘The Block’. But to lay about on my own watching television, without my laptop – unacceptable.

Cooking dinner has been difficult for me as it is hard to stand for long periods. But I push myself to at least have dinner cooked when I have Matilda in daycare as I feel that is my job on these days….

I see that this blog is becoming a long tedious list of the periods of activity and inactivity of my day – but I am attempting to analyse a pattern.

I read this signpost from http://www.facebook.com/WOMENSRIGHTSNEWS, telling us to ‘Stop the Glorification of Busy’, and it really made me think about the layout of my own life.

When I am by myself I must always be doing two or three things at once. Cooking dinner while on the phone. Feeding baby while watching documentaries (serious television, not light movies. As a side note I recently watched the fantastic ‘Vanishing of the Bees‘ – can you tell?).

Is this a woman thing? A Mum thing? A pattern from my family?

I really enjoyed this statement from Women’s News because it made me think about my life.

It made me think about the values I want to teach my daughters.

I want them to savour the beauty of life.

That rich lush smell after rain.

The fun of jumping in muddy puddles (thanks Peppa).

The divine indulgence of chocolate and other decadent delights.

The comfort of true friendship, in being accepted and valued in a space where you can truly be yourself.

The warmth and love as you lay in your husband’s arms.

The love of family.

The satisfaction of a good coffee after a tiring night.

I want my girls to enjoy their days, their years, their lives – and not to feel proud based on their daily productivity, but in the way they make their mark through their life.

As a Mum, I am going to try and stop making sure I’ve crossed off my list of jobs and grab my girls and cuddle up with them in my bed for an emergency cuddle session.

And on my days at home, I’m going to let myself rest so that I can be a better, stronger and happier Mum, and to stop being so busy!

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About the author

Elissa De Heer

I have been studying on and off for years and have postgraduate degrees in English Literature (Masters) and Teaching (Masters), a Diploma in Editing, and a Certificate in English Language Teaching.

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