I’ve been a poor poster lately, for a variety of reasons. The central theme, however, is busyness. Which should really be spelled business, which leads me to start thinking about the real meaning of what it is that happens all around the world everyday. Now seems like a good time to mention that my views do not represent the views of my employer.
I think we all (or many of us) have a similar pattern: we enter a busy phase of our lives and imagine that we couldn’t be any busier (imagine Chandler Bing saying “Could I BE any busier?!” because I did), and then time goes by and we adjust or the phase ends, and we enter a new phase of busyness and it’s at an elevated level from the previous level; repeat.
I thought I was busy in college, but once I graduated and had 3 jobs and worried about paying the bills, I realized how much hanging out time I had in undergrad. In grad school I realized how much free time I really did have even with three jobs and wondered if I actually did any work at all in undergrad. Then I was researching and attempting to buy a house while working (alongside my now-husband), then planning a wedding. Every point seemed busier than the previous.
Of course, anyone in the know will tell you that the only way to get an accurate gauge of how much of your youth you’ve “wasted” in non-productive time (tv watching, book reading, sleeping) is to have children. I encourage you to have several at once for the full effect.
It’s easy to say that parenting is a full-time job, but it’s also silly, because a full-time job is 40 hours a week. This is 168 hours a week. You are never not a parent. You are always on call. If your twins are both teething and are sleeping in two hour stretches, but waking up on alternate hours, you still are responsible for their care – at 2:00 AM, at 3:00 AM, at 4:00 AM, and at 5:00 AM, at which point you might as well just get up for the day.
What’s very interesting to me (and amazing) is how much other stuff we are able to do, regardless. Take my wonderful husband, who is wonderful. He works his regular job with the city. During the summer that means a lot of time outside in the elements, which is exhausting. He also is the assistant cross country coach at St. Bonaventure; he has responsibility for the men’s team. And this is not something he is casual about, either. He is extremely dedicated to these guys. He recruits them, he spends hours and hours devising a training schedule, and he takes an active interest in each of them so that he knows their strengths and weakness, and how to best help them develop to be the best runners that they can be. It’s incredibly important to him. He also is going to school to get an engineering degree, in his free time. So this is a busy man. Add twins. He spends a lot of time with his children, which is natural and normal, even though too many people say that when the dad is watching the kids he’s “babysitting,” but that’s a complaint for another day. He plays with them, loves to teach them, and spends every free moment with them.
I am not as busy as Bob. I work full time, of course and I volunteer for two committees – one for our local Challenger Center which helps develop students’ interest in STEM subjects (that’s a really poor description – click through to read more, please), where I sit on the marketing committee, and I’m the chair of the marketing committee and sit on the board of a local CSA, Canticle Farm. Because of Bob’s more hectic schedule, in the fall I tend to spend more time with the babies, and in the summer he spends more time with them. And recently I was given a giant project at work that is probably the equivalent of 80 hours a week, which of course I don’t have.
Whenever I begin to think that I am so busy that I couldn’t possible do ONE MORE THING, I remember those other “busy” times, and realize that I will be able to do more things. Although it makes me break out in a cold sweat now, I know that when the twins are old enough to sign up for dance and soccer and horse riding lessons, we will be ready for that. I am also willing to cut myself a break. This is an incredibly busy time, but given some time, it will become routine, so if I don’t continue to focus on the busyness of it and rather focus on the work of it, I will soon find myself in a better place, with things accomplished.
And so it will go, as it has always gone.