In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve gone from writing three times a week to two. I find that being wiped out doesn’t lend itself to much creativity. The last few weeks of August are always the hardest of the summer for us, too. We have our anniversary, kid’s birthdays, back to school and end of summer vacations; it’s hectic. Aside from that, I’m not witty enough during the last month of summer to do more than two a week.
Business is a season that every person goes through, especially parents. As our kids get older our lives get crazier. We try to come up with more and newer things to do with them and to do themselves. We’re in competition with ourselves to be better than we were the year before and the year before that.
Aside from the kids, we have to maintain our relationships. I find this much harder to do as a SAHM. How do I find time and energy to maintain a relationship with my husband and friends? We’re all tired and we’re all busy. Getting together feels like organizing a trip to the moon.
When we moved in April, I bought a planner to keep all the newfound insanity in order. Since the move there’s only been one single weekend we weren’t busy. We don’t schedule family things during the week because my husband works, but the girls and I need something to do; enter summer club season. For the first half of summer we were busy every weekend and most weekdays.
That’s a lot of activity. What happens when those weekday activities stop? You can frantically fill the space, or you can hear the endless questions: “Can we do something? Can we buy something? Can we go somewhere? I’m bored.” I thought I preferred filling the space to the questions, but I found myself remembering my childhood and reminding them of it frequently.
“Do you know what I used to do during the summer? My parents worked; I played by myself using my imagination. I played with the toys my parents spent money on.” My oldest looks at me like I have two heads before asking, “Can you come be my puppet and entertain me?” That was maybe slight paraphrasing, but not much.
When you see nothing but busy, busy, busy, and when everyone around you is busy, busy, busy, it feels like there’s no end. It feels like there’s never going to be enough time to do everything. It feels like you’re missing something every day.
It feels that way, but that’s not the way it is. The solution is to step back and do nothing. Yes, do nothing. Don’t go out to eat, don’t go to the movies, don’t make any plans that involve being somewhere at a specific time. In fact, don’t make any plans at all.
I feel a great amount of guilt when I have the desire to do nothing so I usually ignore it. But then, something magical happened. Our 9 year wedding anniversary was this past Thursday and we decided to get away for the night and aside from one planned event on Thursday we had no place to be. Friday we found things to do while we were out and about; we flew by the seat of our pants. No time crunches and no running late. I hadn’t realized how much I needed a rest. It took a half a day of having no obligations to realize how worn out I was.
We had plans on Saturday, but our Sunday was wide open (aside from church). My finger itched to call up some friends and try to get something going, but instead I scheduled nothing. I literally scheduled nothing. In my planner in big bold words I wrote “NOTHING” under today.
So far I’ve played some Candy Crush, had some lunch and have been catching up on the Olympics. I even worked some coffee in there. I’m letting my oldest play in the kitchen with our homemade play dough (by herself) and the youngest was allowed some iPod time when she woke up from her nap.
No one is hurrying to be five minutes late, I don’t have to bark orders and my husband is able to do what he wants to do on a real day off. I thought the kids would be upset and whine, but the opposite happened. We’ve had more time to cuddle and say I love you. They’re looking at the day as a free day. It’s almost like Mommy has an imaginary glass of wine to give her an anything goes attitude. It’s quite freeing.
Today I prescribe to you a day of nothing. Let your kids make messes, sit back and relax and make an effort to breath, because you have to resist cleaning that mess.
Business is a season, but it shouldn’t be your life; don’t let it be. I’m very slowly learning the value in this.
When will you schedule your do nothing day?