“How are you, Kristin?”
“Yeah…is there ever a time when it’s not busy?”
I was a bit taken aback. Is that who I am? Always busy? Do people perceive me as always overwhelmed? AM I always overwhelmed? Do I ever feel restful? Am I ever content?
(Rabbit hole thoughts tend to drive me…)
I know this person did not likely intend me to have this deep reflection, but it really forced me to get perspective on how I approach every day. As I considered my attitude toward each day, the first thought that came to mind was: I’ve gotten a lot better.
I’m real high strung (all who know me are clearly not shocked). I think God creates us all a bit different, and I often feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. But since having a child, I’ve let a little more go.
Just today Jim and I were talking about how Owen often comes home with sand in his shoes. At first, I’d ever-so-carefully take his shoes off outside and spend a solid 60 seconds shaking them out. Then, one week, as we were driving home, he took off his shoes in the car because “my feet are hot, mom!” Commence sand all over the back seat floor. I cringed the next couple of times that happened, and then: just let it go. It was not worth a fight with sand.
I am pretty wound about a million other things; I like my world orderly and clean. But I have been ok with dirty floors that only get cleaned once every three weeks (I used to mop and vacuum every Friday, y’all) and a bathroom always with a hint of pee smell (three year old boys have awful aim). I still can’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen, but toys left out in the living room are a daily occurrence.
The fact that we’re home home most nights contributes to our mess there. But if we’re usually spending the evening at home, where does this busy feeling come from? Probably a load of laundry every other night, the need to clean the kitchen, trying to get out and play for a short 20 minutes, and bedtime routine survival. Snack, bath, and bedtime stories can happen in 45 minutes. But then it’s anywhere from 15 to 60 more minutes of “I need a drink,” “I have to pee,” “I have to poop,” “Why are the lights off?!?” before that child finally passes out. On the floor. Sometimes naked. Every blanket he owns strewn around his bedroom.
And, like a fool, I let it get to me. Instead of accepting this as a part of parenting. This is a part of living. Bedtime routine is lil O trying to get just a bit more time with Mom. Twenty minutes of outside time is focused attention that little boy needs. A dirty kitchen means good food in our bellies and the memory of lil O helping cook – and him learning those skills. We’re not busy; we’re living the way God intends us to. Together. And I have got to have a perspective of thankfulness.
So I’m creating a personal challenge. The next time someone asks me how I am, I am going to take a deep, peaceful breath and respond: “Grateful.” When I say I’m busy, I then feel busy, and as a result, I am scattered and stressed. But when I say I’m grateful, I feel grateful. And that leads to peacefulness. “Busy” is no longer an acceptable answer to “How are you?”
What reaction do you give to that question, and how does it drive your attitude?