Sunday, January 12, 2014

Belated New Years Resolutions

I don't usually believe in New Year's resolutions, so this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek and not all that serious. Serious will happen in lent, when I'll try out a few changes to my lifestyle for seven weeks... for now, I'll simply declare my intention to never use a certain two words in 2014: 

#1 BUSY   

I won't touch the b-word, unless maybe in a reasonable context such as 'the phone line was busy'. Are phone lines even busy anymore? This scenario may or may not come to pass, but I will henceforth never describe my life or my state of being as 'busy' *) **). Presumably, everyone has 24 hours in every day and does stuff for most of that time. Which brings me to the other word. 


I won't say it. Except in a chemical, biological or engineering context, when you'd mostly use the singular of the word-which-must-not-be-mentioned, which would be OK, and I may potentially find myself in that situation. Why do I feel so strongly about one of the most ubiquitous mom-words out there? Because to me, it implies something interesting: Unless a child is enrolled in an ***oh dear, I almost typed it***, she isn't doing anything worthwhile or valuable. Given what those things typically cost, the connection isn't a stretch - but is a kid sitting at home with a puzzle or a good book really not doing anything? Are children who play street soccer (do kids still play street soccer? I mean, without little league coaches and all that?) several times a week less active than those who meet once a week after mom forks over a check and a signed waiver? We don't play soccer at all, but the same applies to kids' cooking lessons, craft classes, etc.  By the way, notice how 45 minutes of "activity" is typically framed by quite some time of inactivity, strapped into a car seat, going to and fro? And the siblings and moms sit in the hallway, typically entertained by small electronic gadgets ***). "Activity" is sort of a misnomer, you see. 

Anyway, I may be overanalyzing the whole matter, and I'm not usually a splitter of verbal hairs, so this is just my own personal resolution, I simply promise to never say "my kids are busy with activities" if you call to schedule a playdate. In fact, don't bother calling, just come over and try (y)our luck.

*) There is a much more eloquent and smart article written by a much more fabulous blogger than me, that inspired me to go through with this, and articulate it publicly instead of just continuing to hate the four-letter B* word in private.

**) Upon proofreading this post, I realized that I will not be able to say 'Not now, I'm busy' to anyone for a year. Hmmmm. This resolution may be more serious than I anticipated.

***) I don't want to misrepresent ours as a family that doesn't do any of that - we do. I'm just trying to be very judicious about the amount of driving and hallway-sitting involved. Instigated by my oldest, who needs ample time to hunt dragonflies and read books after her long school days, we have come up with a family rule of only allowing scheduled afternoon stuff to happen every other day, with 'do nothing days' sprinkled in between. I can only recommend this sort of balance, especially for introverted children and moms. 

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