Monday, August 27, 2012

a whole new meaning to "busy"

I recently read a couple of bloggers talk about this concept of "being busy" (here and here). How we tend to respond with "good, but busy" when asked how we are; how in this culture "being busy" equates to thriving, successful, fulfilled... and how we tend to wear our busyness as "badges of honor" - a "boast disguised as a complaint" (Kreider). And although on one hand, busyness is a natural part of living; we all need to take care of family, make a living, pay the bills, exercise, make time for ourselves, etc etc... And there are those who are really and truly, genuinely busy. But it also makes me wonder how I add things to my plate to perpetuate this constant busyness. When in reality, some things that keep me "busy" are self-imposed and unnecessary, and removing them from my life would create "sacred space" or downtime to let me linger over a cup of tea.

Last week a friend of mine asked me to babysit her 2-month old daughter, as she started at her job and had to be away all day for the first time. I was honored that they trusted me. I thought, oh, I can bring a boatload of work; she's just going to eat, poop, and sleep. I'm going to get tons of work done. No biggie.

WRONG. I think the only productive work (meaning my own work) I did in my 8 hours of babysitting was to add one page to my syllabus for teaching this fall.

Somehow, the hours seemed to fly by as I played with her (I couldn't get enough of her smiling and cooing), fed her, burped her, changed her diaper, soothed her when she fussed, and rocked and bounced her to sleep. Oh, and speaking of diaper changing... why is it that babies poop just minutes after you change a wet/soggy diaper? So I felt her diaper, thought it was time for a change, went over to change her then set her down on her boppy pillow. Minutes later, she pooped big-time, and gave me a big gummy smile. The joke was on me. :)

thought this was pretty funny (image source)

So yes, time just flew. Adding one page's worth of work and reading 2 (short) chapters was a milestone.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. It was fun, albeit tiring - though I didn't realize I was tired till that evening when I got home. I've always been humbled by mothers who do it all so well. Well, I'm humbled by mothers in general. I know this isn't revelatory, bu moms are busy, no doubt about that. How do you do it???

So I did squeeze in a bit of work. Sure I was busy taking care of little Beatrice. And sure I had tons of work left to do.  But the thing is, it was a different kind of busy. Time ceases to matter when a tiny infant falls asleep on your chest. It's an entirely different feeling. I thought, forget about work. Just be fully present with this tiny, precious human being who, at this moment, depends on me completely. There you have it - sacred space.

PS: Interestingly, I woke up with very sore arms the next morning. While I knew I wasn't in great shape, I didn't think I was in terrible shape either. But I'm discovering that the strength needed for multiple chaturangas (yoga version of a push-up) and bakasanas doesn't quite compare to the strength needed for caring for a growing baby all day. Like I said: how do you moms do it?

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Misty said...

Oh, I totally relate. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for taking care of the little itsy bitsy! Before I had Eli I would have been petrified to do it.

I think something happens to you chemically after you give birth that somehow makes you able to do things you previously would never have attempted. And you have more patience.

For example, I had to run over and grab Eli three times while writing this comment, because he just can't stop trying to dunk his toys in the dog's water bowl. But I still love him :)

Mia (Savor Everyday) said...

Sarah, believe me I was a bit anxious too! The youngest one I had taken care of before that was 4 months old, so there is a pretty big difference developmentally...but I guess several years of working with young kiddos helped!

On "something happens to you chemically...". Interesting... I guess that's why we're all still here, right? Thanks for sharing your perspective!

Oh, and dunking his toys in the dog's water bowl? I hope he hasn't discovered filling the toilet with Legos, like the way my older brother and I did when we were kids (and yeah, I'm totally blaming it on my older brother, innocent toddler that I was, hahaha)

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