My son is a Cub Scout who works hard to earn badges that he proudly displays on his uniform. There are some badges that are fairly easy to earn, but the ones that have more requirements are the most desirable and are worn with the most pride. I was thinking this week what it would be like if adults earned badges for our achievements and wore them for everyone to see. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been feeling kind of smug lately about a badge I think I would have earned — my busy badge.
The thing is, a busy badge isn’t really all that special because it’s easy to earn and pretty much everyone has one. They give out busy badges like Oprah gives out her favorite things - YOU get a busy badge and YOU get a busy badge and YOU get a busy badge…
Big deal — I’m busy, who isn’t? You know what would be a big deal? If I took control of my busy schedule and weeded out some of the unnecessary things to make time and space for what really matters to me. I’m tired of answering the “how are you?” question with the obligatory, “busy” answer. These days it feels like a competition to be busier than the next person. It gives you more to complain about and more reasons for others to feel sorry for you or be in awe of how you do it all. I think for many of us, being busy provides an excuse not to excel because it’s impossible to be great at everything when you are doing so much.
More elusive and more desirable than a busy badge would be a downtime badge, a calm badge, a focus badge, or a be present badge. Those would take intention and self-discipline to earn — especially this time of year! The month of December is filled with school programs, concerts, projects, dress up days, and gift exchanges. There are work holiday parties, ugly sweater days, and secret Santas. At home we fill our time decorating, buying and wrapping gifts, baking cookies, planning and attending family gatherings, and moving the elf — all while trying to actually experience the holiday spirit and enjoy it.
"More elusive and more desirable than a busy badge is a downtime badge, a calm badge, a focus badge, or a be present badge. Those would take intention and self-discipline to earn - especially this time of year!"
The past couple of weeks set a busy record for me! My husband was out of town, my two school aged kids had lots of homework, programs and activities, and I was squeezing in everything I needed to do in my full time job before the end of the year. Even though on the inside I was feeling a little overwhelmed, it was kind of awesome - I could complain about being SO busy but yet keep things under control and maybe people would even ask “how does she do it?” Well, the plans I had to stay on top of everything fell through, and I had to scramble for a plan B! When I was near desperation, a friend stepped up and said, “Let me help.” I took full advantage of her offer and was so appreciative to her for not only helping me out, but making me realize that pretending that I’m happy wearing the busy badge isn’t necessary. Asking for help is one of the definitions of order that I wrote about when I first started this blog, but this is a hard lesson for me to learn.
After last week’s save by my friend, I decided I wasn’t going to try to be super mom, I was just going to be mom. The house was a little messier, some paperwork had to get filed for later, we ate out more than I’d like to admit, but that gave us more time to enjoy each other and the season. Over a year ago, I wrote about making time matter, and it's a shame that it takes a daily, conscious effort to slow down and experience our lives. I believe it all comes down to remembering that we control our own lives and schedules and having the courage to make the hard choices about how we spend our time. What badge are you trying to earn, and are you trying to achieve it to display to others or to satisfy yourself?
A woman with many roles in life who knows the necessity of keeping things in order!