Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Slowing down, ending the BUSY craze

Three months have gone by. I won't even go there. I will just pick up where I left off. Pick up that virtual pen and start writing again. Time has a way of sneaking by and leaving us with some regrets or perhaps things left undone. This blog is one of them for me. Times get busy and things get left by the wayside, but we start again in hopes of moving on.

Being busy

But what of this "being busy all the time"? Do you constantly find yourself saying "I'm busy" or "let me check my schedule". Years back the "let me check my schedule" line was more of a joke than anything else. "Let me pencil you in" was something we said to sound as if we were busy, but we, of course, had the time.  Yet, nowadays this "busy-ness business" has become reality.

I think for the past few years I have had to "schedule" more phone calls than I have made on a random basis. Remember when people use to just pick up the phone and just call? Even better than that was the time before caller ID existed. You were just obliged to pick up the phone; you never knew who it could be! Now, when the phone rings, we say to ourselves..."I don't have time for this call" or "I'll get back to them some other time!"

With all the technology we have these days, I think we actually communicate less and less.  I know more about my friends and family through Facebook than I do through actual full-blown conversations. And yes, yes, this blog is part of that "un-communication-communication".

Wouldn't you say that this "busyness business" has become more and more prevalent than ever before? Even kids are too busy these days. As a high school teacher, I was sometimes shocked at how many activities, jobs, and hobbies my students were involved in. I have made it a point that our little ones not join any extracurricular activity until they are older. I can't even begin to tell you how many three year olds I know who are already involved in some sort of sport, music or art class. How about just letting kids be kids? Run around, get dirty, kick around a ball or fall off a bike?

Learning to ride a bike

How I slow down

I've also been taking a few steps in a more "slow" direction in order to get back into an intentional pace. I have started writing letters. Letter writing is so rare these days and those who have been on the receiving end have really appreciated it. Taking the time to sit with paper and pen and write down thoughts can be therapeutic and freeing. It is something I really enjoy and it helps me to keep away from the mean screen!

I also take to writing all my appointments and to do lists in a real, paper agenda. For a long time I used to keep track of everything on my smart phone. My phone was constantly sounding alarms in the most inappropriate places and at the most inconvenient times. Go figure! Writing down my schedule and routines helps me to remember them. Writing is linked to memory. That's why good old-fashioned note taking is far more effective when it comes to studying rather than typing away on a laptop.

Slowing down with kids

With the boys we read, read, read. The boys love to read books. Either they will sit and look at books (as they don't actually read yet) for long stretches of time or we will sit and snuggle together to read and develop a love of reading. The benefits are immense and it is really quality time spent together. The one thing I will randomly buy them are books. Now we even visit the local library and they have their very own, very important and special library cards. Toys will come on three particular times a year: feast day, birthday and Christmas. Books! Well, they are an exception. In our house? Books abound!

Our choice to not have a television at home helps us to choose other activities rather sit in front of the all time consuming boob-tube. I myself know the dangers of HGTV and all shows related to DIY, cooking or gardening. Besides, I am so busy now that I don't know how I would have time to sit and watch television. It would be nice though. Pinterest has my undivided attention already. It's a habit I must kick!

The boys used to watch videos on rainy days and on "sick days" but even that I have eliminated. Especially now that rainy season is upon us. I know. Harsh, huh? I don't think so. I noticed that my almost four year old began to have tantrums each time his "video time" would end. He was having uncontrollable fits of "I want more videos". He never really watched very much, but when he did it became an obsession. Video marathons!

Just being kids in the backyard
After a long conversation with a dear friend who was experiencing the same situation with her eldest son, I decided to snatch up her idea. She took away all technology and designated a once a week "family movie night". It has been a life-saver. She has seen a huge difference in her sons behavior. I too have seen a difference in just under one week. The research is there. Screens are not good for children. Outdoors, books and just plain family time is good for children. I am a firm believer that screens should be limited. There is truly no benefit in them, not even educationally speaking. They are a great tool, at that.

All these slower paced tactics help me to stay grounded and really be available to our children. There are still those moments when I sneak some time on my phone to see that Facebook post. I become mesmerized! Engrossed! On the brink of having my own tantrum however distant, small voice shouting "mommy? mommy?" quickly brings me to. The cold sweats cease and I'm back in Kansas!

So let me get off this darn laptop and get back to my kids who are taking all the books off the shelf in search of that one about whales!

Take it slow and watch the change in yourself. This business of being busy only steals away our precious time. Slow down and enjoy the little things. It's what is most important.

Do you do anything to slow down the pace of your own busy life? What are you doing to help your children slow down a bit?


  1. Life absolutely passes us by as quickly as we let it. It is directly correlated to the busyness of our lives! Love your blog!

    1. Thank you my dear friend! My busyness cannot keep me from seeing you. Let me know when you are free! Miss you tons!

  2. fast brain/slow brain! I found I make so many decisions during the day with the fast brain system of thinking...which flows over into the time with the kids. I can admit to reading a book and thinking about something else at the same time. I try now to use the slow brain and really truly live the present moment. its better for all involved! :)

    1. We both have the ability to move from fast brain to slow brain. Here's to wishing our lives would be more on slow brain, for our sake and for our boys sake. Love you!

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