I am very motivated to write about something today that is on my mind frequently. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Colleen. 18 months ago I was a BUSY (you will soon learn why I highlight that word) mom of 2. In a tornado of events leading with the tragic murder/suicide that took my beautiful sister and her ex husband from us, today I am a mom of 5 aged 11, 9 (my sister’s kids who are now ours), 4, 2 and almost 6 months. The MAIN point of this little article is that I want every single person who reads it to feel one of two things when they are finished:
- Fulfilled -& OR-
People often ask me/say to me (one or some or most of these things): “How do you do it all with 5 kids and 2 successful at home businesses? You must be SO busy! But you look so refreshed!”
Here are some of my replies:
- Busy is my friend! I have to be busy or I go insane! I have ADD and OCD, people.
- Awww thanks! We have a lot of help.
- It gets crazy sometimes but I try to always remember how blessed we are!
- I took a shower today!
Here are some of the replies on the tip of my tongue:
- Busy is my friend. I have to be busy or I would just be sad all the time missing my sister/best friend and I would think about my poor nephews and how angry it makes me that they had only 8 and 10 years with the most wonderful mom in the world.
- My ex boyfriend’s mom had 8 kids and she always SEEMED to have it together. Her living room was always PERFECTLY vacuumed AND she had the most organized pantries ever. And her husband’s shirts were always whiter than white and crisp as can be. Did I mention her pantries were out of a catalog? She even kept the “gum” container tidy. She also trained her kids well, I presume.
- NOTE: Do not invite yourself into my pantry unless you have given me 48 hours notice that you intend to do so.
- I know other families at the school with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 kids who have not nearly as much help as we do. When I get stressed I think about them!
- How do I do it all? I don’t! We have a literal army. A tribe. A nation. Our family is not restricted or confided to bloodlines. I am not sure there is a more valuable lesson for my kids to learn other than to BE KIND. And that lesson is, Family are the friends you make for yourselves.
- In order for me to look “refreshed” I must, on occasion, shower. In order for me to successfully shampoo, condition and wash my body when it’s just me and my 3 littlest, requires strategy and takes more time and effort than the actual shower. However. I stink. Like literally. Therefore showering becomes a necessity. Also… Danny tells me how pretty I look when I take good care of myself. He strives to be my favorite.
- I have an amazing husband. No. Our relationship is FAR from perfect. We disagree about a lot because we are raising 5 kids with different personalities and activities and time together is scarce, but at the end of the day I can honestly say that he is one of a kind. Even when I can’t even stand to look at him! Just kidding. He works hard and is an amazing dad and even when he maybe shouldn’t, he loves me.
- My mom comes over basically every day. Even when I tell her not to. She just loves me so much. Also see bullet point #1 in this section. She has to stay busy, too.
- My business partner for one of my businesses works her literal ASS OFF. I don’t know what else to say about that. Thank you, CB. Smoochies.
Ok so what is the point of all of this babble? I promise there is one. The word BUSY is such a relative term to mr. The truth is… everyone is busy. Let me rephrase that. Everyone is busy IF they are using the talents God gave them to the best of their abilities. Being a good kind of busy can a choice. Sure I am busy without choosing to be because I DO have 5 kids which means a LOT of things. Like.. laundry all day everyday, dishes on dishes on dishes, practices, games, homework, projects, rides to friends, dance parties, puzzles, crafts, spilled milk, sad tears, mad tears, out of nowhere ridiculous what prompted that tears, hugs, kisses, snuggles, cuddles, nursing allll day and night, bad dreams, runny noses… the list goes ON AND ON and really never ends. But what I mean is, it doesn’t matter if you have 5 kids or 10 kids no kids or a dog or a cat or a fish or no pets at all. If you are single or a stay at home mom/dad or go to an office or travel or work from a remote location. If you are making the best use of your time, you are busy. Taking a nap takes time. If that is the best use of your time, then you are busy. If a nap is going to make you a better you so that you can accomplish things and become closer to reaching your goals and being a nicer human… then for God’s sake… TAKE THE NAP!
My 6 month old is busy. She is busy nursing, eating solids, playing, pooping, spitting up, rolling, sitting, crying, sleeping and melting our hearts.
My 2 year old is busy. She wakes up entirely too early and wants to start her day immediately. No time to waste. In between sleeping & diaper changes, she is on the go pushing strollers and carts and playing mommy and babbling to baby and being bossy and independent and strong willed and making no sense but then being oh so sugary sweet. To get her way. MOST of the time.
My 4 year old is busy. He is busy being thoughtful and caring and saying hilarious things and drawing pictures and doing puzzles and playing and singing music and attending the boys games and counting bites to get to dessert and making master plans to stay up late and hear one more once upon a time story and have one more sip of water and tell us just ONE MORE THING.
My 9 year old is busy. From school, to counseling, to basketball and lacrosse. From homework and time spent on his iPad listening to music and playing games and texting his darling friends. To playing with his sibs and telling me he knows I don’t want to hear how heavy Shannon is because I hold her ALL DAY LONG, but his arms are about to fall off. From asking for and receiving hugs and then being disciplined for leaving his coat in the middle of the kitchen floor. For offering to help me make dinner or telling me I look really pretty or that I could use a glass of red. Right up until lights are out, and probably even then, the kid is doing cartwheels and flips and bouncing around and being Danny. And being busy.
My 11 year old is a pain in my you know what right now, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t busy. He is BUSY being that! He is busy with school and homework I can’t even do and asking questions like “how can I make a lot of money someday so I can have a nice car?”. From sports and friends and snap chat and wrestling with his sibs and asking if he can strip down baby and kiss her chubby cheeks before bath. He is busy avoiding chores and avoiding affection and making my life busier by arguing but then apologizing because he never wants to see me upset.
We are ALL busy. Especially if we want to be. And gosh darn it I WANT to see my friends and have dates with my husband on top of all the things I HAVE to do. SO if that makes me busier than busy, sign me up. It’s called sanity.
There is ALWAYS time even when there isn’t. There is always time to make time for the ones you love and the things you want to do. Does this mean we aren’t allowed to complain about how busy we are? ABSOLUTELY NOT! That is not at all my point. I was busy when I was in college. Taking naps and doodling during class and studying when I had to and partying and being with my friends. I was busy post graduation, working and being an adult and not knowing that I needed to set up my electricity and PAY for it in order for it to work. I was busy as a newly wed figuring out how Doug liked things and how I liked things and how to balance living away from family with being content with my family and friends in St. Louis. I was busy when I had Ryan. I laughed when I had Maddie and I thought I was busy when I just had Ryan. Until I came up with this very theory that I am writing about today. Which helped me put things in perspective when the unexpected happened because I remember feeling busy before because I was busy! I was making the best use of the gifts God gave me to be a mom, a wife, a friend, daughter/daughter-in-law, a sister, a fan, an employee, etc. And trying to be the best at all of those things.
If you are doing what you love. If you have: school, a job, a hobby, a passion, friends, family, weird obsessions with boy bands or drive to be and make a difference, YOU ARE BUSY. You are busy because you are making the best of YOUR life. You are busy and YOU ARE ENOUGH! Don’t let anybody dull your sparkle by making you feel inadequate or acting like you can’t possibly understand what it’s like because you are this or that. Until we have all walked ONE HUNDRED miles in someone elses shoes, and really even then, no judgement. That is something we truly DON’T have time for.
Ok I THINK that’s all. I hope you enjoyed my philosophical blog post today. Not sure why I felt it necessary but I did and now I feel inspired to take a quick shower. I am down to 1 and help from my mom so I might even have time to sing!