How To Be Busy

Many moons ago Grandpa Babymule used to delight in tormenting his children with the phrase ‘work work, busy busy, chop chop, bang bang’ when we (rarely) had to carry out chores. His schoolboy humour would lead him into fits of stifled giggles as we threw him a glance of the most scrunched up faces we could muster in reproach, usually joined with a handful of washing up suds or potato peelings. I can’t express how annoying it was at the time, but I get it now.

Work work busy busy chop chop bang bang, work work busy busy chop chop bang bang. It’s the modern train of life chugging on relentlessly. Work work busy busy chop chop bang bang. How did we get so busy?

When multi-tasking goes bad. Poor little mini-mule.

When multi-tasking goes bad. Poor little mini-mule. Wrong kind of busy.

Born out of a fear of derailing my busy train, I’m trying to make a conscious decision to be the right kind of busy. I actually really love to be busy, it makes me feel enthused and energetic and I love the buzz of it. So this means I’m less busy with chores that can wait, or jobs that can be delegated. If the week feels too tight to handle then I’ll switch to easy dinners. If we’re all feeling exhausted then we’ll miss the after school club. I even (dare I mention it) pulled my biggest boy out of school for a day because he just needed a break! He returned energised and with his usual thirst for socialising and learning. I’ll happily ignore the cleaning for an extra few days (think how amazing the difference will be when you finally get round to it!) but truthfully I’m hoping to get some help on this (see delegation below).

So what’s my right kind of busy? I’ll take a 20minute journey by bike over a 5minute journey in the car. I’ll schedule in an extended jigsaw puzzle challenge with a 2 year old, and switch 20mins allocated to dinner prep for a daytime disco in the kitchen. I’m doing my best to exchange the phrase (despairingly) “I don’t have time for….” for (defiantly) “I don’t make time for….”. I’d also happily run (yes, actually run) from one activity to another if it means I can get a 6hour workday done and still get to school for pickup, feed the kids and get out to a yoga class, home in time for easy tea (Nigella’s carbonara) and a glass of wine …that may be my ideal busy day.

Making time to notice the details. Absolutely the right kind of busy.

Making time to notice the details. Absolutely the right kind of busy.

The new kind of busy is not easy to get – Mr Babymule is integral to its success. As is some serious batch cooking, fortuitous playdate opportunities with new pals, and unfortunately whilst I’m still trying to get the balance right ‘nights chilling on the sofa’ are a rarity (boo).

Since writing this I’ve found a cleaner (this is the delegation bit). She is my knight in shining cleaning products. She popped over to my home for 2 hours, transforming it in a fraction of the time it would have taken me (in between children, work and chores). I didn’t realise how much of a difference this would make until I realised I was nearly crying when she asked me if the work she had done was ‘ok’. Whatever I have to pay – it’s worth it!

This week I’ll try and make it more of an acclamation than a distress signal, especially at dinnertime disco. Work work busy busy chop chop bang bang!

Have a happy week.

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