Since becoming a parent three and a half years ago I have had a number of people tell me I must be busy with our two kids. I understand why people say it. Babies, infants, and toddlers demand a lot of your energy.
The other night Andrea and I were talking about the kids and other events that have happened since becoming parents. When we started to talk about the kids and being busy because of them, I said I didn’t feel busy. I felt unbusy.
There is a “unbusy movement” going on in the world of minimalists. Basically, people are paring down their lives by removing clutter, reducing expenses, and others. I am a fan of this movement.
But when I thought about being busy with kids I could not relate it to times in my life when I knew I was busy. Like at work calling people, responding to emails, making sales, etc. While all of those things were apart of my job I felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Or when I was at college juggling classes, the occasional job, sports, studying, and a full social calendar. There were no down days and it was awesome.
I feel none of those with kids. Especially babies, infants, and toddlers.
My best guess is I feel unbusy because for the first time in my life I am not doing something for me. For the last three years I have been doing things for two people incapable of doing anything for themselves.
While I do not feel busy, I know at any moment one of them will need me for a minute here or ten minutes there. Forcing me to drop everything I am doing at that moment to take care of the situation only to wait for it to happen again. Its the “Hurry Up and Wait” analogy people in the Military say.
There is no reward.
There is no accomplishment.
There is no clocking out.
You are constantly unbusy as a parent to very young kids. It doesn’t make sense, but its a thing. Well, its my thing.
**An example of being unbusy as a parent happened thirty seconds after typing what I thought would be the last sentence above. I added what happened below the next day.**
As I finished typing on the computer in my basement, me and my two year old daughter were making our way upstairs for dinner.
She was half way up the stairs when she missed the railing, lost her balance, and instead of falling forward into the steps she freaked out and fell backward down the steps.
Thankfully (for lack of better word) she was on the fifth step and not at the top. Her arm took the brunt force of the hit from the second to last step above the basement floor. She bounced off the step in a spinning like fashion and her butt hit the floor absorbing the remaining force. She broke out in tears and I went into high alert. I was four feet away and could do nothing.
Even though both of my kids have gone up and down the steps on their own a hundred times, it is the second time I have seen one fall down the basement steps. The first time was pretty bad.
My now three year old was two when he misstepped from the very top and somersaulted all the way down (thankfully) bouncing off that second to last step with his shoulder which kept his head from hitting the basement floor.
He was ok, but Ill never forget seeing him tumble down the steps head over heels four feet away and not being able to do anything about it.
Back to my daughter. She was ok, but for the next twenty minutes I held her in my arms consoling her. Unbusy.
The rewards are the smiles you get when they come home or you come home from being gone. The reward is she felt comfort in your arms after tumbling down the stairs. Measure your rewards by the time not the things.