A whole lot of nothing

In case you live under a rock you might have missed that yesterday was Mother’s day. And in case you’re new to this blog, you might not know that I’m a mother! And so yesterday, in honor of Mother’s Day, I did nothing! Well, almost nothing. I don’t know if that sounds weird to you or not, but it’s actually rather profound for me.

You see, the night before Mother’s Day, my husband and I got into a discussion about how sometimes I can get myself a little overwhelmed. It doesn’t happen all that often- or at least I don’t think it does- because I believe that overwhelm is less about your circumstances and more about your perspective. But that being said, Saturday night I found myself looking through the lens of too much on my plate.

We were talking about volunteering at church Sunday morning in the 3 and 4 year old class (so yes, that’s what I mean when I said I did almost nothing on Mother’s Day), and I was complaining (yes, sometimes I complain) about it. Y’all, childcare and Sunday school are just not my gifting. Anyone with me on that one? It’s just not something I enjoy, am good at, or can even really fake. But I do it because I have kids and if people are going to be watching and teaching my kids 4 times a month, I guess I can watch and teach their kids just the one time it’s my turn each month. Lucky for me, it just so happened to be on Mother’s Day this month.

So there we were, the night before Mom’s day in the 3 and 4 year old class, and I was listing off all the areas of my life where I’m not just doing something, but I’m in charge of that something! At church, Tom and I are founding a marriage ministry. In business, I mentor hundreds of people and support our family.  In small group, Tom and I lead one together, and I lead another one for ladies only. In sports, Tom and I both coached this season. In school, I homeschool, so yea. I also write a blog, contribute to a blog, am working on a book, and am helping to establish a non-profit. As much as this may sound like a laundry list of complaints, that’s not what I’m getting at at all! This is a long list of my choices- choices I am glad for and enjoy!

But what this leaves me with is ZERO passive time. I have nowhere that I go where I just attend, if that makes sense. I don’t just sit in the crowd. I don’t learn, I teach, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. Again, if you’re not keeping the right perspective, this can become overwhelming pretty quickly. And I was expressing to my husband not so much that I was overwhelmed, but more that I just couldn’t figure out where to put some down time. Ya feel me? It’s no wonder people are always amazed at why I’m answering emails and questions at 1am- it’s probably a commercial on This Is Us and I’m passing the time. My ‘downtime’ happens after everyone, including my husband, is asleep.

So when my mom asked me on Mother’s Day what I was doing for the day and I happily said, ‘Nothing,’ she seemed sad for me. But oh contraire! Don’t cry for me Argentina! Doing nothing (after church and lunch) was JUST what the doctor ordered. As a matter of fact, I watched three episodes straight of Fixer Upper and I didn’t even feel guilty! And it was the middle of the day! I didn’t fold laundry. I did only a few dishes. I didn’t clean (much) and I didn’t cook. And it was the best celebration of momhood I could have imagined.

Readers, I know you’re busy. You probably stopped reading this blog because we’re a culture with the attention span of 140 characters! (NOTE: Twitter is DOUBLEING the allotted amount of characters!! 280 coming your way soon! Turns out we’re moving in the right direction!) But if you’re someone who get’s overwhelmed, or if you’re someone who feels guilty for doing nothing because you have a long to-do list, or maybe even an allergic reaction to standing still, perhaps you’re like me and you need to schedule into your calendar a whole lot of nothing. Yep, that’s right, I plan to add in at least 30 minutes of ‘do nothing’ to my calendar. Maybe that’s reading, maybe that’s a bath, and maybe that’s Gray’s Anatomy but let me just set you free from the trap that I find myself in from time to time: No one is impressed with your schedule! No one is clapping when you report on how busy you are! Because I am so sorry to tell you this (and you’ve heard this from me before, but it requires harping on), you are not special because you’re busy. Poll your friends… WE ARE ALL BUSY! It’s not a good thing, but (and hear me on this) it’s also not a BAD thing. It’s just a thing. It’s just the way it is.

Let’s detach from the shame and/or the pride in our crazy schedules and let’s just do nothing together! Let’s make a point of taking down time. Let’s force it in, if that’s what we need to do. It shouldn’t just be on Mother’s Day that I let things go and put on a little tv and hang with my kids. Just because the kids are gone and your husband is busy doesn’t mean that that is not the perfect time to do some reading as opposed to the perfect time to clean out the attic!

Trust me on this one, as I am MOSTLY talking to myself right now. This is just the hardest thing ever for me to imagine actually doing in any real way, but I know it’s necessary. If I’m going to keep on loving all the things I love doing, running, over seeing, and growing… than I’m going to need to schedule regular unplugging.

So who is with me on this one? Who is signing up for slowing down? I’m not talking about hours. I’m talking about 30 minutes of scheduled down time. Who is in for a whole lot of nothing?

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