A few years ago I was in a bad relationship that I couldn’t see out of, a relationship with Busy. Busy is the perfect partner for a potential Supermum, the finest multitasker and juggler there is. I absolutely thought it was my mission to fill my life with as much as I could, I was on a mission to be a Supermum. I didn’t even know I was trying, I was on autopilot.
Busy has treated me badly. My relationship with Busy has been a turbulent one, and Busy was a real charmer to start off with. Busy had me feeling important, productive and valid. As long as I was busy I was contributing. To what I wasn’t sure, although now I suspect it was to an impending slow breakdown of sorts.
Busy taught me to say yes to everything, to push a little harder than I felt I was capable of, to stretch my limits and never stop. The opposite of all of those was failure. Lazy, worthless failure and it wasn’t an option. I can’t even say it wasn’t an option because it wasn’t even on my radar.
Busy taught me to go for jobs that would see me climb a ladder I wasn’t sure I really wanted to be scaling. It taught me to stay up until far too late to get things done that were important but not crucial. It taught me to research which important University degrees I should be studying on top of my job and family life so that I could climb that previously mentioned ladder because that’s what all the successful people I knew were doing.
Busy took me away from spending quality time with my children doing mum things as often as I liked, and left me grumpy and mean. No one told me that I didn’t need Busy, and most people I knew were also in a deep relationship with Busy so it was hard to see what it was doing to me.
Rewind three years and this can give you an idea of how busy this Supermum was…
This appeared on my Facebook memories today, which I’ve worked out is like a life journal for people who are too busy to journal (and I love it).
Let me break it down for you, my one year old son who had open heart surgery just under a year before this post started having fast heart rates. He had just been taken off his medication so potentially it was a dangerous situation, but he was fine. As mentioned, he went to ER where he was monitored overnight and sent home without a hitch. And I got up and went to work. I went with possibly a couple of hours sleep, if that, because I was in an abusive relationship with Busy. Read that post, I wore thermal pants to work! I’ll never forget that day, I actually thought I was having a panic attack or a hot flush because I couldn’t stop sweating. When I got to school I realised that they were thermal pants to be worn under snow gear. At the time I thought it was a bit funny, but now I think it’s ludicrous.
Why did I push myself to be at work when I had very little sleep and had been at hospital all night? Because I was a Supermum, and that’s what they do. And so you know, when you are a Supermum you just shake that shit off. If someone tells you you should go home because you are physically and emotionally exhausted, you say without missing a beat, “no, I’m fine! Don’t be silly. It’s nothing.” The worst part of playing that role is that you actually believe it. You see other Supermums juggling all their stuff and life and Busy and you remind yourself that if they can do it so can you.
I kept up that role for a few years until I realised something wasn’t working. For the first couple of years that it wasn’t working out, I had assumed it was me. I was trying so hard, but it just wasn’t happening for me. I was stressed beyond stressed, I was a hot mess and I wasn’t juggling anything successfully. Everyone around me was, but I couldn’t do it.
Then I realised that Busy and I weren’t compatible. Busy brought out the worst in me. I had to stop and slow down or I think I would have completely fallen apart. I was not born to be a Supermum, just like I wasn’t born to be a sprinter, a model or an artist. I do believe there are genuine Supermums out there, not many, but they exist. My effort was like watching the bomb out acts on a talent show, despite their best efforts they’re just not cut out for it and it seems ridiculous that they can’t see it.
Busy will always be a part of my life. When I’m grocery shopping with my kids and I bark, “hurry up!” several thousand times, Busy is right there. When we’re rushing to get out the door in the mornings, when we’re late for appointments and when I fill my life with way too much. It’s inevitable, but I try to keep it out of the important bits of our life, all the good stuff, as much as I can.
I’m still busy, absolutely! But I’ve handed in my Supermum badge and I don’t ever want it back. So just in case you might feel like busy is not for you, I’m telling you right now that it’s okay to throw your hands up and quit Busy. You can still be a productive human being, you will still be important and it’s perfectly fine to hand in your badge too. No one ever told me that, so now I’m telling you. Choose where busy belongs in your life and don’t invite it where you need to slow down or be still, because they’re the best moments and busy doesn’t belong there, not one bit.
“Everybody seems to think I’m lazy
I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy.
Running everywhere at such a speed
Till they find there’s no need.”
― John Lennon, Paul McCartney (I’m Only Sleeping)