"Busy" isn't just a state of mind. For me, it's the culmination of my entire existence, specifically over the last 10 years. As a mom of two who spends the majority of her time solely interacting with humans ages 10 and under, generally cleaning up or chasing after them most hours of most days, I can attest to all the things a stay-at-home mom really means when she says she's "busy" because, well, I am her.
While I can happily say I now enjoy steady work from the softest, most back-damaging couch cushion (as opposed to years of finicky freelance work), my children are always nearby, never hesitating to ask for another snack that requires too much preparation, another movie I can't seem to find, or another request that involves me doing something I absolutely don't want to do, like traversing down to our local playground. Now that school's out it's time for the yearly tradition of next-level "busy." While slightly different, in that we don't have the same get-up-and-get-to-school routine, I'm maxed-out on finding ways to keep the kids busy through the course of an entire day so I can get anything else done. One can only go on so many walks around our quiet neighborhood, or pick up so many sticks "for fun."
After years of doing this mom thing, it's taken a lot of fails to figure out how to fight being "busy" all the time. The truth is, I surrendered. I'm sorry to all who've asked me to meet up for a spur-of-the-moment whatever, or even the Friday night thing four months in advance. Sometimes I'm just too busy. With that, here's what I, and every other stay-at-home mom, mean by that. You know, just in case you think I do nothing while I'm home all day with two tiny humans.
"I'm Driving Miles Out Of My Way For The Best Latte In Town"
I'm a self-proclaimed latte enthusiast and will go far out of my range to get my favorite cup. The place I frequent on a regular basis takes about 20 minutes each way, and it's well worth it. In fact, I'd drive farther for if I had to.
To most, it sounds snobbish to refuse gas station coffee (or even to make a pot of coffee myself), or ridiculous that I'm so "busy" getting my daily latte, but without it I'm barely human. So really, it's for everyone's own good that I do this.
"I'm Re-Folding The Clothes My Kids Used As A 'Mountain'"
You can usually find me folding and re-folding piles of clothes that my kids used to jump on, cover themselves up with, or toss into the air "like rain." If the kids aren't messing with my neat piles, it's my cats with all their fur. I don't want to kill everyone's joy by demanding the fun ends there, so even though I have way too many un-related things to get done I know "fold laundry" will always be on the list, too. Always.
"I'm Ordering Dinner Because I Burnt The Homemade One"
On most nights I will have dinner all planned and prepped, only to get distracted, miss the beeping timer on the stovetop, and dinner ends up being complete trash. I'm so sorry I can't return your call or answer the door because I'm busy trying to salvage this meal, somehow and someway, without causing an argument over how.
"I'm Unclogging The Toilet Again"
Kids and toilets. Toilets and kids. They absolutely do not mix, but when they do and a disaster ensues, that's usually when someone asks me to go to dinner.
"I'm Dancing With My Kids"
Sometimes "busy" to me (and a lot of stay-at-home moms) is whatever my kids need from me. Even though I'm home all day, I also balance work and household chores. By the end of the day my kids need something concrete from me — undivided attention, if you will.
So yes, sometimes I'm "busy" having the ultimate dance battle with my kids and am too "busy" to get to the grocery store for a long list of things no one needs right this minute. When my kids need me, that's all I'm focused on.
"I'm Rocking My Youngest To Sleep Because This Sleep Regression Will End Me"
There's little that's harder to explain to any outsider without kids what sleep regression hell feels like. Maybe I'm not "busy" by other standards, but other stay-at-home moms know this exhaustion in their bones.
One day I had to sit in the recliner for hours while my youngest napped, because he had a cold that prevented him from breathing while lying down. I had other things to do, sure, but this mattered more.
"I'm Trying To Find My Damn Phone"
Do you know how many times a day I can't find my phone? Yes, that's a rhetorical question, because the answer is "too damn many." My kids play games on it while I work and, honestly, my memory isn't the greatest so I might've put it somewhere? Maybe? I don't know.
If you call and I don't answer or call back, I'm busy looking for the phone! Or, I've found it but I'm making up for lost time I've spent searching for the thing.
"I'm Having An Important Conversation With My Kids"
The other da, I was "busy" for awhile while I talked to my son about why he can never use the scissors to cut his sister's hair. Ever. Well, ever again. Then, I had to clean up the hair. This is my "busy."
"I'm Spending Time By Myself"
Once in a blue moon (literally), I get an evening all to myself. No partner or kids or obligations. Just me. Why the hell would I want to go anywhere or do anything if I can sit and basque in the quiet for longer than a nanosecond? Sometimes putting myself first is the most important thing I can do and I'm not sorry about it.
"I Don't Want To Do Whatever It Is You're Going To Ask Me To Do"
Yeah, sometimes us stay-at-home moms aren't that busy. I mean, we are because we're doing all the damn things, but if I really wanted to make time to go out (which requires getting dressed first) or return a call (that will eat up 25 minutes of time I don't have), I suppose I could. I just don't want to.