Caring For Yourself

The Opposite of Busy Isn’t Lazy

I’ve noticed that there are two descriptors I have been using without much thought to what exactly they mean — busy and lazy. And I’ve been labelling myself as both many times throughout the same day. And while it is possible to be both busy and lazy, I am using them as if they are opposites and it is confusing and inaccurate. And I know other moms do this too and I just want to talk about it!

When I’m on-the-go. Cleaning up. Doing work in my office. I’m busy. (Kinda, but there are so many better words: absorbed, engrossed, um… driving?)

When I take a rest and sit down to sip some tea. I’m being lazy. (No I’m not. I’m recharging, resting, putting my feet up!)

Home studio

Rethinking these words recently has been essential to my happiness. I have been trying not to throw either word around as much, but hey, it still happens! They are deeply imbedded in our mom-culture (busy) and my vocabulary (lazy).

I wrote down a list of what I really mean when I say BUSY.

  • Overwhelmed by the thoughts/to-do/schedules in my head.
  • Working.
  • On a deadline.
  • Cleaning up.
  • Late getting somewhere.
  • Tired/Exhausted.

Then I wrote down what I’m really doing when I’m being LAZY.

  • Recharging.
  • Taking a breather.
  • Relaxing.
  • Enjoying down-time.
  • Resting.

It was eye-opening. First of all, I’m stirring different pots all day, but I’m not necessarily overly occupied. There is time for it all or the important things. I have noticed that when I say busy most often, I mean tired or overwhelmed.

Friend at preschool pick-up: How are you?

Me: Busy!

What I really mean: I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well and I’m having trouble keeping schedules straight even after writing them down. I need a moment to really recharge but I don’t see that happening soon. I want to go home and close my eyes, but I know that won’t happen and it’s stressing me out.

I’m the first person (and only person) to call myself “lazy” when I sit down.

Husband: Hey, babe! How was your day?

Me: It was pretty good! Laundry is done and preschool pickup went well! We even got to play at the playground for an hour! And I finally figured out that YouTube issue I was having! And Ivy said the cutest thing ever today! But I don’t know what to do for dinner because we ran out of rotini pasta and it’s the one thing I forgot to pick up on our errands this afternoon. And now I’m sitting here being lazy.

It’s dangerous because these words have very real meanings, but I’m not using them that way and it distorts the reality of my day. I don’t want to have busy days. I want to have productive days or even exhausting days, if that’s the truth. I want to enjoy recharging or taking a few breaths without putting such a negative/stereotypical label on myself.

I’ll be working on this more. I find, more often than not, I’m trying to take back the word busy or lazy once I’ve said it. So it’s slow going, but I will get there!

Do you throw around words like busy and lazy in the same way? Do you have different words that you find yourself using that may not accurately describe your reality? Let me know in the comments below or tell me over at @thathappymom on Instagram!

The Opposite of Busy Isn't Lazy

2 thoughts on “The Opposite of Busy Isn’t Lazy”

  1. I tend to say “I can’t do anything right” which is an awful negative way of totally dismissing all of the things that have gone right 😬 Apparently I am more dramatic and self deprecating than I thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I know you in real life, I just want to say that you’re doing it right! No exaggeration. But it’s hard not to be self-depricating when anything that goes “wrong” is placed on the mother’s shoulders. It feels very weighty and dramatic to be the one who should foresee all future problems and have a handle on all current problems while figuring out what went wrong yesterday.. It’s a lot!


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