I feel somewhat guilty when I have a lazy day. Granted, lazy around here means a light workout for me, lots of free play and movies for my girls, and some chores. It might me a frozen pizza and cut-up fruit for dinner instead of a homemade feast.
Society tells us that we must be on-the-go to be considered productive.
But what is the true definition of productivity?
Being a stay-at-home mom is incredibly challenging for me at times. I worked my rear off to get my degree. I went to school from kindergarten through grad school with no extended breaks. I took classes all summer (four nights a week from 6-10 p.m.) in 2005 in order to get my Master's degree a semester early. I got the degree in order to work.
I have what I think is the best of both worlds for our family. I work outside the home part-time (teaching two classes a semester at a university) and also work inside the home part-time (freelance writing and working on my book) while also doing the most challenging job of all, full-time: parenting my girls and taking care of our home.
Part of my issue is that I put pressure on myself: make homemade meals (because healthy food is important to us. Thank you, type I diabetes), exercise (type I diabetes, again), keeping the house clean (can't stand it to be a total disaster---hampers my creativity and inner peace---for real), write a book (my dream), coupon (I enjoy it and it saves us money), and more.
When I'm not doing these things, I feel like I'm not making progress, like I'm not being productive.
But then I realize, I am. I am playing with the girls. I am baking something with them. We're having a dance party in the kitchen, or reading their Bible storybook, or painting, or we're in the pool.
These things are productive. And they probably mean a whole lot more than the things I actually pretend are productive.
I want to teach my girls that what the world calls "lazy" I call necessary. People who don't take care of themselves surround us all (maybe we are even one of them!). People who don't eat well, because they don't have time. People who don't exercise, because they don't have time. People who don't take 30 minutes to sit on the couch and talk to their spouse or child, because they don't have time. These little choices add up---and consequences arise.
This summer, I started with a list of goals. Some of them I fulfilled, some I did not. I have to let go of the "did nots" and realize that the moments I spent doing "nothing" were actually the moments that brought me the most joy, peace, and fulfillment.
I'm honestly not sure where I'm going with all of this. I guess I'm hoping that each of you MAKE the time to invest in doing nothing, whatever that is to you. There are endless rewards to saying no to the world's definition of productivity and success.
I'd love to know from you:
---What is your "nothing" day or hours look like?
---What changes have you made to slow your family's pace?
---What do want to teach your children about productivity and success?
And for a fabulous article on the subject of slowing down and finding joy, I highly recommend this new article from PARENTS magazine.