My aunt and my mum work together. They fight all the time, mostly because of my mum's inability to say no to invitations, social gatherings, and other compromises. My aunt tells my mum she thinks she's the Holy Spirit: able to be everywhere all the time.
She makes me laugh every time she says that coz it's so true: we all think of us as limitless when it comes to compromising our time. There's this irrational desire to do everything, try every program, do every class, read every book, develop every skill, network, be online... no wonder why we feel overwhelmed all the time. We don't wanna miss anything and that is exactly what makes us miss what's really meaningful.
This week I went subscribing my kids to after-school hobby clubs. Their school offers sports, arts, and science clubs for those kids that want to cultivate their interests after class. They get to choose two, no more. Both my kids were interested in one club each. I got there early, trying to avoid the mass of frantic parents wanting to make their kid do everything: from tennis to robotics.
Boy, was I wrong! The line for subscriptions was already long enough to look like a rock concert entrance, and, while waiting, I made the mistake to make some small talk with a random mum. I don't know if she meant to brag, but she told me her kid was in two after-school clubs plus paid ballet class, karate, and training for a local basketball team.
OMG! When does she study? When does she PLAY? Was I the only one trying to keep my kids' time free so they could choose what to do? Or even get bored for that matter? Maybe I'm the odd bug, so I did a little research. Turns out most kids have a schedule that pretty much looks like my own, but I'm thirty years older and I run a business!
What are we telling our kids? What are we teaching them? I'll tell you what: you have no time. We're raising them to believe, not only that they can, but that they have to be Holy Spirit-like. And then we expect them no to be anxious, overwhelmed, stressed. Just like us.
How can they develop patience, calm, even creativity (that usually is a byproduct of boredom, BTW) if they simply don't have the time to choose what to do with their time? And if you're doing this to your kids it's because you probably have a limiting belief when it comes to achieving life balance: "the busier I am, the better I am."
Did you know that consumerism can also invade the way you spend your time? And time is a limited asset, the most valuable you have, even more than money.
So, this week I decided to observe my habits around time-consuming. Say NO at being busy for the only reason of being afraid of having nothing to do. You don't have to do everything, be everywhere. You're not going to miss on anything, trust me.
Say yes to the activities that give you joy or that are truly your responsibility. To everything else, say NO.