Using Busy As An Excuse

This was the tail end of a text conversation I had recently with a dear friend of mine who was (at the time) in her last few weeks of midwifery school. I threw that last comment out without really thinking about it, until I hit send and re-read it.

What she said really did sound like my life. In fact, most of my adult life could be described that way: "Lots of interest and zero time".

That never really bothered me before. But these days, it's kind of getting under my skin.

I don't like being so busy all the time that when something really interesting/intriguing/fun comes across my path, I can't say yes. And I can't say yes because I've already said yes to too many other things.

My husband has described me as a compulsive volunteerer. He's right. I find it really hard to say no sometimes.

The period of time after the birth of my twins was probably the first time in my life I had to get comfortable with saying "No, I can't". For the first few months of their lives, keeping us all alive took everything I had. There literally was nothing else to give. And I STILL felt bad about saying no. I felt compelled to give really long explanations as to why I couldn't do whatever it was (as if newborn twins wasn't enough). And I wondered and worried if people judged me for being weak/lazy/incapable.

When we added another baby to our family, saying "No" briefly became very empowering. I said no to everything and it felt really good. I even backed out of some things that I had previously committed to because I just didn't want to anymore.

This was when I discovered the power of no-as-a-complete-sentence. When you just say "No" without  further explanation, you completely bypass the part where people can judge your reason as valid or invalid. If you just say "No" they assume you have a really good reason.

Sometimes my reason was because I didn't want to get out of my PJs or because I wanted to binge watch Supernatural. The thing is, even though other people might not have seen those as good reasons to turn something down, I needed that time and space to just be, without the need to do for anyone else. And that IS a good reason to turn something down.

This coming fall, my youngest will be starting kindergarten. As he's gotten older and more capable, needing me a little less intensely every day, instead of breathing into that extra time and space, I've been filling it up with more. More work, more commitments, more volunteering, more busy.

And that text made me realize that busy has become my new favorite excuse. My favorite excuse for avoiding doing the necessary but deeply vulnerable work of growing Five Elements Birth Services. Of reaching out and sharing with the world the very good thing we're building here. The support we offer will deeply benefit many growing families, but only if they know about it.

The scary thing about putting Five Elements Birth Services out there of course is the possibility of rejection, of being found wanting, of not being "good enough". So that's the risk.

Since sending that text though, I've realized I need to stop focusing so hard on the risk and remember the benefits - connecting with families who will benefit from our support, doing our work in the world and living our passion every day, seeing the ripple effects of the power of unconditional, holistic, loving support during this incredible time in our client's lives.

I need to stop using busy as my excuse.

So this is step one! I'm writing this blog and sending out our monthly(ish) newsletter today (tasks I've been procrastinating on for well over a month now) because if I'm not connecting with our incredible community and sharing what we're all about, then no one will have a chance to benefit.

~ Rachel

Have you ever found yourself using busy as an excuse? What needed to shift for you to move forward?

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Rachel Parris

Rachel is a DONA International Certified Birth Doula, Birthing From Within mentor, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping women and their partners discover their own inner strength and wisdom so that they can begin their parenting journey with confidence. With a focus on supporting her clients as they determine what their own priorities and preferences are for their birth while giving them the tools they need to realize those priorities, she feels fortunate to witness her clients come into their own and become their own best advocates.