Have you ever noticed how moms are constantly comparing how busy or stressful their lives are? I know it’s not a phenomenon exclusive to mothers, but I see it happen a lot in those circles. Moms wear their weariness like a badge of honor, and motherhood becomes a competition to see who has the most badges.
**Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I will receive a small compensation. I am, however, committed to honestly assessing the products mentioned. My opinions are my true feelings and are not affected by my participation in the program!**
I see it happen a lot between stay-at-home moms and moms who work outside the home. I think SAHMs often feel they have to prove themselves to working mothers. I completely understand the feeling – I have gotten sucked in to the same game many times as a part-time SAHM. It’s really silly, though, when you think about it. I mean, the reason most of us made the decision to stay at home was so we could spend more quality time with our children. How are we achieving that purpose if we fill our days to the brim with activities that have nothing to do at all with our children or homes?
It doesn’t just happen with SAHMs, though. Working mothers brag to other working mothers about how much they work or how many activities they’re involved in. The prevailing attitude is always, “If I can do it, you should be able to, too!”
Does Busy = Better?
Last year around this time, I had a conversation with a woman to whom I look up and admire greatly. She is an incredibly busy woman, with many plates that she skillfully keeps spinning at once. We were discussing busyness, and she scoffed at the idea of other women complaining about their workload. “They should walk one day in my shoes,” she said.
I felt from that conversation a strong sense that busy = better. That you aren’t much of a woman unless you have a schedule that’s filled to the brim. That saying “no” to something makes you less of a woman. That limiting your obligations is a sign of weakness.
Certainly we should not be too stingy with our time. We should be willing to help whenever possible. And we can endure being busy for a season.
But just because we can do something, does that mean we should? Just because we can squeeze in more hours, make the necessary sacrifices, and keep going out of sheer will power, does that mean it’s what we should do?
Saying “Yes” To Our Best
Lysa TerKeurst’s book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands helped me see that the answer to that might actually be no. There are so many good things that we could say “yes” to, but they may not be our best things. They may not be what is best for us, for our families, or for God’s plan for us. As Lysa says, we need to learn to be able to say “no” to some good things so that we are free to say “yes” to our best things.
But so often we say “yes” to everything, fill our plates and our schedules, and take on additional obligations because we worry about what other people might think of us. We have come to equate being remarkable with being run ragged. If you want other women to think you’re any kind of mother at all, you better prepare your laundry list of proof that you are, in fact, one of the most overworked women on the planet.
Is that what we should be like? We make ourselves busy so that we can appear to be superior women, but does our busyness actually make us better? How can we effectively care for our families when we are so empty ourselves? Maybe you can manage to get everything done, but are you loving and joyful in the process? Or is everyone around you afraid of you because you’re an emotional ticking time bomb? Everything we do has a consequence. What are you sacrificing for the sake of busyness, and is it worth it?
The “Busy War”
This competition that women implicitly have with each other is really quite ridiculous. There’s a race out there that none of us remember signing up for, but all of us get caught up in nonetheless. And although we think the award is “Mother of the Year,” our reward is really more like fatigue, exhaustion, and broken relationships. We get so caught up in looking good, that we forget about being good. We forget about the best things for us because we’re so busy doing everything else.
And when we compare ourselves to others, or even go so far as belittling those who have wisely maintained the margins in their lives, we are not doing each other any favors. We’re not encouraging each other to be the best mothers we can be by taking care of ourselves and our families. Our reason for doing what we do, good as it may be, becomes less about actually being a better wife, mother, or woman of God and more about collecting badges.
If you’ve ever been swept up in the whirlwind of winning the “busy war,” I want to encourage you to examine your motives and think about whether you are saying “yes” because you feel you should or because you actually should.
Share this post with all the women you know, and let’s commit together to stop comparing and degrading and instead encourage each other to do what’s best for ourselves, our families, and our God-given purposes.
You Might Also Like:
- 6 Soul-Searching Questions That Will Make You a More Intentional Mother
- Why “Homemaking” Means More Than You Think
- Running on “E”: Why Every Mom Needs Mommy Time
- My Top 5 Favorite Books for Women