N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

Fifteen there’s still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey fifteen, there’s never a wish better than this
When you only got hundred years to live

Five For Fighting – 100 Years

~

My children are obsessed with our family calendar.

To be fair, it’s a trait they’ve learned from their parents.
(NOTE TO SELF: Kids observe and absorb our day-to-day actions way more than initially anticipated.)

My husband and I have always had busy lives – before and after children.

However, when our third child was born our lives became noticeably busier – almost as if an imaginary light switch was turned on spotlighting how active and hectic our days really were.

Thus, the birth of our third child also began the life of our family’s electronically synced, color coated calendar (which if lost, can become a MAJOR family crisis).

What’s more, in order to ensure we don’t miss any upcoming event or *gasp!* have a calendar conflict, we also visually display our current week’s schedule on a dry erase board.

And it is this dry erase calendar, situated in the center of our household,

that my kids are obsessed with.

Children Looking at Our Calendar

I knew after having 3 children that my husband and I would be outnumbered. What I hadn’t thoroughly thought through was how much it would also increase the number of:

  • Activities we’re required to be at
  • Birthday presents needing bought, and
  • Loads of laundry to be done (due to excessive daily outfit changing)

So this past Friday morning I let out an enthusiastic sigh of relief knowing that our current summer activities were “kaput,” and we had no plans until evening (which – FYI – according to our dry-erase and syncing calendars was double booked).

Casually sipping my coffee, I fought the urge to begin another load of laundry.
I thought of all the housework I could do.

I remembered the flowers needing watered, the basement requiring vacuumed, and the pantry screaming for reorganization.

Consequently, I realize something profound about myself:

I have a hard time relaxing.

I slowly turned to look at the calendar, knowing at any moment the kids would wake and come sliding down the stairs to glance through it’s contents (a morning ritual),

and I felt the urge to write the word:

N – O – T – H – I – N – G

across Friday morning, simply to give me us permission to sit and do nothing.

With each day that flashes by, more and more I recognize the importance of the “random day filled with nothing.” A day to watch my children’s mystified expression when they look at a blank calendar and occasionally whine: “Mom, I’m bored!”

Because (what they don’t get is) they have the rest of their lives to be busy

AND

Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I declared, “I’m bored!”

Leave a Comment: Do you ever miss boredom?


If you don’t see the video preview click here.

read to be read at yeahwrite.meThis week I’m linking up with Yeah Write,
who’s hosting a seven-week summer crash course on writing.

This entry was posted in Motherhood, Things I'd Like to Remember and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

  1. I have a hard time relaxing too. A vera, vera, hard time! You and I, we’re soooo similar, aren’t we?

    • Kate F. says:

      We are a lot a like :) That’s why I love reading your blog – It is nice to know that I am not the only one feeling the way I do on so many topics and issues!

  2. Christie says:

    I am SO with you. I just can’t seem to sit still and not do anything. I always find something to do or make up a chore that needs to be done. As a freelance writer, I always feel like there is more than I can or should be doing. I have a really hard time just sitting and watching a show with my kids. I will surf the web, fold laundry, clean up the room, etc. Unfortunately, this sometimes keeps me from truly enjoying things. I’ve been trying to give myself “permission” to just do nothing a little more often.

    • Kate F. says:

      Yep, exactly Christie!

      “I always find something to do or make up a chore that needs to be done.”

      And I am doing the same thing right now. I think I just need to learn to except that a days work will never fully be done and just hit the “off switch” every once in a while!

  3. IASoupMama says:

    What is this relaxing of which you talk? Does it happen to regular people? We’re about done with two very large time commitments — the kids’ swimming lessons and the musical that I’m in. After this weekend, it’s just normal busy and I CAN’T WAIT!

  4. Joe says:

    N-O-T-H-I-N-G = R-E-A-D-I-N-G
    There never seem’s to be enough time to read.

    • Kate F. says:

      I agree Joe! Usually in the summer I am better at reading – but even this summer I find myself allowing even my reading time to slip.

  5. Lisa says:

    After reading this post, Kate, I’m thinking that really, the only time I’m able to turn off the “got to do” button is when I’m away from home – on vacation, taking a break- then I CAN’T do things that aren’t right in front of me. There’s no dust that belongs to me, no laundry machines available, bills to pay – I have yet to figure out a way to do this at home – THAT’S REALLY HARD TO DO!!! If anyone has found the secret – please share!

    • Kate F. says:

      I agree. I’ll take vacation one step further and say a vacation with NO internet access :) Then I can really turn the “busy switch” to off and just relax. I definitely have no secret to being able to relax, however, I do find that the more I do it, the easier it gets. Maybe that is why it is so much easy for children to relax? They have way more ability to practice relaxation!

  6. Kathleen
    Twitter: Michigan_Left
    says:

    Oh, I can relate to this! Mine are 11 and 13 and we are on a wee break from activities right now. I still have a hard time bringing myself to relax, but at least we can spend quiet evenings watching movies or playing games instead of running from activity to activity.

    • Kate F. says:

      Last night after I put the kids to bed, I turned off everything electronic, picked up an actual paper book, went outside on my back porch, left my home phone inside and relished the time of silence to read. Reading is the one thing I can do that helps me relax. And it felt good! If only I could do that EVERY day – and not just one rare evening…

  7. I cannot sit in front of the tv without my laptop, iPad, or at the very least, my iPhone. Is that a sign of addiction? Or do we just label it “multi-tasking”?

    • Kate F. says:

      It takes mental preparation for me to acknowledged going a significant amount of time without my iPad, iPhone, computer, etc. I think it can be an addition – but a breakable one.

  8. Preach it, girl! I had a talk with my family about trying to slow down this summer even if that meant being (Gasp!) bored at times. It’s important to schedule breaks just like activities. I can so relate to this post.

    • Kate F. says:

      I think I am going to start adding “NOTHING” to our calendar – if that’s what it takes to allow me to actually take them!

  9. Jamie@SouthMainMuse
    Twitter: southmainmuse
    says:

    As a writer by nature I find that all this busy, busy, busyness of life is contrary to digging down deep and producing good work. It takes a lot of discipline to not check Twitter or Facebook for a block of time. Not to mention running hither and yon with the children. All these interruptions produce disjointed writing. In my opinion anyway — and I’m way guilty of cramming too much into 18 waking hours. Great thought-provoking post.

    • Kate F. says:

      I agree Jamie. This is why I often write early in the morning, not as much going on in social media, no kids up, no phones ringing… and I am fresh from sleep. When I do write during the day I try (as hard as I can!) to not check Facebook and Twitter – UGH it is hard though!

  10. Katie says:

    Oh dear… I’m really trying to talk my husband into a third so I will not let him see this! But I am sooo bad. I read the book or play online and neglect the laundry until… oh shit I don’t have any undies!! Ha ha! I’m glad you’re slowing down a tiny bit. ;)

    • Kate F. says:

      Being out numbered and some of the other difficulties that I pointed out in my post don’t even begin to add up and replace the amount of joy our third child gives us. I say Go For It! Three has its challenges – but I would never go back to two (too easy! LOL). It’s the 4th child that you might have a little trouble talking me into!

  11. tara pohlkotte
    Twitter: tarapohlkotte
    says:

    this week my husband is on business and my kids in another state with grandparents. after work i am forcing myself to do nothing. it feels….weird. :)

    • Kate F. says:

      It does feel weird! I know – completely agree, but glad you are forcing yourself to DO NOTHING. (Sometimes it takes force!)

  12. Carrie says:

    I have three kids too! By your description it sure sounds like I’m going to be busy when they’ve become a bit older! (not that i’m not busy now lol)

    I hope you do one week decide to write nothing across the board and just relax with your kids.

    • Kate F. says:

      It seems the older they get – the busier you get, but you are definitely busier at certain times… I think, for us a lot of it has to do with fitting things in around school times. The hours between 3:30 – 8 p.m. can be VERY action packed for us! Our youngest is still two – I can’t imagine how it will be when he reaches “extra-curricular activity age!”

  13. Larks says:

    I can relate to this. Though I’m increasingly finding that if I don’t just relax I get into this weird perspective suck where *everything* becomes a Very Important Thing that’s worth getting upset over. My husband will pick up the wrong kind of salad or we’ll be running late to an activity and I’ll start to go, “OMG. Seriously? That’s not how this is supposed to go. THERE ‘S A PLAN, PEOPLE. STICK TO IT.”

    So to recover from the flurry of activity that was this past week I am spending today recovering by lazing around in my pjs. It’s a public service, really.

  14. Jay- The Dude of the House
    Twitter: dudeofthehouse
    says:

    My heart started racing just from reading that! Sounds hectic!

    • Kate F. says:

      Hectic just doesn’t fully and properly relate what my day unfortunately often feels like – there needs to be a word beyond hectic! :)

  15. Well, my husband is THRILLED with this post because now I am terrified to have two children. So, there’s that. This is awesome– the terror I feel is real because you laid it all out there. I will be back for more.

    • Kate F. says:

      So glad you enjoyed the post and that you’ll be back for more Christie.

      On another note: Do not fear – three kids are here! :) Two is a cinch (and really, three ain’t so bad either – and of course as you read – life is never boring!)

  16. Jester Queen
    Twitter: jesterqueen
    says:

    Ugh. Sitting in therapy offices while kids do speech and occupational therapies. So. Boring. I don’t care what I bring to work on, the seats are uncomfortable, there’s never time to accomplish anything lengthy, and it is dull dull dull.

    • Kate F. says:

      I say Thank Goodness for my iPhone and iPad during times like those!!! (Again, because I can’t just sit and do NOTHING :))

  17. I also have three littles, and so I think I have a pretty good idea what you mean about how chaotic things can be!
    A whole day to do nothing sounds perfectly wonderful, and I think we all need that once in a while!

  18. Jessica says:

    Ooh, nice. I love “nothing” days. It’s so hard to find time for them though isn’t it?

    • Kate F. says:

      Yes. It. Is. Jessica! I need to schedule them more often. The occasional days of nothing are almost as important as getting enough sleep in my book!

  19. Justin says:

    I remember being bored at some point in my love (particularly on my grandpa’s farm in Iowa – he always threatened me with work, which I actually didn’t mind doing). I can’t say I miss it. I remember being bored when my daughter nursed for two hours at a time, and yeah, that just wasn’t fun at all. Nope, not thinking I miss boredom :) I do miss peace and quiet, however.

    • Kate F. says:

      I actually remember a love/hate relationship with nursing and boredom. I loved that I could nurse and do nothing else – but it also drove me NUTS that I could do nothing else UNTIL… I got use to it. Nursing was great training for learning for letting go of my obsession with multitasking!

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