It’s all relative.

Marcus and I have taken to saying this to one another, almost as a little inside joke between the two of us.  Of course, I’m aware that we didn’t coin the expression, and I know that other people know what it means, but when he and I say it, there’s a whole conversation in that little phrase, and we know one another so well that we don’t have to actually have it.

We might say, “It’s all relative” in relation to any one of a number of things, but often, we say it when we hear people talking about being busy.  We say it about ourselves, just as often as we say it about anyone else, so don’t worry that we’re talking about you, specifically.  We aren’t.

A lot of times, we wonder about what we did with ourselves before we had children.  We both worked full-time (I as a teacher and Marcus in finance at a computer company).  We lived in an apartment in Virginia that we (occasionally) cleaned.  We made meals (nothing fancy, but it would have been considered cooking).  We did things with family and friends.  We paid bills, ran errands, and did chores.  We were busy.

Then we had Samantha, and we were busy.  I continued to teach and Marcus to work a different, but equally busy, job.  We had the same chores, the same errands, the same work, and we added caring for our child to the mix.  We wondered what we did with our lives before we had a child–we couldn’t have been this busy, but we certainly felt this way.

Then we added Erica, and yes, I did stop working outside the home.  But the girls (only 18 months apart) were a full-time job.  We were also living overseas, so we lost the support network that had once helped with the business that was “life.”  We made another, but no sooner than we were settled we turned around and moved home and had number three.

And today, we’re busy.  But I don’t think of myself as any busier than I did back when it was just Marcus and I.  I must be–I work part-time from home, take care of three children and a husband,  cook (sort-of), clean (kind-0f), and we run to swimming lessons, birthday parties, play dates, knit nights, happy hours, and the occasional date night.  Marcus still works a full-time job, where perhaps he’s busier than ever before.

It really is all relative.  I don’t feel any busier than I ever did, or than you are if you are single or just have one or two little ones running around.  I suspect we’re all busy.

But maybe, just maybe, everyone should remember that it’s all relative.  I know I try to.

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One thought on “It’s all relative.

  1. I remember trying to keep this thought in mind when I returned to university full-time at the age 35 to complete my degree. As a newly single mom to four children, 11 and under (two in elementary school and two in a cooperative pre-school), my kind of busy was a term that was hard to apply to my 21 and under classmates who complained incessantly about having too much to do. Since this usually meant classwork was interfering with their social life, it was hard for me to be sympathetic, especially since I had to help my children do their homework before I could tackle my own. But, like you, I tried to put it into perspective…it is indeed, all relative.

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