I am not busy, I am enjoying abundance

Sometimes when I am cleaning the ump-teenth dog smudge or kid print off the window, I do a funny thing.  I imagine myself one day calling one of my kids and saying, “Bring the grandkids over; my house is too clean.”

As many of you can completely relate, I am incredibly busy at this stage in my life.  I have four kids, ages 4, 8, 13 and 15.  And they are in four different schools – preschool, elementary, middle and high school.  And they are all in activities at least one point of the year or another, and even though we say no to a lot of things, odds are pretty good that at least two of the six of us have something going on during the same day/time at least a few times a week, and rare is the calendar evening or weekend day with nothing on it.  In addition, my husband has started his own business after being laid off over two years ago, and I work full time, as I have ever since he was laid off.

Now, please don’t get me wrong – I am NOT complaining.  Not at all.  I have four healthy kids, my husband is alive and well, his business is going well, and I have a really good job, for which I am grateful and which has allowed us to weather this time of unemployment gracefully.  We live in a part of the world where schools are free (OK, supported by taxes, but still available to everyone), women are not oppressed and my kids have fun activities to in which to partake.  We don’t suffer for lack of clean water or food to eat.  We have the right to vote, to speak freely, to worship as we choose.  Our house is full of pets, kids, kids’ friends, family events and general merriment.

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But there in sort of lies the problem.  When I ran into other parents, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and they asked how I am, I found myself sighing and saying I was fine, but really busy.  “Good – things are crazy.  But good, really, we are fine.”  Followed by a weak smile and a silent prayer that I do not look as frazzled as I feel.

And it was bothering me.  A lot.  I do not want to spend the bulk of my existence complaining about handling my blessings.

So I have come up with a new response.  And it has gotten a great response, usually with other moms asking, “Do you mind if I steal that?!” Well, I am more than happy to share.

Now when I am asked how I am, I smile and say “I am enjoying abundance.”  It is perfect – people get it right away – I am busy, but I chose it and I am doing my best to enjoy my kids, my husband, my job, my house, my family and our activities.

Which I gather is really important to do – try to enjoy the moments.  If you ask anyone whose kids have left the nest, they smile wistfully and say it went so fast.  This observation has not escaped me.  And while some days I really  do pine of a life of solitude, after a while it would be kind of too quiet and – dare I say it?

A bit boring.  At the very least, it will take some getting used to.  And when I get there, I plan to assure myself that I did my best to enjoy it while it lasted, and that I deserve to be bored at least occasionally.  :-)

Enjoying abundance is my attempt to hang on to the small moments and stop and enjoy the sometimes crazy pace of life these little (and not so little) ones bring before they are gone.

Because even though some days I can only just barely imagine it, I know that someday I will live in a house that is too clean.  And I will long for the days of crazy abundance.

About Michelle Schahn

Michelle manages a beautiful, chaotic life of kids, home, community involvement and work. She is the author of the blog Counting Willows.


  1. says

    What a wonderful column! I am highly cognizant of the fact that with a much-desired 3-year-old daughter at home and a good marriage, I’m am in the midst of what I’m sure will be one of the best times in my life. Yet when people ask how things are going, I often say “Busy — good busy, you know, but … ” I like your answer much better! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing this. I have found myself replying like you many times, but I love the more positive outlook in your response. I will definitely be adopting your phrase as my motto.

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