Busyness and Downtime-How To Know When Each Are Needed

Sad Child - Portrait

Today, as always, Michael said something that surprised me. He said that he likes to keep busy and asks us to take him places because he has no siblings to play with.

“And how come God decided not to give me brothers and sisters?”

“It’s not that he decided to do that honey. It’s just the way it happened.”

There was no way I was going to explain that his father and I had tried to have another baby, and it just wasn’t in the cards. We knew he was too young to understand that, and didn’t want to give Michael any additional worries about this area. Heck, I had worried enough about it myself when I wasn’t having another child, though I had long since made my peace with it. Still, it was an interesting theory. Michael had never before said he would stay home if he had a sibling to play with. I left bad for him, I really did, but there was nothing I could do. And who knows if it would even have been true. He and the sibling may have been at each other’s throats fighting all the time which would have been worse than boredom. As usual, he got me thinking about things in a way only he can. I explained about his friends who were only children and how they, like he, had lots of friends to play with so there was no need to feel lonely. I also reminded him of his cousins and the way brothers and sisters do fight at times, so he was saving himself aggravation there.

Michael also got me thinking about why people keep busy and distract themselves. Some people are just party animals by nature and extroverts, while others do not want to be alone with their thoughts. Then there are the introverts who agonize and the ones who relax when alone.  I have both aspects to my character, though I am more introvert than extrovert. However, a few years ago I discovered the buzz of keeping busy. I did not want to be alone with my thoughts. But I soon realized it was because I was in a place in my life where I was not happy and did not want to deal with that. When I did finally deal with it, the facade of happiness came crashing down like castle walls all around me. I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do. It was my first experience of burnout or depression. Stay busy, stay busy, there’s no time to cry, I remember thinking insanely. I had one more bad burnout two years ago.That was the worst of the two, but when I came back to mental health, I came back stronger than ever, with better tools, and learned, albeit through lots of trial and error, to ask for help, to ask for what I needed. I was doing my best to show Michael now how to learn to stop sometimes and express his feelings, staying calm, and when it was good to keep busy.

Exceptional Moms, how do you balance the busy and quiet times in your life? How do you show your Exceptional Children ways to do that? Are they busy extroverts or quiet introverts? No matter what they need to learn, the art of relaxing and the art of being busy, both are important to keep balance and learn how to lead a happy life. Until next time.

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