Demands and Decisions that Consume Life

Have you ever stopped to realize how consumed you are with busyness? In “Busier Than Ever: Why American Families Can’t Slow Down” by Darrah, Freeman, and English-Luek, they conclude that most Americans today are all caught up with demands of living their lifestyle and within that they make choices that lead to their own busyness. This book is a real eye opener that made me realize how busy I, myself, am and how “busyness is so deeply ingrained in many of today’s families that people often take it for granted” (page 5).

I am a young mother of two. In my opinion, being a young mother is a tough enough job. Having children is very expensive and time consuming because they require a lot of attention and care. Therefore, there are a lot of expectations and responsibilities that are attached to the role of being a mother.

Although my husband works to provide for us, his income is not enough to cover all our expenses, so we both decided together that it was only best for me to also work. For that reason, I have to contribute in working part-time in order to earn some extra income too. I work as an afterschool program tutor. The great thing about my job is that my work schedule is set and rarely changes. The only time it would change would be if there are early dismissal schedules for special events such as parent-teacher conferences. Therefore, every weekday I work from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Furthermore, I am a full-time college student. As a student, I am expected to follow up and keep up with any assignments that have to do with the classes I am in. Within my classes there are reading assignments, daily quizzes, writing journals, homework, and essays that I have to complete. As a result, it is also very time consuming to go to school to obtain a higher education.

My daily schedule consists of waking up in the morning around 6:30 a.m. to get ready to start the day. Then around 7:15 a.m., I wake up my oldest daughter, who is 6-years-old, and get her ready for school. Afterwards, I wake up my youngest daughter, who is 3-years-old, to dress her up. Because we only have one car, we have to wait until my husband gets out of work to come pick us up. He works third shift, so his work schedule is from 11:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. My husband usually arrives home around 7:45 a.m.; therefore, we have to rush our daughter to school before the tardy bell rings at 8:00 a.m. After dropping her off, my husband has to drop me off at school too. Then, he goes to pick up his grandma so that she can babysit our youngest daughter while my husband catches up on some sleep. I go to school from 9:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m., so my husband has to get up around 12:30 p.m. to come on his way to pick me up. We usually depart school campus around 1:15 p.m. and then I arrive to work around 1:30 p.m. After dropping me off again, my husband has to head to our daughter’s elementary school to pick her up because she gets out at 2:05 p.m.

Because I get to work early, it is a great time for me to prepare the lesson for that day and get all the supplies ready. I usually look into the math book that was provided to me and make copies of certain pages that the students will be working on as a part of the program schedule. After that, I sharpen all the pencils so that it is ready for use right when the kids arrive into the classroom. Then, I make sure that all the chairs are placed next to the tables and that all the tables are straightened. Before I even know it, it is time to head to the office and prepare to sign- in the students and start work.

As I get off work at 6:00 p.m., I do not get home until 6:30 p.m. As I get home and put down my backpack, I head to the kitchen to cook for the family. After eating, I wash and clean the dishes and the kitchen. Since my husband barely had any sleep, after he is done eating he goes to take a rest before heading back to work, so I would have to shower the kids. Because my oldest is already old enough to shower by herself, she does not really need my help; however, it is the younger one who still needs my assistance. Before I even realize it, the time is already 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Since it is getting late, I have to put the kids to sleep by 9:30 p.m. Unfortunately, I am unable to rest because I have to do homework, read, and study. Then around 10:15 p.m., I take a break from schoolwork to wake up my husband so he can prepare for work. After I send him off to work, I have to get back into my study mode and stay focus on my assignments. This is also the time for me to plan ahead about what activities I will do for work the next day and if I have the supplies for it. My usual bedtime is around midnight or sometimes a bit later, depending on how much work I have.

“Busyness…is grounded in realities of modernity that confront us with a question seldom asked in traditional societies: How shall I live my life? In modern societies, how people come to identify themselves is not merely handed down across generations; it is adopted through countless small and large decisions…” (page 107). Everything in life is based on decisions. Whether you’re a mother, a father, an employer, or a student, the responsibilities and choices that are acquired within those statuses are critical for you to maintain, so that you may excel and succeed within that position. I do not have to work, but I choose to work because I need to help provide for my family. I do not have to go to school to further my education, but I decided to do it because it will benefit me in the future. So stop for a moment and think, how busy are you with your life decisions and demands?

by Pavua Lee

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