being busy

3 Lies Parents Believe About Being Busy

At the start of each year, my wife and I take each of our kids out individually to ask them a list of questions about our family, their current needs and desires, and what they think of our parenting. And every year, it’s an eye-opening experience to see things from their perspective. Our family life is as busy as I’m sure yours is. What stands out to me each year is that our children express just how much it means to them when we do things beyond just the normal busyness of life. They absolutely love when Mom and Dad are involved, connected, and showing them that we really want to know them and enjoy them as our children.

Everyone is busy—especially parents. But if we’re not careful, we can end up being busy with the wrong things, and our kids start taking the hit for it. Here are 3 lies parents often convince themselves of to justify being busy, even though they know it’s negatively affecting their family.

1. Because I’m busy, I’m involved.

From running kids to and from school to multiple practices and parties, parenting and family life can begin to feel like nothing more than a taxi service. While some of these things are legitimate parts of family life, most parents know in the back of their minds that this is not their vision for how family life ought to operate long-term.

But in order to justify our lifestyle, we tell ourselves that all this activity equals involvement in our kids’ lives. And sometimes, nothing could be further from the truth. Family busyness does not always equal family involvement. Busyness is natural. Involvement is intentional.

2. Because we talk, we’re connecting.

Connecting with our kids requires that we talk to them. But just because we’re talking doesn’t mean we are connecting. What I’m personally learning is that connection takes place far past the surface level of communication.

While I can communicate with my kids on a daily basis about the everyday stuff of life, connection requires that I not only talk but that I’m also willing to listen. And sometimes, I need to do more of the second than the first. To truly connect with my children requires that I be willing to speak to their hearts, not just their ears, and be willing to listen to what their hearts are telling me as well.

3. Because I love them, I know them.

One of the great dangers of parenting is to assume that we know our kids simply because we love them and are always around them. But if we were to really stop to evaluate ourselves, we might find out that we don’t know them quite as well as we think. Because it’s easy to get so busy taking care of our children that we lose track of many of the important details of their lives. Yet one of our primary goals as parents is not just to raise our children but to know them.

They have been entrusted into our care for us to study them, learn them, and know them to the best of our ability. This includes their wants, desires, needs, quirks, and passions. These are things we both know and understand better than anyone else. Yet, learning to know our children does not come automatically. It is a lifelong process. While most parents genuinely love their kids, it takes a lot of work to genuinely know them.

Sound off: Which of these three lies about being busy have you allowed yourself to believe?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing I could do more often to show you how much you mean to me?”