We’re Not Meant to Multi-Task Everything

If multi-tasking were an Olympic event, my neck would need a daily massage from the weight of all that gold.

Because don’t think for a minute, I wouldn’t wear those medals.  Around my neck. Daily.
It’s not an event, yet.  But I still pride myself in being able to accomplish many tasks, simultaneously.
It’s a gift.  
Most days I just do it and don’t even think about it.  I can talk on the phone, cook dinner, wipe a snotty nose and open the oven with my big toe. 
Oh, I kid about the oven and my toe.
Or not.
As my toddler plays in the backyard, I can sweep off the patio, swat mosquitoes, pull an errant weed and dig half a caterpillar from her mouth.
It is a high calling.
The other day, I was scratching things off my ‘to do list’ like a madwoman.  Cleaned fridge: check; swept floor:  check; dinner:  on the stove; Girl Scout vest ordered: yep ;  Reading a blog: in the process.  
Besides all the mothering and blogging I do, I also work about 15 hours a week from home.  So, busy, I am (said in my best Yoda voice).
My daughter walked up in the middle of all that multi-tasking earlier this week.  She needed to tell me something really, really important.  
I don’t exactly know what, because with all that efficiency I didn’t listen. I was close to capacity.
I nodded and uh hum’d her.  She walked off and I stayed engrossed at my computer.
Later, the rest of the family wanted me to join them for a family night video.   
My mind raced with all the things I needed to do, could be, doing.  Do you know it took a vast amount of self-control to only sit?  For the first 10 minutes, I kept thinking “maybe I could at least fold a basket of clothes while I watched or straighten toys while I listened.
I resisted the urge and it was the first time in a while, I focused on one thing.
And I’m so glad I did.  We laughed our heads off at the funny home movie of my son getting his first haircut.  When the video concluded, my daughter hugged me.  ”Thanks, Mom.”
She noticed the difference.
“Tell me again what you were saying in the kitchen,”  I asked.
Because I missed it.
And I was reminded again that there are just some things we’re not meant to multi-task. 

Comments

  1. says

    Ohhhhhhhh boy did that give me a swift kick in the rear. I needed this reminder!!! Queen of the multi-tasking and I’m REALLY good at tuning things out.

  2. says

    We still have family nights too. It is good, especially with teens, to continue the tradition so that we get to spend time just being together. My kids also like seeing videos of themselves when they were younger. We sometimes come upon a video that contains footage (PROOF) that the stories we tell about them are TRUE. Those are the funny ones!

  3. says

    ouch…

    you couldn’t be more right… but did you have to say it to me now…

    It’s almost 2a.m. and I have so much more to do…

    yikes… feeling a little convicted- thanks (I think).

  4. says

    Gazing! Yowzahs! What a good and witty reminder. I get so caught up in being efficient and having it all under control. Sometimes I railroad right over a listening moment…or a cuddling moment or the like. Sometimes (usually) our kids just need us to BE ALL THERE! Thanks for the great writing!!!

  5. says

    I am ashamed to say.. family movie night also usually includes me doin laundry (folding sorting) while dh and the kids ‘watch’.
    I don’t sit still easily.

  6. says

    Loved this post. I learned multi-tasking from the best…my mom. She did take time to connect with me though, and I hope I can remember to do the same with those I love.

  7. says

    Another great post to make us laugh and then think! I find myself doing the same thing to my children. But I only have them for a short time.

  8. says

    This is just something God has been dealing with me and showing me on my multi-tasking. And He has showen me it is ok but when my kids need me I need to stop everything because before I know it they will be teenagers and I will have trained them to brush me off, not hear or even ignor me (like I do when I am in multi-task mood, because that is what I have taught them by my actions). It is hard to sometimes stop but so worth it to have that communication there always. Thank God he showed me this now because for me it is a work in progress. This was well written. Thank you I really enjoy reading your blog!

  9. says

    I used to wonder why some mother’s couldn’t get anything done. I mean, I could nurse my child and cook dinner. My house was always clean. Why is it “my friend” always had a messy house and nothing was ever done? I never did find the answer but I loved the fact that my children loved being with me, “helping” me do whatever it was I was doing. But, I can’t tell you the number of times they asked me something and later told me I said, “yes” and I had NO clue what they were talking about. It took me a while to learn to stop what I was doing, look at them and just listen. After all, it’s how I want to be treated, so why should I treat them any different? But as a parent, that is easier said than done!

  10. says

    Great post! I, too, have been feeling that multi-tasking is not all it’s cracked up to be … I’m really bad about saying yes to my kids and then not remembering …

  11. says

    Hubby hates that about me. I want to bring my laptop when we watch a movie. I want to fold laundry during a movie.
    and sometimes I itch to do something when I should be JUST WATCHING THE KIDS PLAY!

    Is it a gene? A multi-tasking gene?

  12. says

    Yeah…how did it get so difficult? Lord help me keep my priorities straight, especially as I type this now and my kid is standing next to me trying to punch the keys and I keep swatting his hand away!

  13. says

    So true! I can tell when I’m trying to do too much at once, because my daughter becomes whiny and cranky. It reminds me that she needs my attention more than anything else right now!

  14. says

    That was a great reminder. For me, i spend too much time blogging, reading blogs, commenting…etc.

    I feel like i DO neglect my kiddos when they need my attention.
    Slowing down and spending a few quality moments with my kids makes a huge difference in our day.

    I try to remember to stop every 30 minutes or so and get down on the floor to play with my little ones.

    Glad you were able to slow down for a bit to enjoy your family.
    Being a mom isn’t easy somedays…

  15. Growin' with it says

    umm, that last sentence sent a dagger right smack into my heart…would you mind removing it? so very, very, very true.

  16. says

    You are SO right… I have been convicted of this very thing recently. It is so easy to get caught up in doing, but we def don’t want to miss these precious moments!

  17. says

    I am so bad about multi tasking. Even the night that we were to watch a movie together I colored my hair and only watched it while I was waiting for the color to process. I look back now and think I wasted precious time worrying about something that was not important at all. It’s something that I am sure a lot of moms need to work on!

  18. says

    As usual, your post hit home with me today. I get so caught up in the day-to-day that often times I lose focus on the most important things ever. My kids.

  19. says

    One of my favorite sayings to the hubby & kids is: I can only do 10 things at once. And you just asked me to do an 11th. Can’t do it. But, you’re so right… we do need to slow down a bit & tune into our kids. My post sched for tonight at 8pm is very similiar & along these lines.

    For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen

  20. says

    This is my struggle a lot of times. So many things I have to do, could be doing, or want to do that sometimes I don’t sit & just be or just listen. Thanks for this.

  21. says

    oh that’s a sweet sweet story and such a lesson. i try to remember that sometimes, that the laundry will still be there but some of the more important moments just won’t. sometimes you just gotta slow down.

  22. says

    Good point! Glad you were able to take some time and just enjoy.

    I am not gifted with multi-tasking skills…sigh. I can do many tasks, but can only focus on one at a time (okay, once in a while, two!). I have had to accept that it is the way I operate and am learning to work with it.

    I do not like to be super busy. I like to have plenty of time to stop and smell the chocolates. :)

  23. says

    Wow – you took the words right out of my mouth. I’ve had a similar blog rolling around in my head for the last few days, but have been to distracted to sit down and type it out. You’re a great writer and it’s fun to read your thoughts!

  24. says

    There are several times I am to engrossed in doing several things at one time that I actually say to my daughter can you wait until I am looking at you because I want to hear what you are saying but I can’t focus right this second. When I am done I listen it has worked well!

  25. says

    It’s definitely a challenge for moms to always “be there” when we’re always there. I, too, have to force myself to be still with my kids. Sometimes I’m just so wound up on all the coulds and shoulds that I forget how important it is to just play and be.

  26. says

    that pic at the bottom of your kids is so adorable. Your daughter looks like she’s taking this water park thing very seriously! :)

    again, a totally relatable post, had be laughing out loud this one, YODA. And I think it is also very neat that there are so many of us all working on the same mothering / balance/ work stuff. BTW, what do you do at home? Have you covered this somewhere that I missed?

  27. Carey says

    Oh my word, AMEN! My man and I have JUST been talking about how I need to learn to shut off my “work brain” and just relax. I’m just always going, and thinking of things to do, and it’s only going to get worse as I am leaving a full-time job in order to go back to school full-time and work from home 15-18 hours a week.

    Thanks for the challenge, and letting me know I’m not alone!

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