Moms Can Do It All … Or Can They?
Moms are the epitome of multitasking. I know I am. I’ve come close to burning dinner more times than I’d like because I’m also trying to get some work done or put the laundry in the dryer or get the dirty dishes in the dishwasher before we have dinner and fill the sink again. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done or that I want to do.
So, the multitasking continues, and I find ways to fit things in that fill me up while doing something else that just needs to be done. For example, I love to read but do not always have time to just sit and read, so I make time by reading while I eat my lunch when my girls are at school.
When I’m eating with someone else, it’s a completely different story, though, and my girls know this. They know when I sit down to eat with them, there is no reading by anyone. I want us to be able to focus on each other and our joined meal, even if it is just a snack. When it’s just the two of them, I let them decide. Sometimes they both read while eating, other times one will ask the other not to read and they talk.
Is Multitasking the Best Way to Get Something Done?
Multitasking goes beyond just something moms and dads do, though. It seems to be the norm for our children now, especially when technology makes it so easy to do multiple things at once. But does this mean that we’re really going about getting the most done in the shortest amount of time? Or does it just make us feel like we’re accomplishing more when, in reality, it’s actually taking us longer than if we just focused on one thing at a time? I know when I sit and focus all of my attention on one thing, I get so much more done.
I would much prefer the focus-on-one-thing method, but as a mom it just doesn’t always happen that way, especially when my girls are at home. So even though they may see me multitasking, I always try to stop and be present with them when they ask me a question or want to tell me something, even if I’m working. Because I know my work will always be sitting there waiting for me when they go back to playing or are in bed that night or at school the next day.
I also know my girls will not always be there waiting for me and they’ll stop coming to me if I don’t make the time for them when they need me. They are going to continue to grow and one day they will move out of the house. When that day comes, I want to know I’ve done all I can to make sure they will thrive on their own.
But how do you show your children the effects of multitasking, besides the occasional burnt dinner? How do you show your children what’s really going on when they multitask so that they can decide when all of their focus needs to be given to something?
Focus When You Can
You could tell them, but will they really hear you and remember it? Will they remember that burnt dinner and that it was because you were trying to do too many things at once? I recently did an exercise in Raising Families’ “Multitasking” module in the Leading Your Child to Success course and was amazed by how eye-opening the results were. I’m going to have my eleven-year-old do the same exercise and have a feeling it will show her multitasking is not the best way to get things done.
So even though I’ve been the epitome of multitasking, I’m going to work on changing that. I know I won’t always be able to, but I know if I make an effort, I just might end up with a bit more time to read or, even better, hang out with my family.
Hopefully this Mother’s Day, you’ll be able to take the multitasking hat off as well and just enjoy your family … and some time for yourself.
Carolyn is a writer, proofreader, and editor. She has a background in wildlife management but pivoted to writing and editing when she became a mother. In her "free time" she is a 4th Dan (degree) Kukkiwon certified black belt in Taekwondo, loves learning to craft from her enormously talented children, and then teaching what she's learned to her enormously talented grandmother. Read full bio >>