So much to do, so little time. That is often my attitude in general. I used to be a fantastic multi-tasker. I never sat down in front of the TV without papers to proof or my latest crochet project.
But the last year or so I’ve started to appreciate the value of doing just one thing. I think I can credit my children for this change. Let me brainstorm my reasons:
- I am always one second away from catastrophic distraction. Seriously, you never know what might happen next, anything from blood to floods to broken eggs or just the unfounded piercing shrieks that punctuate our day.
- I’m in a half-stupor more than I realized was possible. I worked a lot of overnight “sleeping” shifts throughout college, so I was no stranger to interrupted sleep, but boy-howdy my kids (and hubs, let’s be real) have taken that to a new level, a walking sideways, dreaming of diapers level where I can’t always tell real from imagined come morning.
- Teaching things to kids is hard. You don’t want them doing anything other than what you say when you say it. I find it is a bazillion times easier to work with them if I’m not trying to do ten things, or even two, at once. I can focus, and so can they, sort of. And I won’t find them in their underwear, swim flippers and overcoat wandering into the bathroom with a peanut butter sandwich.
- But mostly I want to grab snatches of joy where I can get them. Never have I had more reason to be happy. I always wanted to be a wife and mom. But now that I’m here and now that there are people whose lives are affected by my whim and fancy, I find that cheer is an elusive butterfly that I just don’t even think to catch and carry with me until after I’ve stormed all over somebodies fun day parade.
I still love the washing machine, because I s long as it is running I am always getting two things done at once. But I’m learning to follow Ecclesiastes “To every thing there is a season, and a time . . .”
Let each activity have its time. The things I get done will be more meaningful and less often burned. Maybe I can learn this lesson while I still have children. Otherwise I’ll have to practice it on the grandkids while their harried mothers follow my frantic, crabby example of motherhood. Ouch.