“Just a sec.” This seems to be my ‘famous phrase,’ according to my 9 year old. I am always in the middle of doing 10 things at once. Texting, taking a work call, cooking dinner, cleaning the bathroom, picking up the trail of dirty laundry on the floor, checking or sending emails, and the list goes on and on. The problem is that I am often doing at least 3 of these things while also: talking to my kids, playing with my kids and spending time with my kids.
I get home after work and am confronted by a cruel reality: 2 hours till bedtime and during this time the following things must get done:
– pick-up house/do dishes
– review kids’ folders and parent papers
– spend quality time with the kids
The reality is that spending quality time is just not going to happen when you are having an anxiety attack before you open the door to come home at night. People talk about being a working mom as “juggling.” Juggling implies one thing at a time at a fast pace. Being a working mom means multi-tasking at a ridiculous pace. I think about the things that I have to get done and it’s enough to make me want to stay in bed in the morning. But, alas, who’s going to get everyone up and out of the house? Yep, you know the answer.
But, while M.O.M. has begun to stand for Master of Multitasking, I have realized that I need less multi in my life, especially when it comes to my time with my kids. I have implemented a “no electronics” rule when I walk in the house until they go to bed. That means no iphone, ipad, i anything. The same goes for them. We play Uno or draw pictures or have dance parties – it’s way more fun than reading an email from my boss at 8pm (sorry Dave). Another rule is “no electronics at the table.” Sounds crazy because my kids are 6 and 9, but they are already addicted to their itouch and the ipad and the i everything. So, we leave all of that behind when we are eating together or doing homework together.
The outcome? Well, I will tell you honestly that the detox period was really rough. Sweating, chills, nausea, you know the usual stuff. But now, it is so natural. We have WAY more quality time together and…mom is actually listening. Come to find out, all that multi-tasking? Yeah, your brain really sucks at paying attention to stuff like: “Mom, can you pick me up at 6:30 from Sarah’s house?” Or, “Mom, we are having a party at school on Friday and I need you to bring…” You see where that is heading. Now, I am present. Not just a warm mommy body sitting in the chair at the table. I am trying to stop saying “One sec” because my 9yr old does it to me now and it is BEYOND annoying. I sit and talk to my son as he draws elaborate treasure maps and tells me stories about his adventures in Africa. It is way cooler than scrubbing the tub or checking Facebook. And the reality is that it is going by really fast. One sec is like a year in kid time.
Be present. It is a gift you give yourself and the people around you.