How NOT to multitask; unit 101
Master J is six and Mr Point Five and I are always laughing at his plethora of excuses to get out of bed after being tucked in. We should have kept a diary by the recliner chair and jotted them all down; they are hilarious. On the first or second I ususally listen to the excuse and act on it but after what is sometimes the third, fourth and fifth time I lose my patience and it can end with him in tears and me wanting a wine very badly. Then I feel guilty for losing my cool and end up cuddling him in bed for a while. Its frustrating after over 12 hours on the go with them, when you just want a time-out. He knows that I know that he is making up reasons to get up but you cannot reason this with him.
On the last Tuesday of every month I take minutes for my works monthly meeting which starts at 730pm so I am not home for the teeth, book and bed routine with the boys. It has occurred to hubby that on these nights Master J doesnt get out of bed.
And then, and this is the kicker, hubby says to me that he thinks the reason that Master J is getting out of bed each night is to seek my attention.
What the what now??
I set my alarm for 0655 each morning so I am up 5 minutes before the boys get up; so the lights are on and the house feels inviting to them. I make them a hot chocolate and get them their breakfast. I get their school clothes out and supervise both socks AND shoes are on. I pack school lunches, check the online weather to see if I need to pack a jumper as well. I drive them to school, making sure they have their school bags and deliver them to their classes before heading to work myself. I then leave work, go to the shop and buy what we need for dinner then go to school and pick them up. I bring them home, supervise their homework and make another hot drink for them. At 430 I start to get dinner on and we all sit down together at 5pm for dinner and chat about our day. After dinner I run their bath and Master J usually sits on my lap at 6pm whilst I try to watch the news. At 715 I instigate bedtime, and I brush Master J’s teeth for him, make sure he does a wee before bed and then Mr Point Five (when he is home) reads them a story before lights out at 730 and I am mentally fried. This is every weekday. EVERY week day except Wednesday when I also take Master J to footy training at 430pm and Mr Point Five says I dont spend enought time with him and that he is craving my attention? Most of my non-work hours are spent in thoughts about my kids; what I need to do for them, what I am doing for them, what needs to happen in the futures, both near and far. I am thinking about today, tomorrow, the dentist appointment next week, what I will do with them next school holidays so they dont get bored. You have to be kidding me; my life revolves around my kids!
But then I thought about it; its true, sometimes I feel suffocated by the mental effort it takes to raise kids, most of the time as a solo parent. I feel overwhelmed, I feel I am navigating from one day to another waiting for a break that will never come. I feel that I give all my time to my children. But its not quality time; its the shit time that it takes to get things organised. I am resentful that I get no quality time for me as every time I sit down to do something, I either feel guilty that Im not doing more with the kids so I dont focus, or I get interrupted to do something menial for the kids and it annoys me. In amongst all this “doing” for the kids, its not quality time actually DOING anything with them. Maybe thats what Mr Point Five was saying. When he gets home from work, he has none of the day to day house/kids stuff to worry about so the time he spends with them is always quality time. But its hard; its so effing hard to get out of “organised mum” mode and get into “fun mate” mode with the kids when there is so much Mum stuff that I need to make happen every day.
But I think I need to try; I need to ask the kids (at least on the weekend) what they want to do and help them make that happen without resentment of feeling that I am missing out on me time by doing it. So today Master J wanted to go to the skate park. I did NOT want to go to the skate park so we went to the skate park. I spent 2 hours with him doing what he wanted to do. I watched avidly, videoed him, and he came running over to see each one; thought it was awesome. I gave him the thumbs up with each dismount and really engaged with him. Coincidently, after we got home I felt able to sit down to write this, guilt free for the first time in ages. AND, it was uninterrupted time! It dawned on me that by concentrating solidly on spending a few quality hours of time with him that I would then be returned with quality time for me as well, instead of staying home and getting frustrated by halfarsed “Mum” time and nobody winning. He has been wanting to learn how to cook for a while now and I have been procrastinating because you know; cooking and six year old kids. Blegh. BUT I will start early tonight and he can help me make meatballs. I will shelve my frustrations about it and enjoy his company. Maybe we can do this each weekend for one of the dinners. He says he wants to be on MKR with me one day and loves to sit on my lap and watch it with me on Sunday nights until the first ad break when its time for bed:)
Its been a pretty big realisation and I plan to do more of it each weekend. Lets see if the bedtime shenanigans ease off as well. Although as frustrating as they are I know I will miss them when they stop. “Mummy it smells like old woman in my room and I cant sleep” Too funny.
The mum/home/kids/me time is so hard to balance isnt it? Instead of trying to do it all at once and be Supermum, maybe its best to split the times up to make the best of each moment with no multitasking. Its a tricky concept as us women are so used to multitasking every day but perhaps our kids need our pure focus sometimes? Pffft, no multitasking – no wonder Mr Point Five is so good at it!!
What do you think? Am I onto something here or did you guys already know this and I am slow on the uptake?