It’s been all about me this week! The boys have been fed, watered, clothed and ferried about to wherever they have needed to be, homework has happened, stars and black marks doled out but while all of this has been going on my internal focus has been on all the bits and pieces I’ve got going on. I’m going to call this distracted parenting. It’s new to me as until this year the boys pretty much ruled the roost in terms of time and energy – that’s collective family energy. Perhaps this is more akin to life as a working mum (which I actually a now too!) in which case, wow, I truly take my hat off to everyone who has juggled all these components of life from the word go with kids.
I am trying to teach myself to compartmentalise which is hard. I am realising it is not so easy to try and do a million things at once these days even or especially with constant global communication literally at our fingertips (sorry, I know as a woman I am able to multi-task, I’m just finding that these days it results in difficulties…bad feminist?). Yesterday we had two very similar incidents to highlight this:
- On arriving at pre-school I just had to finish off a tiny email I had started while waiting at a red light while Sam and Edward hung on in the back.
Me: Won’t be a minute boys.
Boys: Silence (happily doing sticker books).
Ten seconds later.
Sam: Argh, Mummy, when are you going to be FINISHED?
Me: Almost there, just a second.
Sam: BUT I WANT TO GET OUT (shouted loudly).
Me: OK, alright, I was just…realise they couldn’t care less what I was ‘just’ doing. I probably always seem to be ‘just doing’ something. This time was Sam’s time, he adores Northern Nursery and I felt rotten for spoiling his arrival there. Of course, my email could have waited, it’s just too easy to think I can fit another little thing in.
2. While the soup was cooking (yes, I know that’s a bit show-offy, forgive me, I’m trying to redeem a pinch of self-worth while I admit to my faults) I thought I’d check to see whether my article had been published. It had which meant I had to phone Andrew (who was wonderfully, joyfully supportive and proud, thank you) which went on for a bit during which Edward (who had been happily watching Rupert the Bear I’m ashamed to admit – but it’s Rupert right? Could have been worse, could have been Seseme street!) appeared to say ‘I hungry’ in a plaintive voice. I said, of course, ‘I’ll be there in a minute poppet’ and continued to chat and revel in my new-found, hard-earned writerly ‘fame’. A minute later he came back and began physically tugging on my arm to wrest me free of the technology that was binding me. I felt dreadful so allowed him nutella on toast and apple juice for lunch. Rubbish.
We are a bit of a technophobic household it has to be said. We have no ipad, ipod, foxtel. But perhaps I’m kidding myself and it is simply down to finances as opposed to my strict moral compass (you can get up now from rolling about in hysterics) or rather old-fashionedness. Those technologies we do have are getting in the way. They are stretching themselves over the compartments I mean to impose. I don’t think I’m alone. I go to a soft-play centre or park with the boys and find it hard not to get my phone out just to check if there’s anything that I need to attend to. What? I am not a member of the UN, nor am I a medical or legal professional on-call. The most important communication I might have will be something from a member of the preschool social committee. So nothing that cannot wait for me to have some time with my amazing boys. I have taken to leaving the distraction in the car – not Edward, the phone.
I give Andrew a row for working on his laptop in bed. Not only is it deeply unsexy, he works until he’s cross-eyed then wonders why he sleeps so badly. I use my phone as alarm which means the first thing I do after hitting snooze is check my emails.
As if to prove my point, Andrew has just appeared (it’s 6.47am) to replenish my tea with Blackberry in hand which he insisted on checking to see what had come in overnight, phew the email he wanted was there. It really couldn’t have waited, certainly not until the office and his work time officially begins. I have 13 minutes of my allotted work time left before the hand ticks over to the next compartment and today I don’t want to be late, or distracted.