You will only ever have half my attention. And I’m sorry.

Since I became a Mum, you will only ever have half my attention, and I’m really sorry about that. And it only got worse when I started working from home.

 

This post is relevant to everyone I come across these days. If I am with my children, I will have one eye on them, ready to intervene in squabbles, spot dangerous stick wielding and generally not lose them. Although they are older now, I still can’t quite relax and enjoy a full conversation if they are not by my side.

Although if they are by my side, chances are that I will be separating them as they squabble, berating them for a minor misdemeanor or trying desperately to ignore the hand tugging that signals their immense boredom and wish to leave. Or I’m telling them they’re being rude. Which is also non conductive to any conversation!

Even if I am without the children, chances are, you are not getting 100% of my attention. I have a very annoying brain which has a habit of throwing up completely unrelated things midway through a conversation. I will suddenly be struck with fear that I have double booked myself for something, or remember an email I need to reply to, or an invoice that hasn’t gone out. I’ll then not be able to relax until I have checked my diary or completed the task.

Even my husband doesn’t get my full attention in the evenings. I’m sorting out school forms or doing all the things I didn’t get a chance to in the day. I feel that I am never truly present in the moment. I wonder if that is something that all people go through. I’m sure I remember being able to just relax pre children. But maybe that was before technology.

Before I had a smart phone, I wasn’t able to check my emails on the go, look up the answers to burning questions that popped into my head and I definitely didn’t need to check my social media constantly. I understand that a large part of it is to do with my job. The social media aspect is a part of what I do and I love the interaction but often it can overtake.

Recently I have been trying to take a step back a bit. When I watch tv, I’m trying to do just that, no laptop, no phone in hand. If I’m having a conversation, I’m trying to focus on that alone, pushing unwanted thoughts to the back of my mind. To be ‘in the moment’.

I am also finding that my jobs seem to have a domino effect. I will think of one thing I need to do, which I won’t be able to do until another job is done, which requires another job to come before.

I’m getting scattier by the minute and it’s driving me crazy, I feel like I’m juggling sand and my multi tasking is off the chart. It’s not unusual for me to be trying to complete 4 tasks at once alongside dealing with packed lunches, dressing up days, answering existential questions and cooking dinner. Life seems to be on fast forward, I feel a little bit like I’m on one of those airport moving runways and thoughts are whizzing past me as I try and grab them in some sort of brain aching version of supermarket sweep!

I’ve written before about all the jobs that I seem to be in charge of but I’m currently feeling it more then ever! So if you’re talking to me and I glaze over midway through, you’re honestly not boring me, I’m just trying to remember if the two parties at the weekend clash or whether I ever paid that incredibly important bill that was pinned to the board for weeks but has now mysteriously vanished!

I can’t be alone in feeling like this, we’re getting busier and are more accessible then ever. Nearly everything can be done on the go and I always feel that if I don’t act on something the minute it comes into my head, it will float on out again.

I keep saying that I’m going to have a break but it never actually happens! I think what I need to learn to do more is be realistic about what is achievable in a day.

Is this just a parent thing? How do other people manage I wonder, are we all having the same internal thought jumble as we chat at the school gates?

What are your top tips on switching off?

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41 Comments

  1. March 22, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    Oh wow, this is exactly me! My levels of concentration since becoming a mum are awful – although I’m not sure if this is baby related or blogging related seen as how both things happened at the same time! I am trying small things like leaving my phone in the bedroom when I get home from work and having dinner and an hour or so without checking social media – then checking it before I go to bed. It’s hard though as like you say, social media is what keeps the blog alive, so it’s hard to find a balance. One thing I do always try and do is be present and in the moment when I’m with Alfie, as he is my priority.

    • March 23, 2017 / 10:49 am

      I didn’t blog when I first had babies but I’m still not sure what is worst! I think because blogging is my job now I’m really struggling to work around the kids. If we go out for the day I do try and give them all my attention but I’m often snapping photos for instagram etc. It’s so hard to find a balance when you can take your work home with you isn’t it!!

  2. March 22, 2017 / 10:17 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is sooooo me. I actually said earlier that I’m organised at work but a completely hot mess at home. I hate those moments when you suddenly realise you haven’t done something, and I’m also trying to put my phone down and just be in the moment, but it’s so hard!!! Right putting my phone down now…sleep… xxx

    • March 23, 2017 / 10:46 am

      I’m just like you! I’ve started plugging my phone in downstairs at night now to prevent browsing in bed. I would be so organised if I didn’t have children!xx

  3. March 24, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Oh gosh yes, I feel exactly the same. And the guilt is horrendous! I am always feeling terrible that I’m not doing something I should be doing, even though I’m doing something else that needs doing just as much! We need to go for coffee soon and sit opposite each other ignoring each other and thinking about all the other things we should be doing 😉
    Nat.x

    • March 26, 2017 / 8:39 pm

      I’d really like that! I promise to try and give you all my attention. Most of it anyway! xx

  4. March 26, 2017 / 12:22 am

    Since being a parent (and also a blogger) I find my brain is never 100% on anything at one time.. its a logistical nightmare isn’t it?

    • March 26, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      Yes!! I flit about like a stressed out butterfly! I need to learn focus. I think mindfulness is the way forward. Another thing to add to the list!

  5. March 27, 2017 / 8:13 am

    I’ve noticed friends do this a lot when we are out so now I have a no phone allowed at the table rule. First one to pull it out pays for drinks. It is hard to retrain yourself but the reward is worth it. #bigpinklink

  6. March 27, 2017 / 8:56 am

    I do this! I think I’m neglecting my husband a bit because I’m always thinking of something else, even when I’m chatting to him. I definitely need to work on it! #bigpinklink

  7. March 27, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Feel exactly the same. Mothers really are multi-tasking queens! There’s always a list of things to do (and I mean literally a list becuase otherwise I would end up rocking on the floor with brainmelt.) #pinkpinklink

  8. March 27, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Just me, popping back from #BigPinkLink (although I think I commented on your Facebook the other day rather than your post?!). So agree with you on this!! I feel like my brain is crammed full and I can only ever give anything half of my attention!!

  9. March 27, 2017 / 9:22 am

    Oh you’re definitely not alone! I feel like I can’t just concentrate on one thing, even if I’m trying to relax and switch off. Last night I sat down with Himself to watch Line of Duty and could feel myself thinking about the uniforms in the washing machine or the fact I needed to confirm Flump’s hospital appointment. I think it’s partly being a parent, (ok I’m going to say it, specifically a Mum as my husband doesn’t seem to have the same problem switching off 🙂 ), partly busy modern life, partly being a blogger and just the fact that some people have busy brains- me included.
    Lists are my best friend when it comes to getting stuff done, otherwise I walk around the house trying to do everything and finishing nothing!
    #BigPinkLink

  10. March 27, 2017 / 10:27 am

    I do this!. What I try and do now is write down the idea that’s occurred to me and then go back to focusing on the job I’m trying to do. Not sure this is entirely successful as my to do list is huge!

  11. March 27, 2017 / 10:29 am

    I completely relate to this! I have the attention span of a newt these days! I never switch off, even when I’m trying so hard to, I just can’t stop the millions of thoughts whirring around my brain! I would love to be able to give the children my full attention but there’s just so many of them for a start!! #bigpinklink

  12. March 27, 2017 / 10:40 am

    I can totally relate, you’ve just described exactly how I feel, but I’m also on medication which messes with my head so I have trouble remembering anything and am always a little spaced out. I do try to switch off with some crochet or colouring, or maybe even reading….but as soon as I do switch off my brain takes it as a cue to go to sleep and off I go…zzzzz

    #bigpinklink

  13. March 27, 2017 / 11:18 am

    A great post! I try to do the same and mixed with a sprinkling of ‘MINDFULNESS’ I think I’m getting there! #bigpinklink

  14. March 27, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    Hi, you are definitely not alone. We all get scatty especially with all the multi tasking we have to do. I turned my phone on silent the other night to watch to catch up tv and just enjoy it. I was amazed how good I felt not being attached to it. I felt more productive as a result. I shall be trying it again. I hope it works for you as well

  15. March 27, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    Everyone gets neglected in my world. Most of the time though it is me.

    #bigpinklink

  16. March 27, 2017 / 1:57 pm

    This is me! I’m afraid I haven’t cracked it yet so not sure what my tips are I’ll let you know when I do! #bigpinklink

  17. March 27, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    I completely agree about the domino effect with jobs. And as for only having half your attention, a friend with two children said to me recently she longs for the time she can finish a conversation with a friend. And when she said it I realised I hadn’t said nice I became a mother either. My top tip for switching off is reading, which I recently rediscovered thanks to a Preschool Parents Book Group. Even if I only manage one page – while I am in that other world, mine stops turning for that short time. #bigpinklink

  18. March 27, 2017 / 3:30 pm

    Yes, this really strikes a chord with me! Someone once told me to switch off all devices at 9pm and to have an hour of ‘phone/computer/tablet free time during the day too. Honestly I don’t always do that, but I try to remember and really live in the moment as often as I can. It’s a hard balance to find though!

  19. March 27, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    Sorry, forgot to say that I found this post through your fabulous #bigpinklink 😉

  20. March 27, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    This happens to me a lot. I dissociate and can’t even come to terms with my own thoughts, let alone listen to someone else. Just the other day my boyfriend got upset with me because he said I was “okaying him” instead of actually having a conversation. This was because I had checked out. This makes me feel a bit better that I am not the only one that has to deal with this #BigPinkLink

  21. March 27, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    I can get like this with too many thing flittering round my head. I now find myself schedulling my day including telly and cuddle time. #bigpinklink

  22. March 27, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    I struggle to switch off and give my husband my full attention nowadays. My mind is constantly thinking about what we might have planned, whether I’ve got everything for dinner etc. we try to go out for walks as a family which is a time we just switch off and chat! #bigpinklink

  23. March 27, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    I’m like this all of the time!! As I write this, I am also watching TV, having a half-hearted convo with Mr C, and trying to unwind from my first day back at work after maternity leave with my second! On my tea break (as you know) I was sneakily linking up here, on my lunch break I was reading and commenting on blogs, on the way home from work I was checking emails and social media and researching activities for tomorrows working day! I have no idea how I’ll keep up with everything now I’m back at work, but I know that blogging will be constant because I love it. #bigpinklink

  24. March 27, 2017 / 10:36 pm

    I’m so with you, I never feel like I’m doing anything properly as I’m always trying to do too many things at once, and I’m pulled in every direction by the children and husband. I also try to only watch TV and only read a book but inevitably I’m checking my phone etc. Blogging has made it all even harder to concentrate on as the social media side does take over. I think us mums all feel the same, not sure what the answer is. #bigpinklink

  25. March 28, 2017 / 7:34 am

    Motherhood really does a number on the brain and I didn’t even have babies! When the kids came along I felt I had to split my brain in two to deal with each one. I still feel I can’t string a sentence together. A thought pops into my head and it’s gone. I walk into a room and forget what I am in there for! I’m so with you on this one! #bigpinklink

  26. March 28, 2017 / 8:35 am

    This is SOOOOOOO true! The only time I manage to forget about the kids is when I attend meetings but then feel REALLY guilty when I get home 🙁 #bigpinklink

  27. March 28, 2017 / 12:59 pm

    I could have written this myself. It is so hard to stay focused when you are juggling so much. Perhaps its parenthood, perhaps its technology. Perhaps it is blogging. Or perhaps it is just part of running a family. Making sure everyone is fed, watered, at their respective parties at the right time on the right day. Ensuring the bills are paid and there is a roof over our heads. At some point fitting in something that we need. Things probably were easier pre kids but what was the worst thing that would happen if you let a ball drop back then? You are certainly not alone in being like this.
    #BigPinkLink

  28. March 28, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    If my kids are there I am definitely only having half a conversation! The amount of times I say to friends ‘you started to tell me about X the other day and we got side tracked’ is unbelievable. And always a million to do’s going round my head x

  29. March 28, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    I feel the same. Especially the domino effect….aghhh #bigpinklink

  30. March 28, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    You are definitely not alone. I think we all suffer from this.
    #bigpinklink

  31. March 28, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    I really get this, i always feel like I have an eye on my kids and the other on my company when I have the kids around and I never seem to finish a sentence without having to stop them doing something! #bigpinklink

  32. March 30, 2017 / 9:25 am

    I find it really hard to concentrate on one thing as there are so many distractions – usually the children. I am not very good at switching off but I must try harder. Leaving my phone/iPad/Mac in another room would be a good start! #bigpinklink

  33. March 30, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Yes I’m pretty sure every parent has this! Life is so busy it’s hard to stay focussed. My mindfulness course has helped a bit with this, I am much more aware of doing this, but trying to stop it is still a hard thing to master! #Bigpinklink x

  34. March 31, 2017 / 12:01 am

    Being a mom and owning a smartphone is an incredibly dangerous condition. We may never be the same again. This I fear… what were we talking about again? #bigpinklink

  35. March 31, 2017 / 6:55 am

    It feels like I could have written this myself! Being a mother and a blogger means social media takes over and the linkies. oh the linkies! i love them but the pressure to complete them in time amongst everyday life was getting too much so ive cut a few out (not yours though =])
    #bigpinklink

  36. April 1, 2017 / 11:58 pm

    I do relate to the not completing any one task properly before moving onto another or just realising mid one task that something else needs doing. Problem is I’m fundamentally lazy and the most shocking time manager ever so nothing ever gets done anyway! It’s amazing those kids don’t raise themselves. Wonderfully written as usual babe #bigpinklink

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