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?