Thursday, February 14, 2013

Multi-tasking is Overrated

I'm writing this while on a conference call.  Not with anyone inside my organization (don't worry, employer!), but still...  I'm multitasking.  This has become the story of my life.  It is extremely rare that I sit down and focus on just one thing at a time.  This dawned on me last night as I was phone interviewing a new babysitter while driving to the gym.  Should I really be screening a potential caregiver for my child while racing to my next location?

I've always been an overachiever.  I've always been busy and thanks to my ADD, I never sit still.  Generally speaking, I do a damn good job of "wearing multiple hats."  That being said, since I've become a mom, I've taken this juggling act to a whole new level.

I responded to work email while I was in labor.  I read parenting blogs and researched developmental milestones during N's 2AM nursing sessions. Rather than "sleeping while the baby slept," I participated in conference calls during my maternity leave.  When I went back to work, I scheduled every moment of my day so that I could fit late afternoon Kindermusik classes into my week. Three years later, my husband and I have our schedules down to a science.  Exercise when N is asleep; laundry and kitchen cleaning while she watches cartoons on Saturday morning; one Saturday afternoon per month as alone time while the other parent does something special with N.  The science part of it is great.  We wouldn't be able to manage our lives if we weren't this organized and methodical.  I am starting to realize that I may be killing myself with all of this activity though.  I'm stressed.  I'm tired (and the circles under my eyes are visible proof).  I'm finding a new gray hair every week.  There are moments when I feel like I'm failing at work.  Can I really do my best and make every project/interaction/experience great if I'm not totally focused?  How many typos could have been avoided in this post if I proofread it without my work IM dinging in the background?

I hung up the phone with the new babysitter last night and realized that I didn't ask her a couple of very basic questions.  I was so excited about her based on the first impression she made on me and so worried about being late for my exercise class that I skimped on the interview.  Good grief, I interview for a living.  How is it acceptable for me to not give it 100% when it's for my child?!  How many other times have I done something similar and not realized it?

So, for now, I am going to find a way to be more focused.  I'm going to block time on my calendar for the regular to-dos and find a way to focus on them.  I'm also going to find time to just focus on my child.  She deserves to have me to read her library book without being distracted by the VIP alert emails from my boss on my phone.  She needs me to help her with trace numbers without running to the kitchen to stir whatever I'm making for dinner.  Maybe we'll start ordering take-out once a week.  I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I need to make it happen.  I'm open to suggestions if any of you wonderful moms are willing to share.

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