Is Multi-tasking Toxic?

February 11, 2017

I sometimes use angel cards. Not very often but recently I did. I reshuffled and reselected. I did the same the next day (not content with the answer? I suppose more not believing it). The cards were the same. Detoxify and cleanse came up. So I went on a 1 day detox. I had awful headaches.I didn't think I needed to detox, after all being vegan I take lots of fruit and veg. But I drink tea daily, and have been having a fair amount of salted foods.I felt a little better the next day for it, but I now understand that the detox was not in relation to my food. It was in relation to my mind.After my revelational weekend last week, I practiced catching my thoughts. Living in the present is not an issue for me as I went on a retreat about 6 years ago now where I learned the simple art of mindfulness and 'awoke' for the first time.

 

The issue for me is when the present moment consists of me in my dressing gown with 2 crying toddlers, a burning breakfast, and a knock at the door! (I'm currently writing this on my bed with my eldest jumping up and down on it demanding I play rocket ships with him!)I love planning, however one thing I have learnt is that when I had my eldest son, planning was still relatively achievable. After my 2nd was born planning became futile. Knowing when would be an appropriate moment to do x or y activity was impossible.

 

I couldn't say to the 2 boys, at 3pm you can't need a nappy change, have a tantrum, or need that nap you wouldn't settle for earlier. Trying to control life when in this life situation is challenging to say the least! Then there's Tiny Land. My new business which I love..but I love my children more. So I put my evenings aside for that. My 2nd child still wakes often in the night and so even after their bedtime I usually am disturbed several times.

 

So I need to be realistic about what I can achieve and go for a slow burn. I have been so busy these past few weeks I have not turned up to 2 meetings with people I have arranged! That is so unlike me. I obviously can't plan in the same way that I used to. Like most parents I can get cross with my children. It is usually with the youngest as he loves to join me in the kitchen while the frying pan is on and maybe some pasta. He loves to switch on the warming plate on the oven which is not childproof (items have melted int he past!). He loves climbing on furniture and opening drawers that are impossible to childproof, and empty them and throw the content everywhere! These are the moments when I lose my cool, I remove him from the kitchen and check on him intermittently (a serving hatch would be so useful!)

 

 

I have a bath once a week. Once.  Usually a Saturday.  My husband leaves at 7:15am and is not home until after 7:30pm during the week once the kids are asleep and I need that time to get other things done, so I have a wash during the week, and when he can watch the kids I have a long soak.  Sometimes I watch a program on my mac at the same time, but usually I just bathe.  It's a wonderful thing to just do 1 thing that you enjoy - so relaxing.  The rest of my time is taken up trying to multi task.  I'll be packing lunch for the boys while trying to get them and me dressed..responding to cries of "Mum, he's trying to take my toys" or "Mum he's climbed on the table again" etc. 

Sometimes when I get a message from someone, I'll be so keen to answer, I'll respond there and then. Despite what I am doing at the time.  And when it's a bit chaotic and my answer under stress, I'll add an apology to the recipient about the current moment being a bit challenging etc..

 

Why do I do this?  Why not choose a better time to do it? Perhaps I feel there never will be a better time, but clearly now isn't the time! Sometimes I make (hands free) calls while driving.   A lot of the time the current moment is just a means to an end, I'm on my way home, I'm trying to get out of the door, I'm trying to move onto the next moment.  As if driving home isn't challenging enough, I need to cram more in!

 

However, how nice it is to surrender to what is currently happening, and not cram anything else in, and just focus on what you are doing.  On dressing the boys.  On driving through the countryside.  What a nicer experience for everyone when I am talking to them while not driving!  The pressure on my brain while I'm trying to plan or organise things mentally during an activity - or several -  is enormous...I tell myself I CAN DO IT..it's a mental challenge and about achieving an end goal.

 

But then there's another goal after that and another.   Being goal orientated is lovey, but if you are constantly SACRIFICING THE PRESENT MOMENT in favour of a future that you will only AGAIN SACRIFICE what is the point?  I sacrificed moments with my children yesterday in favour of doing some work that had a time pressure.  It felt wrong.  It then turned out that the deadline was lifted and I had more time.  It's funny how life finds a way to give you enough time to do the things you need.  More times than not it is myself who is putting me under the pressure in the first place!

 

 

Does everything have to be NOW?  Where is the space in life to listen? To smell and sense the surroundings..to enjoy the children's company...to be alive?  I used to think that muti-tasking and achieving in this way was more alive, but actually life passes so fast and you look at your now older children and think..where did THAT go?  So I am setting myself this goal:

 

If multi tasking is causing me to sacrifice the now..then STOP.  Allow myself to live for this moment, and schedule in the things that need doing that would cause me to live outside of this moment if I did them now.  Don't worry about WHEN I can do something..put it on a list if now isn't appropriate.  Work through the list when there is a more appropriate time.  Planning time is for planning, not sitting on the loo and trying to plan mentally.  I wonder how achievable this is, especially as I place my laptop down to get fully dressed so I can open the door to the food delivery, while my youngest is screaming and husband is busy making breakfast.  I'm hoping for a more peaceful week next week :)

 

 

 

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