Maternal ADD

by DaniGirl on March 18, 2010 · 13 comments

in Mothering without a licence

I‘ve been trying to figure out if this is just one of those things you have to accept when you’re a mother of three boisterous little boys, or if it’s something I can control.

Lately, I have noticed that I am perpetually unable to complete a single task uninterrupted. I open the browser window and start writing a blog post. I get three key-strokes in when the dog starts pacing around in that definitive “let me out now” kind of way. I let the dog out, and notice that the breakfast dishes are still on the table, so I start clearing them away. I begin loading the dishwasher, and Lucas demands a drink. I leave the dishwasher open and fill a sippy cup. Before I can hand him the sippy cup when the dog wants back in. I go to let the dog in, sippy cup still in hand, but the phone rings. While talking on the phone, I pick up the clothes strewn around and when the call ends, I go stuff a load of laundry into the washer. I can’t do that until I transfer the load that’s in the washer into the dryer, and can’t empty the dryer without a basket. I go upstairs and empty the basket of folded clothes onto my bed for later sorting, pausing along the way to remove Lucas from the toilet he’s about to plunge with a plastic hammer and on my way back to the laundry room Simon calls out from the kitchen because he’s banged his leg on the open dishwasher. At the same time, Tristan is hollering from upstairs that he doesn’t have any clean pants, and Lucas is still yammering for a drink.

All. Day. Long.

The worst part is, my work life is like this, too. Every time I sit down to do a particular task, there are five other things competing for my attention — an e-mail here, a phone call there, a colleague standing in my cubicle door with a question. I leave the office at the end of the day some days feeling like I pinged through the day like a pinball on crack, wildly bouncing from one thing to another at full speed without having actually accomplished anything.

Now, I know there are some ways I can mitigate this at work. Only open and respond to e-mails during certain hours, set off blocks of time reserved for specific projects, and simply making myself unavailable at certain times. But how do you do that at home? Despite my exhortations, the two-year-old is not amenable to only standing on the kitchen table filching apples from the fruit bowl during the 10 – 11 am time period, and while the dog is genial at the best of times, she’s almost 11 years old and her bladder is not to be scheduled.

I’m starting to get a little testy about the constant interruptions, and my ongoing inability to accomplish even the simplest tasks without a hundred distractions. Forget Chinese water torture — if you really want to drive someone insane, just make sure they’re not able to complete a single task, sentence or thought for three solid years.

What say ye, bloggy peeps? Is it just me? Do I just give up and embrace the chaos, or is this a tiger I can tame?

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go replace all the books that the toddler dumped from the bookcase in the time it took me to type this post, and to feed the children breakfast. Because it’s all about priorities, right?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Finola March 18, 2010 at 11:27 am

Nope, you aren’t alone at all. I think we are all in the same boat – well I know I am at least! I don’t have any magical solutions for you, but I will be watching to see if anyone else does.

2 Annika March 18, 2010 at 1:40 pm

It is a type of torture. Most days I can roll with it, but sometimes I actually feel panic seeping in. When the heck am I ever going to get anything done? Seriously…when?

3 Sarah March 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I call those days ” the undones”… although many things were started they were all left undone. My mantra was Flexibility (just not physically)
I managed to convince myself that daycare two days a week was good for everyone. I felt I could live with that compromise (the guilt). On those days I could barely sleep the night before because I was so excited. I used to think that being excited to be alone was wrong, but it felt so good. I dedicated two hours to any type of housework thing I wanted then the rest of the day I had to ignore the rest and start working. For the most part it worked. Inevitably there were sick days and other events that took over those days.
My house will never be prefect but at least I felt I accomplished something on those days.

4 DeuxHirondelles March 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Even though I have no children at home and two dogs with bladders the size of Olympic swimming pools, I, too, experience the same type of ADD when doing things about the house.

I think that part’s normal. Your testiness, however, may be a reflection of the learning/adaptation curve to the new job: it’s been a few months now and maybe the extra effort required is beginning to wear you out. Were I in your shoes, I would try to be kind to myself in any way I can for the next while until it passes.

5 mrsgryphon March 18, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Oh, Dani, you are absolutely NOT alone. I have come to the conclusion this week that the never-ending interruptions and the constant noise (from the kids and the dog and the cats and in my busy, busy head) is leading to me being vastly non-productive. I’ve decided that, even though I’m a night owl to the extreme, I’m going to have to suck it up and start getting up before the kids do in the morning… just so that I can carve out an hour of relative quiet in my day. Maybe find 20 minutes to run on the treadmill, and then to have a shower without someone sticking their head in the door to yell at me for a drink or a toy or to rat out the dog. I’m hoping I can reach the holy grail of a cup of tea that isn’t cold before I get to take the first sip. If I can find that bit of quiet, I think the rest of my day will feel a little less scattered. I’m also going to try meditating for 10 or 15 minutes once the girls are in bed for the evening… just to try to get myself back into a more calm space so that I can tackle the (paying!) jobs I need to do in the evening with a little more focus. If you come up with any strategies that work for you, please share šŸ™‚

6 yvonne March 18, 2010 at 6:35 pm

To me it depends on what your ‘to do’ list was in the first place? Support your children and run a happy household? Check. Accomplished. Support your staff so they can achieve excellence? Again. Check. If you were put on this earth to achieve success at laundry, you would have been born a washing machine. And delegate – if you delegate and leave yourself to simply motivate and support, then you ARE doing your job.

7 Rebecca March 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Since I had this post open all day in anticipation of responding, I guess that should say it all šŸ˜‰

I have no idea how to balance it all and I don’t even work outside of the house. On days when we have fun, get laundry done, make a fancy meal – the kitchen is left a disaster. On days when we get more housework done, kids are bouncing off the walls.

There are a few words that will guarantee me that the babe won’t sleep well “I want to get a blog post done tonight…” šŸ˜‰

As long as we find happiness in the chaos, I consider it success

8 Amber March 18, 2010 at 11:18 pm

It is NOT just you, you have just described my life. I’m constantly distracted, constantly headed in 15 different directions, and never able to just finish something. It’s highly, highly aggravating.

9 suze March 19, 2010 at 7:39 am

Nope, not just you. I find this week particularly bad, because I don’t even have that hour of sanity that the overlap between school and nap time provide. At 5 o’clock I have generally had it and want to scream. And that’s the time I need to be making dinner, with kids whining and wanting me to open this or colour that… it’s crazy enough that I’m looking forward to my dentist appointment this morning. One hour, sitting still with my eyes closed.

10 Nia March 19, 2010 at 8:15 am

Wow! I’ve always wondered how you did it all, a job, a blog, pictures, a job and 3 boys! now I understand! You are just like the rest of us. Good thing you drink coffee…I don’t and have to take a “nap” in the middle of all the chaos at 5:30pm to recharge before dinner and evening madness! Hand in there, you’re not alone.

**captcha: mahony family

11 Paula March 19, 2010 at 9:43 am

Murphy’s Law. When you are sick, the kids are healthy handfuls. When you are busy, the kids are bored. When you have the least to give, the most is demanded. We all do the best we can with what we have, counting our blessings along the way and venting when all else fails. Hope you have a nice weekend.

12 marisol March 19, 2010 at 10:42 am

did we meet before?as you speak as if you see me all day long. Crazy, exhausted, someetimes I barely have time to enjoy a 5 minutes’ shower for myself. Sometimes, we feel guilty to have time for ourselves; but if not, I’m sure I wouldn’t be focused on taking care of the family, work, myself, and look “beutifull, sexy and attractive”(bah!, as if there were time and energies).

I speak with my husband and ask him for his support, explaining that I’m not an octopus to take care of everything and everyone. I need support from my guys too. And then…he plays with Dario and give me just 20 minutes to do whatever i want, maybe take a longer shower and moisturize myself once in a while.

I feel more relaxed when I find out, I’m not alone in this trip.

13 Rae March 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I call it “Goldfishing” I’m always flitting about from one side of the bowl to the other like a neurotic goldfish, often forgetting the thing I was working on 3 seconds ago in favor of another thing that is screaming for attention now.

It was better before Gryph was born for a bit, so I’m hoping as he gets older it will get better again.

Till then? Keep swimmin šŸ˜‰

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