The Simple Grace of Single-Tasking (and 3 tips for doing it as a mama)
I had a terrible mama moment.
With four children, one on one time with each kid is essential.
We schedule dates with our kids and, this past year, I started alone time with my oldest boys; thirty minutes of uninterrupted time with me.
Both of them still love when I read aloud so alone times include books. Aidan and I are immersed in the adventure of Lord of the Rings and Zachary and I are enchanted with the magical realm of the Goblet of Fire. We’ve made some strides since the days when Dr. Suess was on autopilot in my head (although, they're still frequent choices with the younger two).
The tenuous cord of connection with my almost teenager is strengthened because of these times together.
One day I was consumed by my to-do list, my multi-tasking mind took over and I missed alone time with my oldest.
The disappointment in his eyes transformed our strong cord to a dry, brittle thread in my heart. Forgetting alone time to him meant I forgot him.
How could I forget the relationship builder with my boy, who has a smidge of growing left until he’s taller than me and a voice sounding more like my husband each day?
I apologized, he forgave me, but this was unacceptable to me and I began the slow trek back to prioritizing single-tasking.
Scientific studies don’t need to tell me that I am less focused than I used to be. When I'm not intentional with my time, I’m easily distracted by my phone and the incessant flow of tasks.
The more distracted I am on my phone, the more my attention span seems to decrease, my to-do's pile up and my brain feels scattered. Enter multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking is my barometer to tell me when I’ve got too much going on in my head.
When my life is overwhelming, situations like forgetting to spend time with my kid happens.
I know I need to slow down again.
What can you do when life seems impossible to slow down?
Do it anyway.
Prioritize the things that matter most and let the extras go. If you have no idea where to begin, start with my free seven day mini-course and then keep building habits from there.
Living a simple life is an intentional, daily choice to order our lives around the most important things. Single-tasking is the road to get there.
Pin this as a reminder.
Single-tasking goes against everything society tells us to do: hustle always, be involved in everything and never stop to rest.
One task at a time might seem impossible, and it’s a huge change, but it can be done.
Sometimes simplifying means huge life change and sometimes it’s just a small shift in perspective, but the grace of single-tasking soaks our kids with the soothing peace of worthiness.
It means they’re valuable, they’re worthy of my attention and they're more important than all of the other stuff.
I’m not great at this so I started a training program for single-tasking. It’s crossfit for my brain: painful and challenging, but the results will be worth it.
My kids deserve more than my leftovers.
Wonderful things happen when I create space to connect in slow ways with my kids. Joy has room to slip back in and I realize once again how awesome my kids are.
Myquillyn, who writes at Nesting Place, put this in perspective for me. She wrote about how many summers she had left with her boys. It hit me hard and the truth of it settled into my being and can’t be forgotten. Here are my numbers going into this summer.
- Aidan - 7 summers
- Zachary - 9 summers
- Olivia - 14 summers
- Levi - 16 summers
How many summers do you have left?
Days feel like survival of the fittest around here and I’m not always the fittest, but I have to make this work now.
Here are three tips for single-tasking as a mama
Start small and practice. Recognize that this is difficult but worth it. Starting somewhere small is better than not starting at all.
Put your phone on silent in another room and then join your kids in what they’re already doing. I read something once about a mom who did an experiment. She sat and counted how many times her child looked over to her to see if she was watching him play. The number was high. He wasn’t checking to see if he could misbehave, he just wanted to know she was paying attention to him.
Download your free joy jar printable below. It includes instructions to create your joy jar and 50 activities to connect in slow ways with your kids.
Multi-tasking may be the way of the world, but I’m choosing my kids over the world. Tell me below if you'll join me in training your brain for single-tasking.