I have two kids: a girl and a boy who are 18 months apart. When my son was an infant, I was hurriedly cooking dinner in the small window of time between getting home and “hanger” taking over. I went to tell my daughter in the other room that it was time to eat and walked in to find her playing with her baby doll. I had actually forgotten that we owned a baby doll, but I remembered that a friend did give her one as a “big sister present” before he was born. She opened it, then immediately threw it across the room and started laughing.
When I walked into the living room that evening, she had a bottle “feeding” the baby. The only problem was, she had the bottle propped under her chin while she went around picking up pillows and toys and occasionally going back to her play kitchen to stir her pretend food. She then picked up her toy phone and started talking – all while holding the baby under one arm with the bottle balanced under her chin. It was quite impressive. It was also quite humbling.
Needless to say, I made a priority shift that day (after calling my mom to laugh and confess at what her wonderful granddaughter had done!)
An unexpected glance into the lens of how she viewed me and motherhood was the very thing I needed to see. Multitasking is good. In fact, I imagine at some point in the future, I’ll even write a blog post about the importance of multitasking. However, there are times you have to stop and be fully engaged wherever you are. My son needed me to stop doing ALL the things while feeding him. I needed to take time to just sit and feed him; to spend quality time loving him. He’s now two-and-a-half and thriving, but there are days I would love to go back for just one more rock with a bottle. And to think I almost missed it…
My daughter needed me to stop multitasking, too. By not just trying to get all the things done as quickly as possible, I was able to multi-task things that should go together: like needing to cook dinner and wanting to spend quality time with my daughter. Letting her help me measure and stir is a way better use of multitasking. In another post on our blog The Home and The Hustle, I call this type of mom-hack “combining like things.”
If I’m honest, my husband needs me to stop and give him my whole attention sometimes, as does my employer, and even my friends. What are things you need to stop trying to rush through and make time to do by themselves? Would you write a better report at work if you weren’t trying to catch up on your favorite show? When your husband or friend is driving, are you busy returning emails and phone calls, or talking and catching up? There is a time and a place for everything; just make sure you are intentional about when and how to use our multitasking superpower.