I went for a run today. It was just repetitive circles in my driveway, but it was so much fun. In the middle of the morning I decided for the next half-hour I would work on exercising, nothing else. I would not even try to mentally plan how I would get something else done later that was highlighted orange on my list. No. Because, if I was going to truly do this one thing I was going to focus only on it for a while.
Micaela sat in the stroller and played with her water bottle. Adela visited our kittens. And me, I just ran.
I feel like I'm finally breathing again.
It has been a really busy week with a hundred struggles, but I look back on the last few days and my heart is light. I can smile without having to think about creating the expression. Goodness, I found myself grinning while I pulled weeds this morning. Finally, life feels manageable.
Deciding to cut multitasking from my life is such an amazing change.
Now, mommies, when the kids are awake we never really stop multitasking. We can't, because we are keeping an eye on our children and being social with them no matter what we are doing. However, sometimes, when we focus just on them, we are actually, truly doing one thing.
Ah. Yes. One thing at a time.
The biggest change that cutting out multitasking and beginning this new 'monotasking' regime has done for me is given me grace. I have to pick one thing to focus on and tell myself not to worry about the list. I could come back to the list when I had finished a task. And, when the girls inevitably interrupted my focus then I would not try to juggle them too. Instead, I would switch gears, be mom-only for a few minutes and not worry about that either.
Our bodies physically are limited at how much they can do at one time. Our minds can focus on multiple issues. Those habits were stressing me out so much more than I realized. I would do Micaela's therapy and become frustrated at how long it would take. My mind would start sorting out bills or scheduling another load of laundry. And, becoming worried at how much was on my plate, I would leave poor little Micaela much sooner than she needed.
For me, 'monotasking' is simply a change in focus. It is telling myself "Lora, you are doing Micaela's therapy right now. That is all you are doing. You are going to move these little feet and encourage her. You are going to enjoy her smiles and giggles. You are going to thank God that He made you a mother. And that is all. Yes, the dryer went off, but those clothes will still be there when we finish this. So, focus. Move that little foot. Isn't she amazing?"
Want to hear something funny? My house is just as clean as it always is. Nothing spectacular. I did get less writing done, but, I finally put in the garden. There were rough things that happened. I took our three-year-old to Child Find to see if she needed speech services (she is bilingual and delayed in speech) and found out that she is delayed in all areas and might have vision issues. Our bathroom flooded. A care-coordinator gently brought it up that Micaela might have extensive needs her whole life and that we should start putting things in place to help her and our family such as respite care. There has been a roller-coaster of emotions and a lot of long days. But, like I said, I'm still smiling.
Goodness, I just feel good.
One thing at a time.
And this experience has me second guessing why this multitasking skill became suddenly so important in our society. I did not even know how to eat sitting down, not looking at my phone, my kindle, or my computer. It felt strange to sit down and stare at my children while they ate, too. And, it was such a great time to talk with them. Or, when I ended up finally getting nutrition after everyone else, I had a lot of prayer time while I chewed.
I wrinkle my nose and bite the inside of my cheek as I recognize that I've taken a lot of pride in my multitasking skills. My "time management" talents.
Why was that more important than enjoying life?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
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"...and God was already there with me."