My best friend can clean a surface faster than anyone I know. I, on the other hand, get stress paralyzed by the smallest of crumbs. Eventually, I get it done, but organization and task management are far from my natural skill set.
Watching her, with hopes that I could learn from her magical skills, I noticed that she never leaves an area until she has completed it. She’ll make piles of things that go elsewhere, but she is completely present while she is doing the job.
I have learned this same lesson, the hard way, applies to with other areas including homeschooling. We as the mom/teacher have to multitask to some degree. If we don’t few things would ever get accomplished, but I do believe there are unnecessary distractions that if we would just be all in where ever we are that we could get to the other jobs and do them well.
We owe it to our kids to be all in and present when they are doing school. I have learned to put my phone on airplane mode to remove that distraction so that I can be all in.
The kids respond better when they know my focus is entirely on them. I have also found that if I give them my undivided attention, they will not demand it so much when I am working on something else. Not to mention that our school day goes faster and more smoothly because we are focused.
By being completely present, we are teaching our children that they are valuable to us. We are also teaching them to stay focused by practicing what we preach. In some cases, I think it is us that have made our kids distracted. We have done this by modeling a distracted life ourselves as well as constantly pulling them from one thing to the next never letting them stay completely focused.
I know that we are busy moms juggling many tasks so sometimes it unavoidable. But if we set out with the intention to be wholly present wherever we are, much more can be achieved and with less frustration.
Personally, I have found several ways to help accomplish this all starting with,
Make a list or schedule.
Since the earliest days of my mothering journey, I have hated the word schedule. It’s hard. But oh how freeing that schedule is when I work the plan. At the beginning of the day when all of my tasks are a jumbled mess here’s what I do:
Write down your tasks for the day.
Seeing everything on paper lets you evaluate whether you are expecting too much of yourself. In case you were wondering, you are! I have heard it said that you should only really expect to get four major things done a day. I think that’s a good rule by which to live.
Prioritize your tasks.
Now that you know you have too many things on your list decide your must do’s. In the book Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey sums up this beautifully. Tasks fall into four categories. Important and Urgent, Important but not urgent, urgent but not important and finally not urgent and not important.
For example planning dinner is important but not urgent at 9 am. However, if I wait until 4:30 to even think about, it has now moved to the category of urgent and important.
I would highly suggest checking out the book as Dave dives deep into this area.
Then don’t skip this last step.
Decide when you will do them.
This step is key. I have found that I can’t do laundry while I’m schooling. I walk away from the table and things go crazy. I can’t pay bills while I’m listening to a child read. They know you aren’t listening and things go awry.
It’s the exact reason why when you answer the phone every child at that moment needs you.
Yes, mom, that happens to all of us.
Deciding when to get a task done is crucial and freeing. If you know that you have time in the evening or the next day to pay the bill, it allows you the freedom to be completely present in the now.
When you are distracted and focused an important task each tap on the shoulder and “mom, mom, Mom!” lights the fuse and eventually ends in a very frustrated mom who usually lashes out in some form of anger because those interruptions are infringing on a task which is better delegated to another time.
Mom’s of littles: I know this sounds impossible. I’m totally there with you.
Hard work? Yes.
It takes creativity, sacrifice, and grace to realize that you probably won’t accomplish everything that you want to, but you will figure out a way to get to everything you need to done. And if it falls off the list completely it may just be in that category of urgent and unimportant.
This principle of task management and being in the moment doesn’t just apply to our parenting and house management. It also applies to our other relationships as well.
In our, present culture we all know that it has become a fight not to be distracted. We’ve all been out to dinner and watched an entire family not say a word to each other because they are all on handheld devices.
I’m not judging; my family has been that family!
I always look at those families and feel sad yet when we are “that family” it doesn’t occur to me to stop. It would so enrich relationships if we could take this to heart.
I was recently talking to a very successful retired man. We were talking about his lack of need to be tethered to a cell phone. He asked me, “Why I needed mine all of the time.” I told him, “Well I mean if my husband texts me…or if uhh.”
He stopped me and said, “I have realized that the world will go on around me if I am not up to date on every last detail of what’s going on.There was a time when I had that phone tethered to me, but even in those times. I remembered the most important things in my life are surrounding me now.”
Even when he was president of his company he had rules. He didn’t go to bed with his cell phone; he did this so he could be with his wife unhindered. No phones at the table for dinner. No phones after a certain time he wasn’t answering emails. He was in a very prominent position, but yet he knew that his family was more important than his job.
He prioritized his life, made time for the tasks, and fully invested where ever he was. I believe there is a lot of wisdom in doing all of those things.
Mom, I hope these reminders help you to be fully present wherever you are today.
You won’t regret it.
by Dave Ramsey (Author)
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