Most moms are great multitaskers. I'm usually pretty good at it myself. I've got supper cooking; I'm folding laundry; I'm listening to a podcast about blogging tips; and I'm monitoring a child who's finishing up math work. Yep. I've got it all covered. Isn't it great to be so good at multitasking?
But sometimes it isn't. Every so often I'm struck by the fact that, in all my busyness, I might be missing something important. Even though I'm trying so hard to be everything and do everything, might there be things of higher priority falling through the cracks?
In the car the other day, I had a few moments by myself. I had dropped off one child and was headed home, and I was alone. The car was quiet. Immediately I whipped out my phone and began thumbing through podcasts. Should I listen to more blogging instruction? Marketing? Read Aloud Revival? Which should I choose? Obviously I must use this quiet time in the car for another purpose. I must do something productive while I drive. Right?
But then I started to think. How long has it been since I just sat in a quiet car and enjoyed the moment. It's a moment to breathe, to think, to pray. When did I become so obsessed with filling in every single moment so as not to waste a second? Where did the margin- the quiet space of my day- go?
I was busily working on lesson planning a few days ago. That's important stuff, right? I also had laundry that I was watching and moving (floor to washer to dryer to basket to fold). And, in the back of my mind I was going over supper plans. In walks a child with something to tell me. And I listen with the 1/2 a mind that is still available. Until I catch myself.
Am I truly so busy that I can't just stop and give my attention to a child who is talking to me? Are all those other things more important? Why can't I just stop it all and listen for a moment, just listen.
I'm sitting watching a child practice a sport. And I can't stand the down time. So I start checking email and catching up on Facebook and replying to comments on Twitter. And the child runs out, happy and excited. "Did you see me? I did it!"
And I missed the awesome moment, the first time accomplishment. Because I was multitasking. Because I just have to take advantage of every single moment.
So I find myself asking: How often do we sacrifice what's really important- relationships, quiet time to think, prayer- because we are compelled to get so much done. How often do I miss a meaningful talk with a child because I tuned them out while I was writing a blog post? How often do I sacrifice a conversation with my husband because I'm checking my phone? And how often do I miss the joy that's happening in the present because I'm so consumed with catching up and keeping up and staying busy?
I'm rethinking this whole multitasking thing. Sure, there are times when some things just have to be done. And if I can efficiently do more than one at a time, that's great. But I'm going to do some serious thinking before I cram as much busyness into my day as possible. I'm going to stop and breathe and listen. I'm going to be present in the moment, listening and watching and enjoying...even if I have to stop all of the "important" things I'm doing.
What about you? Is multitasking keeping you from enjoying the present?