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Living in a state of -ing

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Pumping, eating, drinking coffee, nursing, blogging, talking to the toddler, listing groceries, and Bible reading. That's what I'm doing right now, all at the same time, all the verbs all at once. Being a mom is a constant state of "-ing." We are constantly do-ing at least two things at once.

When I'm making dinner, I'm also making lunches for tomorrow. When I'm pumping, I'm also nursing. When I'm playing, I'm also organizing the playroom. When I'm talking on the phone I'm also fielding three consecutive kid emergencies. Why is it that when you think you have five minutes to spare to make a phone call the children suddenly sense it and whack their sister, smash their finger in the door, have a potty emergency, and become life or death hungry?

Live in the moment! And then pick leaves out of the toddler’s tush for 10 minutes.

M is for multi-tasking Mom. I remember back in college reading a journal entry, a study that was done on multi-tasking. Turns out we think we're being more efficient by multi-tasking, but in actuality we are equally or less efficient. It's actually more efficient to focus on the task at hand than to jump between tasks. That said, I'm still the queen of multi-tasking. Yes, I learned nothing from the study and chose to ignore it, because I have to be doing at least two things at once in order function. In college, I took in information best while moving...So I would do all of my reading on the elliptical or bike in order to focus. Yes, I might just have slight ADHD, but back in the day we didn't have labels for everything. So then I was made for this multi-tasking mom life, right?

So wrong. I am the youngest of four children. I was dubbed "the baby," "the brat," and I had no interest in babies or even kids- not my own or anyone else's. I wasn't even that nice to my own beloved sister when she was pregnant. I was living with her at the time she was pregnant with her first child and I was just a dumb, insensitive kid and made some Indian spiced cauliflower when she was still in the first trimester. I thought it was delicious, but she had never cared for Indian food and no living soul enjoys the smell of cooking cauliflower. She spent an hour in the bathroom heaving and hiding from the smell, and insensitive me didn't get what the big deal was as I enjoyed my curried cauliflower on the couch. As soon as I experienced my own first trimester I was deeply, deeply sorry for what I had done to her. It wasn't until my sister had her first child, and I held his long swaddled body and took in all his tiny features that I began to understand this whole baby obsession.

Never did I ever envision having four kids. Never, ever, ever did we think they would all be girls. There are currently eight grandchildren on my husband's side- all girls. My siblings have an even split of boys and girls. And then there's me, with four little women whose mom never learned to "do" hair or use makeup. I'm sure one of my girls will teach me someday. Girls are a lot of work. A lot of multi-tasking, talk it out, kind of work. I end every single day utterly exhausted and pretty much collapse on the couch somewhere around 8:30-9p. I can't even talk to my own husband who I haven't seen all day. I have no more words. No more brain power. All day long from sun up to well past sun down I have been doing.

I start the day slow, and late, but once the coffee and workout kick in I'm multitasking mom and try to squeeze in as much as I can to every minute. This is why I'm chronically late. I keep thinking I can clean up those last dishes before school pick up or do a quick grocery run before lunchtime. I just end up running across the field to pick up my poor kid who is now the only one waiting or with a hangry toddler who wants to buy all the cereal in the grocery store and eat it NOW by the fistful.

Being a mother of young children means a life of constant interruptions, unfinished tasks, and often inefficient multitasking. It's never quiet and you never get to be alone. If it is quiet, beware. Quiet with toddlers is never a good sign. They're either cutting their own hair, stacking stools to get the "top shelf" toys that belong to big sisters, or sneaking snacks. If you're alone it's because nap time magically synced across the children and now you can pee alone in peace.

It's so easy to get lost in the busyness and to try and cram so much into my day that I forget to stop and actually enjoy the cute, squishy faces God entrusted me with. I once heard that BUSY stands for Because You Said Yes. I'm always on to the next task or thinking about what I need to do next, that I overlook the importance of the task at hand. The constant doing and noise is not always necessary. Sometimes a run is better without music so I can pray or reflect. On the rare occasion I'm alone in the car, I should just sit and listen for the "still small voice" of God. How can I hear Him if the music or a podcast is always on? I'm always reminding my oldest, talkative child of James 1:19,

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger."

The slow to anger reminder is for me. She and I have a tendency to talk at instead of with people. We both have trouble sitting and being still, so quieting our minds to hear God's voice is especially challenging. Quiet and peaceful are not words one associates with a parent of young children either. Part of life with multiple littles is constant chaos and you can't go over it, you can't go under it, you gotta go through it.

Messes and tantrums.

Messes and tantrums.

Messes and tantrums.

(Any Going On A Bear Hunt fans out they're?) However in my case, trying to cram every minute with productivity just leaves me short-tempered in the evening and attacking the children who I -ing for all day. If I could just tone it down and prioritize better, my entire family would benefit from 1) maybe not always being late for once and 2) a focused, present mom.

Stella enjoys life to the fullest, one moment at a time

What I need to learn about being present, I can learn from my 2 1/2 year old, Stella. When she's playing dolls, she's not simultaneously doing a puzzle. When she's eating at the table there are no toys or screens, just the flavors of the food before her. When she's in her crib for a nap, but often not napping anymore, she's relaxing and singing songs to herself or telling her animals stories. When we're talking and playing she looks in my eyes and listens with her entire body. When we go for a walk or stroller run she notices the colors of the leaves and the shapes of the clouds. She lives in the moment. She is always present. She looks up. And she's the most joyful person I know.

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