Focus

I'm tired of feeling like I'm running to catch up - I'm always five minutes late to something, dinner's never ready on time, I'm always forgetting how to do things. Things have been like this for so long that I've pretty much resigned myself to never being "with it." On top of that, I'm always exhausted - but at the end of the day I rarely feel like I've accomplished anything.



I don't like this feeling. I'm stressed, and can't shake the feeling that I'm missing out.



Things came to a boil last week when, as I was trying to reply to a friend's email (one that she had sent me three weeks ago) and I was simultaneously trying to feed my sick baby a snack while cleaning up the breakfast dishes (because we had to abandon them as we rushed out the door to drop off my preschooler and now I had two bowls of half-eaten oatmeal that had dried to a cement-like consistency), the doorbell rang.



Of course.



I ran to open it, and standing before me was some guy from the Water Department. I must have looked really confused because he reminded me that I had scheduled this appointment weeks before - because we needed a new water meter? I didn't remember making this appointment - in fact, I had no idea whether we had a water meter or not - so he could have been one of those homicidal maniacs for all I know. I was about to tell him to wait outside so I could check my calendar, but then I heard the clang of the baby's bowl as he threw it across the kitchen and I just let him in and pointed him in the general direction of the basement.



As I got on my hands and knees to pick up apple juice soaked Kix from the kitchen floor I started to get really mad at myself for not having my act together - it probably didn't help that at that moment my baby was screaming his head off because he was still strapped on the high chair, that my laptop's screen had gone dark because the battery had run out and probably eaten up the email I had spent 45 minutes trying to compose; the fact that I had let a stranger in the house was really just the icing on the cake.



That's when I realized that things were Not Working and the solution was clear: I need to Focus.



Focus. That sounds so perfectly simple! But it's easier said than done.



This is going to sound ridiculous, but I've been living in denial: I have young children. You know that shampoo commercial that says, "everything changes when you have a baby?" They don't only mean what car you drive and your clothing size. No. They mean EVERYTHING.



I try to do twenty things at once because I used to be able to multitask, but that was once upon that mythical time before I had kids. Nowadays I have two little ninjas ready to pounce whenever my attention is diverted. I simply can't juggle a social phone call, work email and dinner - at least not while the toddler is literally hanging off the kitchen table (don't ask) and the preschooler is "coloring" the hardwood floors.



Instead, I have to do one thing at a time. One. The phone calls need to happen while the kids are napping or at school. The work email needs to be taken care of after the kid's bedtime. Dinner has to be on the table by 5:30 - which means that the kids are getting something simple or whatever we've prepared the night before.



I've also realized that I need to sleep. I simply can't run on 6 hours of sleep - not anymore. This has been the hardest change of all. I don't know about you, but I feel like my REAL day starts once the kids go to bed - is that any way to live? Instead, I've been forcing myself to go to bed earlier and it's starting to make a big difference during the daylight hours; I'm starting to actually enjoy them. The first night I forced myself to get 10 hours of sleep (that meant a 9:00 bedtime for me, which is a HUGE sacrifice because I normally turn off the lights at midnight) and the next day I felt like I could do anything. I hadn't felt like that in a long time. It felt good.



So that's it - my plan: Get to bed early, and when awake - to focus on one thing at a time.



Simple, but it's all I can handle right now.