Granted, my son’s request came during that lovely quiet, wind down ‘all/almost done’ time in the evening. You know, when dinner is almost ready, when the day’s emails are all answered, when all three boys are home and almost finished with homework. Oh, and almost about to practice piano without being asked. I hope you know I jest.
So why I was distracted I don’t know, but it could be that I was running through the upcoming events of the next day/weekend, with five M-beings going separate ways. One off to a sailing regatta, one off to two different sleepovers Friday and Saturday. Another child having a friend come to sleep over here. Two birthday parties to wrap gifts/have kids write cards for. Muffins for the Middle School bake sale for Japan. Wondering if I had any Dramamine for Saturday’s boat driving lessons that my husband had arranged. And three evening events – a cocktail party followed by a dinner party with another party the night after and the highly unlikely possibility of fitting in a much needed hair appointment between them.
I didn’t even try to look who was spending too much time on Facebook. Frankly, I didn’t even care.
Multi-tasking gets a deservedly bad rap, but most mothers don’t do it by choice. It’s mathematical. When you divide the hundreds of things that have to be done in an hour into the actual number of minutes available, the numbers don’t work out unless you can manage at least three at a time.
Would I have loved to concentrate solely on what my son was telling me? Yes, of course (depending on if it was interesting or not). No, I kid, I usually love listening to anything my boys have to tell me and that’s why family dinners are so important. But much as it pains me to admit, giving anyone my undivided attention is not always possible.
A friend who teaches at a wonderful school in the U.S. once told me that at the end of the day they accompany the children down to their parents’ cars. The school principal will not let the kids get into the car if the parent is on a cell phone. Her philosophy is that the child has been away from home all day, and deserves at least a few minutes of the parent’s focused attention in the time it takes to go home.
It sure sounds like a great idea…