Posts Tagged ‘Family Life’

Multitasking Burns Your Dinner

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

multitaskingAs I was cooking dinner one night, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the buzz of the dryer, because the load contained shirts that I didn’t want to wrinkle. Meanwhile my husband called and said he was going to be home late because of traffic. I hung up the phone, and my 11-year-old son started talking to me while I said, “Just a second. Rachel! Set the table please!” and I heard a “Yes, Mommy.” Meanwhile my son was talking, but I have no idea what he was saying because I heard the dryer buzz. I set down my spatula from the stir fry to go to the dryer. I quickly and efficiently folded all the shirts as fast as was humanly possible. My head felt thick as my son continued to jabber on and on. I still wasn’t listening to him because… oh, no! Dinner was burnt! I lifted the pan and turned off the burner, looking toward the dining room to make sure that my daughter had obeyed me about setting the table. She had. I set the pan down. I decided to serve the dinner burnt.

We have come to think of multitasking as being efficient with our time. Especially as mothers, we tend to be doing between three to five things all day long. We try to juggle to get everything done, but the truth is that we have forgotten to focus. And we have forgotten how to live in the moment. The saddest part of all this was that the only thing of eternal value in this scenario was my son’s open heart to me, wanting to share something with me. He is soon going to be a teenager, and if I don’t listen to him now, he won’t bother to tell me things in the future, the things that matter. Because what’s important enough for him to say to me, I ought to be able to listen to. But it seems like I don’t have time or brain space. My brain is juggling six things and can’t input more information without dropping something; in this case, burning dinner.

Actually, whenever I focus on only one thing, I get a lot more done. This includes being with people. When I am in my room, sitting on a chair, and my son wants to talk, I can focus great, and we have the most wonderful, deep spiritual conversations. Like the other day he was telling me how frustrated he was with his brother, who would over-react. This would infuriate him, but he had enough self-control not to show his anger. I told him he didn’t need to give in to the temptation to become angry; that God always provides a way out so that we don’t have to sin. “Look for the way out,” I said. We brainstormed ways to do this. Then we prayed that God would transform all of our hearts to help us to overcome sin. You see, I was paying attention to him because I wasn’t multitasking.

Being scatterbrained is no way to live. I was never scatterbrained until I became a mother, and I felt like there was no choice. But we do have a choice. We can choose to do laundry at the beginning of each day so that it doesn’t interfere with dinner. We can ask God how to eliminate action clutter, things that don’t matter that we happen to be doing. And we can learn to be present, to live and breathe, and to do one thing at a time.

Saturday: A Day in the Life

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

a-day-in-the-lifeThis morning my husband took the boys to the Men’s prayer breakfast. After breakfast, they all went on a factory tour of Goodrich, which apparently doesn’t sell tires any more; they make the brakes of large aircraft. The tour lasted an hour, and apparently it was fascinating.

As soon as I got up, I had my cup of coffee while posting a new YouTube video. I answered some e-mails and tried to find an archived e-mail that was important. I finally found it and answered it, since my husband had expressed interest in something I wasn’t willing to do again unless something changed. I prayed about it and sat there.

a-day-in-the-life-2Meanwhile Rachel and I were alone in the house. She asked if we could have a tea party, and I said yes. We made some fruit tea, and she poured it into thimble-small cups and stirred in a tiny spoon of sugar. She did this maybe a dozen times for each of us. “Can we have a truffle with it?” she asked. I set a truffle on each of our tiny plates, and we cut them with our tiny knives.

After tea, we did an art project with one of her Christmas presents. We mixed two different colors of paint and swooshed it onto a large piece of paper, with brushes that looked like mops. One of the three brushes broke, and I wasn’t impressed. She looked like she was about to cry, but I told her they were lame anyway, and let’s dance instead. So I put on some sappy Carpenters music, and we danced around and giggled.

After eating scrambled eggs, she went downstairs to play “Oregon Trail” on the computer. I spent some time in prayer and Bible reading. Apparently the entire Bible is full of commands to help the poor. It’s extremely clear, so I’m not exactly sure why I’ve never heard a sermon on it.

As soon as the boys got home, two of my sons started changing into their basketball uniforms. Then we all left to their basketball game. My youngest son scored his first basket today. He looked so short and little compared to the other players, and I burst out whooping when I saw him score, because I couldn’t believe my eyes.

My in-laws picked up donuts on the way to our house after the game, and we visited for a short time. As soon as they left, I yelled, “Everyone lie down for 45 minutes!” The house was suddenly quiet as we rested. I literally collapsed into bed and felt like a rock. I’ve been sick with a cold and was only pretending to be normal.

So What’s for Dinner?

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

whats-for-dinnerLast summer, while relaxing by the swimming pool, my husband asked me, “So what’s for dinner?”

I looked at him and said, “First, as soon as I get home, I am going to shove a piece of bread in my mouth so I don’t feel like fainting. Then I’m going to open the fridge and freezer. Then I will make some food. And then I will serve it to you.”

“Okay…” answered my husband.

“There are at least five meals that I can make in less than 30 minutes based on what is in the fridge,” I explained, naming the different meals he could choose from on my fingers.

“Or we can go out,” he said.

“That would be good, since I’m so hungry I feel like fainting. But don’t say I wasn’t prepared.”

We Don’t Need a Cart

Friday, January 13th, 2012


“We don’t need a cart,” I said to my kids as we walked into the grocery store. “We only need a few things, and we can carry them.”

On the way to the produce section, I saw bread. “Oh, yeah, we’re almost out of bread,” I thought aloud as I handed my daughter two loaves of bread. I walked over to the oranges and placed six oranges into one of those flimsy bags and handed it to one of my sons.

I quickly walked past several aisles, noticing that I could actually read the signs now that I have glasses. I turned the corner and grabbed dishwasher detergent and handed it to another son, along with dish soap.

By then the orange bag had exploded, and two oranges rolled across one aisle. A random woman scowled as she stepped around my oranges, and I told one empty-handed son to pick up the two oranges. I quickly turned around and continued shopping. I handed a large bag of toilet paper to my oldest son, who for some reason started to do a comedy routine, pretending like it was heavy and that he couldn’t see over the top of it. (He could.)

Walking quickly causes my children to “hop to” and follow me, because otherwise they will be left in the dust (and they don’t like being lost.) So they quietly jogged behind me as I walked at a fast clip. Did I say quietly? I meant noisily. And did I say that this was during a school day, where people knew that we were either playing hooky or homeschooling?

I didn’t think about how I was going to carry 6 yogurt containers that my husband wanted, back when I said, “We don’t need a cart.” I stacked them like one tall tower in one hand, using my chin to hold the top of the tower in place. “Oh, wait, we also need eggs,” I said, but all of my children’s hands were full, so I had to use my hand that wasn’t being used to hold the tower of yogurt. Just try checking whether the eggs are cracked with one hand next time you’re at the grocery store, and you’ll understand how it was. And imagine that hand has a crumpled list of groceries in it, a much shorter list than the assortment of items my children and I were now carrying.

“Okay, we’re done!” I said to the kids, walking quickly to the checkout before either the yogurt pillar or precarious eggs fell to a ruinous end.

“Mom, the breads are opening!” yelled my daughter in dismay as she showed me that both bread bags were partially opened, with the clip thing off them. I told her to calm down and follow me. We placed everything on the conveyor belt, and I gently shook the bread back into place and put the clip on it. The cashier looked at me in amazement, since she was trying to fix the other bread bag but couldn’t. I said, “Here,” and I took the bag and shook the bread back into place, replacing the clip. The cashier said nothing as I walked out of the grocery store with my children.