When I do have time at home with my kids, I have to struggle to stay focused.
That is not to say that I don’t love them, or that I don’t want to be around them. I do! But my brain has a hard time slowing down to their pace. During the work day, I am trying to keep track of a smart phone and it’s texts, a regular phone, two email accounts, office IM, my EHR (Electronic Health Record) with it’s medical records and phone notes and flag systems, and a pager.
When at home, I find myself multitasking. Making sourdough bread and while it is rising, I am doing dishes and laundry and starting the slow cooker dinner. While that may seem like a kick-ass mom list of things to do, it is also punctuated by logging onto the EHR from my laptop so I can check on lab results or phone messages, checking email, and scanning news reports on the several apps I keep on my phone.
Meanwhile, my kids are popping up in between pretending to be pirates and princesses to ask me to hold them or to read a book. Invariably it is in the middle of one of these tasks and I always say, “Just a minute! As soon as I finish this…” But I am quickly distracted by something else until they show up again.
Sometimes I say “screw it!” and drop everything and we sit in the floor and cuddle. But more often than not I am repeating my “Just a minute!” mantra.
Before you judge me too harshly, it occurred to me as I was engaged in my own self flagellation, that women in the past did not have as much “leisure” time as we modern women do. Stay with me. I would not have had a career. Instead I would have been washing the family clothes by hand, cooking three meals a day from scratch, cleaning the floors on my hands and knees, sewing clothes, knitting or darning socks. The list goes on. Some of the greatest minds in history came from homes like this. If I were lucky enough to have married money, I would have had servants to do much of this and a nanny to raise the children while I was engaged instead in moving in the social circles. I would have had 6-8 children on average and what little time I had would be divided among them.
So, I take pride in the fact that my kids do get some fun time with mom and that they have a roof over their heads and clean clothes and nutritious food to eat (even if they are not huge fans of the Brussel sprouts).