One of the most difficult things about having a kid is that you never get to finish anything—your thought, your sentence or your cup of coffee.
To say that this frustrates me would be an understatement. One of my greatest joys in life is checking things off my “list.” I love finishing the laundry, getting the bills paid or even putting on my makeup. As you well know, these task look quite different when you become a mom.
It used to make me angry when I got interrupted– and often still does. However, I’ve come to realize something important:
The interruptions are not going to stop anytime soon.
This means I have two options: be angry and annoyed all of the time OR adapt and change. I’ve chosen the latter.
Here are 5 Ways to Cope with Interruptions:
1.Prepare your mind to be attentive before starting each day.
The truth is, our kids need us– our time and our attention. Sometimes I wish this need wasn’t so intense, but it is! There’s no greater gift you can give your child than to stop what you are doing and pay attention to them. Take a deep breath each morning and remind yourself that listening is vital to your relationship with your kid.
2. Plan for interruptions.
Pre-kid, I used to expect completion when I began a task. Now, I’ve learned to plan activities around the expectation of being interrupted.
Let me give you an example. When I started writing this post, I was fully aware I only had a three-minute window, before snack time was over. So, instead of getting out my laptop to write my thoughts, I began dictating on my iPhone. While writing this very post, my daughter and I have eaten a snack, played in the backyard, examined rocks and explored the front porch! Because I was dictating, I was able to write and stop whenever my daughter needed my attention.
Had I sat down with my computer expecting peace and quiet, I would’ve been sorely disappointed. Instead I planned for the interruption, made changes accordingly and got this post out of it! 🙂
3. Set boundaries with your kid(s).
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to do this. Even as I dictate this, my daughter is yanking on my hands and asking me to come look at the bird feeder. At this age, expecting my daughter to wait for more than about a minute is simply unrealistic. However, with each passing month, I’m able to teach her to practice waiting just a little longer for things, which allows for small windows in my day to accomplish necessary tasks.
4. Make use of ‘you’ time.
The only times in the day that you will get uninterrupted time is before your kids wake up, nap time and after bedtime. Don’t waste these precious moments of extended silence and concentration with frivolous tasks. Instead, use the time for thought or learning. Save the other things– emptying the dishwasher, sorting the laundry, etc. for when your child is awake! (And make them help!)
5. Set reasonable time expectations.
Expecting a toddler or kid to ‘hurry’ and get to the car quickly is often unreasonable. Part of expecting interruptions means leaving a buffer in your time estimates, according to your kid(s)’ age and personality. Doing this will make you more able to be patient when the inevitable interruptions and roadblocks pop up.
None of this is easy; it’s a work in progress for me, for sure! I’m curious to hear your thoughts and struggles on this topic. Make sure to share in the comments below! 🙂
P.S. I also like this idea from Joanna Goddard’s blog. Check it out!