As I nurse my tiny cub in my arms, his content breathing is lost in the sound of one-handed typing. I am a modern mother. While I hold my baby, I facebook, type, pin things and connect with people in my social network.
A buzz sounds through the house, letting me know it is time to switch loads. I do it automatically, baby still in my arms. It is difficult keeping my son asleep while I empty the dryer and fill it with cold damp clothes. Filling the washer is easier and I am able to do it while I compose a post in my mind.
I am caught up in my thoughts that I don’t hear the sound of dishwasher, still working hard to do the chore that used to fill my childhood heart with dread. This is what multi-tasking is all about. Being so effective surely must enrich my life in ways that my mothers never could. . . Or does it?
A sweet coo breaks me from my typing, distracted I look down. Baby bear is a awake and is his face splits into a grin as soon as our eyes meet. My heart melts, I wonder how long he has been awake. I can’t resist playing with him for a minute, but then I am am tugged back to paying bills, preparing talks and other important things. Baby Bear wiggles and giggles as my long hair brushes his cheek.
I am feeling a bit anxious, hoping he won’t start crying, making it impossible for me to finish my work, when the phrase “Good, Better, Best” pops into my mind. Suddenly everything stops and it is as if all my attention is zoomed into this one moment. If all were to end today, what would have mattered most? That I did my laundry, or that I took time to enjoy this special time with my baby? Yes laundry is good, so is bill paying, and washing dishes, but what is the “best’ thing I could do? And I am doing it in the “best” way. Yes I am holding my baby. He obviously feels loved and attached to me, that is evident in the way his face lights up when we make eye contact-and how he waits for that eye-contact. But am I feeling loving and attached to my baby, as I type, do chores and multi-task with him in my arms? To be honest, I have not noticed that he was even in my arms except for the inconvenience of typing one handed. It kind of reminds me of day cares that have video cameras set up so that their parents can check in on them during the day and stay connected. This is great for the parent, they can see their child during the day, think how cute he is as he slides down the slide, or learns a new finger play. I wonder how great this is for the child. Do they know their parents are watching them? When they stub their toe, do they get comfort talking to the video camera?
A few articles comes to mind about the ‘Dangers of Multi-tasking” and so does the following advice from Lord Chesterfield: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.” Some else also pointed out that multi-tasking is the ability to do more than one thing poorly. This is definitely true in my case. My one handed typing is long and tedious, and my one armed baby snuggle is uncomfortable and unsatisfying. Realizing that Lord Chesterfield was right when he said “This steady and undissipated attention to one object, is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry, bustle, and agitation, are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind.” I stop typing. I move to the couch and soak in the glorious moments I have with my baby undisturbed. He laughs, giggles, and plays with me. I fall-in-love with him all over again. Yes there is time in the day to do all things, and right now it is time to be a mindful mother. Multi-