Gin & Zin

How to Focus: Update

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At the beginning of the year I picked a word. A word that would be the word of the year. I wanted more FOCUS. I picked something I NEEDED to work on. BADLY.

My original post on this topic can be read Here. If you didn’t click on that link, I wanted to improve my ability to focus. In general. I can honestly say it is going fairly well. I still have times where I am almost frozen in time where I am looking around the home and just. can’t. do. anything.

Is it the constant interruption? Because kids do legitimately need things. Often. Is it that there is just too much on my plate? Nah, I do like me a full plate in more ways than one! Well, what could I change? What was I willing to bend in order to obtain more c l a r i t y?

My recent theory is that the inability (or struggle!) to focus stems from the frequent disruption of a thought process or task. I am blaming my adorable children. It is their nature. I don’t blame them completely. But I am blaming them mostly. But I am also accountable. I will admit.

I have, over the last few months, changed a few things to support the development of my ability to focus. The win win is that it also supports my kiddo’s independence. I was raised in a very polite family where the women were/are jumpers if you need something. For example, if you need a tissue, they can spring forth from their chair and produce one for you, before you even know what is happening. This can be amazing but also very exhausting for them!

Well it turns out I had some springs under my feet and my kids had adapted to that. UGH! It got to a point where they would speak their current state of hunger or thirst and then become a statue in the house. Literally “I’m hungry for…” and then not move a single muscle. I am all for sustainability. And this was not sustainable for me, nor did it support my quest for clarity. I had to train them to come to the kitchen, or come find me. This was a weird and odd process to change both my behavior and my children’s at the same time. And then it finally sunk in. Mama isn’t going to wait on you.

They now know (most of the time!) to find me. They know that they DO NOT hug a tree in this situation. DO NOT become a statue. Please become a hunter/gatherer, children. Please. Forage, find something to eat. But come find me first. I will not come find you. I wish I would have known to train them this way sooner! Because kids are so very hungry. If you haven’t started feeding mobile children please think of the food culture in your home, as well as your (potentially) springy feet, that may or may not quickly move from your task at hand and zero in on the hungry and helpless statue. Don’t do it! (For the record I wasn’t waiting on them hand and foot, but obviously my uber responsive behavior wasn’t giving them any other message! Agh, retrospect…)

We’ve also bridged the gap age wise where Owen (almost 6) can do pretty much any house hold chore. They both help unload the dishwasher regularly (that I have been attempting to unload all day). We have lost a few dishes in the process but no one has needed stiches, so I call that a WIN!

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Owen has also started doing his own laundry. It is pretty amazeballs. There is no reason why a 2 year old cannot sort their laundry and place it in drawers. If you want it folded then that’s your problem.

Both kids take their plates over after every meal. They have been doing this one for a long time. I’m surprised at how many other parents are not okay with watching my daughter walk through the kitchen after she’s eaten most of her plate. Even on a plastic plate! I think many are worried about the floor getting messy. The risk of the food dropped on the floor is more worth it to me than me (or another) waiting on her. She can do it.

These little yet not so little things make a BIG difference in the flow of our home and my day. Why shouldn’t he be doing his own laundry?! Why can’t she carry the plate over to the sink? These are little things that help form their independence and support a (little) more sane mother.

I still struggle with focusing on a task from start to finish. Lists help. Turning my phone off helps. Sorting and washing laundry per each person (versus colors) has also been a major help. The whole clean basket goes into the respective room. It may stay there but it is at least there! I feel like I have improved my single tasking as possible, and that focus is also a state of mind. A busy mind is a good thing as long as it is a present mind. And that really is the trick to focus~ being present. So here’s to more months (years!) of practicing this skill set, and being present.

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