The Myth Of Multitasking

Ever feel as your mind is cluttered and if you add one more thing on your spinning plate, you’ll lose it? 

Do you constantly think about what you have to do next instead of what you are doing right now?

Do you unload the dishwasher while talking on the phone and planning out your week’s menu?

Does thinking about everything you need to do in your day fill you with dread?

The truth is, women are great multitaskers. It’s true. We can hold the baby, cook dinner and fold laundry with our eyes closed. With today’s fast paced life, we have bought the lie that we need to be productive all the time. So, we multitask more. The problem is, it’s killing us. Literally.

Women’s body’s respond differently to stress than men’s. In today’s world, women can have it all, but that means we have to manage it all. If we don’t, we can respond to stress in a variety of ways. It effects our emotional, physical and spiritual well being. We can have symptoms such as:

  • Skin issues- itchy rashes, breakouts and/or hives
  • Sleep problems- insomnia, racing thoughts at night
  • Emotional issues, irritability, anger, blue moods
  • Stomach ailments (stress can make you reach for junk foods)
  • Headaches

This is the short list. Stress attacks our immune system and leaves us wondering why we feel sick all the time.

Dr Debra Villar says in her book, Urban Women’s Syndrome, our modern rushed lifestyles are contributing to chronic lifestyle disorders such as auto-immune diseases, infertility, stress and hormonal imbalances.

Today’s societal pressures contribute to the multitasking myth. We women believe we must be productive all the time, but often let the culture determine what we should spend our time doing. We often feel guilty if we don’t:

  • Have a perfectly clean HGTV house ALL the time
  • Have our nails, make-up and hair done
  • Have our children dressed as if they are in a photo shoot
  • Have organic meals served every day
  • Have thin, toned bodies even shortly after giving birth to a child
  • Have our calendars full of good things such as church events and charity work

These are just a few of the things that cause stress in a women’s life so we multitask our butts off to get them all back in order. But, at what cost? Why doesn’t our to-do list include hanging out in the hammocks with our kiddos? Reading a good book? Going out for coffee with our besties and just talking for an hour about nothing.

It's #NewKicks Friday!

The book The 4 Disciplines of Execution states it well:

“Improving our ability to multitask actually hampers our ability to think deeply and creatively… the more you multitask the less deliberative our become: the less you are able to think.”

“Just because we women can do everything doesn’t mean we should. Trying to do everything all at the same time usually leaves us with stuff strewn all over the kitchen, a baby crying in one ear, a friend chattering over the phone in the other, and a pot boiling over. Doesn’t sound like fun to me.”- Kelly Balarie, Battle Ready

While we women can’t avoid multitasking altogether, we can begin to practice the discipline of focusing on one thing. It is a discipline and it takes some practice. You can start the practice today! It’s not too difficult and the benefits are health and life.

Try this today, while you are doing whatever you do, meditate on it. Think about it. Proverbs 4 speaks of meditating on the word because it is life to all who find it and health to all of your flesh. Why not apply this principle to your life? Think about what you are doing while you are doing it. Instead of thinking about what is for dinner while you are reading aloud to your child, think about what you are reading. Look at her face, feel the softness of her hair, read the story with every ounce of your being. While you are in your exercise class, instead of thinking about the drive home and the tasks awaiting you, think about your muscles. Think about what great things you are doing for your health. Focus on the moment.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, – Ecclesiastes 9: 10a

The verse doesn’t say, find lots of things to do and do them with all of your might. Just do the thing in front of you, one thing at a time. It’s unrealistic to think we can give up multitasking all together, but let’s make an effort to focus on one thing today!

When Your Child Leaves the Nest…

I cried myself to sleep every night after my oldest daughter graduated and went to college. Then I had  a brief respite of four years before five kids graduated in a row.

My friend Lori is going through her eldest graduating this year and it has been an emotional roller coaster for her as well.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was like this?” she asked me.

I told her I hadn’t recovered from the trauma of it myself.

No one ever tells you that part. We go through seasons of just wishing this part was over when the sleepless nights drag on and on. We Moms wish the kiddos would get to the next stage, whether that is walking, talking or just plain growing up.

And then it happens. Senior year rolls around. It flies by. The independence has already heightened by this point. Part time jobs. Volunteering at the soup kitchen, babysitting, being a camp counselor. We’re so proud. We pat them on the back and say, “Great job!” So many accolades the last few years of school. Then senior pictures roll around and we Moms feel as if we have been sucker punched in the gut.

It’s almost as if we want to call it back, “I didn’t mean it! I didn’t really want you to grow up!”

But it’s too late. They are looking ahead to the future with stars in their eyes and we are looking back with tears in ours.

There are all these spiritual mantras about shooting your arrows into the world. When you train a child up in the way he should you, you shouldn’t be afraid to let them go. All of these are true. But, let’s talk about our emotions. Those are real. They don’t just disappear when someone preaches some platitudes.

Three things I want Moms to remember about your kids growing up:

 

  1. We worked all these years to attach. Detachment is a hard job. We have to detach in a healthy- go make some decisions kind of way without being a helicopter parent. That’s hard. Like REALLY hard. And even if our child seems as if he isn’t making the decision we want him to, we need to let him decide (I’m talking about selecting majors or getting jobs, not illegal stuff).
  2. It’s okay to mourn. When our kids leave home, we go through a grieving process. We need to. If you don’t cry, you can’t move on to the joy that comes in the morning. Lori-It’s as if sadness and crying is looked at as a weakness or a problem to fix. If you’re not a crier, find another way to grieve. There’s a time to mourn and a time to cry…that’s where I am.  I know there will be a time to dance. But you have to let all those times happen….not squash them.

Don’t skip the crying just because it’s hard..png

Don’t skip the crying because it’s hard…work through it and realize it’s only a season.  Then the dance will be so much sweeter

  1. Find friends who have gone through what you are going through. Cling to them. Ask them questions. Don’t try to bear the burden alone. There is wisdom in many counselors. Find some people you consider wise and pick their brains.

When it’s time for your kids to start adulting, prepare for the emotional roller coaster. You’ll be happy and sad at the same time. As Lori said on the podcast this week, when she realized that she was graduating her son, “I did it!!!! OH, WAIT, I did it.”

We Moms spend years attaching, teaching life skills, helping our kids learn how to read, how to fill out an application for a part time job, keeping them safe and the list goes on. We teach them to be independent. Suddenly, they are. They want to make choices without us. We rejoice over this, but with it comes a feeling of being left behind. It’s okay. Perfectly normal. Grieve. It’s okay. It’s just a stage in the journey. That same son/daughter who doesn’t want your opinion on a major will be calling you next week to ask you how to make mashed potatoes. True story. Hang in there Moms. it gets easier. It gets different, but easier. Before you know it, your son or daughter will be coming to you as a friend, a companion. There is a season for everything. This is just one of those seasons.

 

 

 

 

The Superpowers of Motherhood

Moms, did you know you have superpowers? Maybe you don’t feel like it today. We understand. Here’s some good news. Moms do have superpowers. One of them is the power of your powers is influence.

Influence is “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others,” according to www.dictionary.com

Moms have superpowers

Today, a congregation of women scream, “WE WANT POWER,” a cry of a hurting world.  Movies portray the powerful in the role of savior or destroyer. Super heroes rescue. Hobbits triumph over evil, hurling it back into the depth of the pit whence it came. Evil overlords pronounce supreme rulership over the world and wield destruction as their weapon.

And yet…it is the woman— the wife and mother— who wields the power of influence. She is that quiet warrior behind closed doors who scrubs bacteria from toilets, tucks wiggly bodies into beds, makes peanut butter sandwiches and judges Lego building contests.  She covers the words of the Lord with sticky-tabs and prays in the gray dawn for her husband, her children, and those sick in the church body, noticing those hurting souls. She makes the house feel like a home whether it is a trailer, an orphanage sick room, a suburban house, or a mansion in a gated community. She plants flowers, reminding the family that beauty exists when the money’s too tight to travel to a museum. She has water fights with teens in the backyard when the move to a new city just isn’t working out. She laughs at a child’s first attempt at a joke.

The mother holds the “flagon with the dragon, the chalice with the palace, the cup of poison” (The Court Jester, with Danny Kaye). She can share the poisoned cup and live in a negative environment, full of negativity and strife. She also holds the honey-flavored drink of kindness that she can dispense regularly for a sweet environment. It is up to her which one she drinks and shares from and which she throws out.

Our culture tends to look at the work of a mother with disdain and pity. She is viewed as powerless. The common belief is that mother must leave the home for a full time career to influence the world. But C. S. Lewis, in one of his collected letters, wrote, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only—and that is to support that career.”

Oh, she is powerful enough to turn the earth on its axis! Night can quickly become day, or vice versa, under her influence. The power I lacked in the orphanage was authority over medical issues and freedom of transportation. I was not powerless. In spending time with them, interacting, playing, I was answering the question, “Is life good?” My children needed a “Yes!”  answer. They needed to know there was more to life— a different life— than the neglect and mere survival they had experienced. (excerpt from A Positive Adoption Story: The Door from Theology to Reality)

Listen to this week’s The Whole House Podcast for more about the Superpowers of Motherhood! Subscribe on iTunes here.

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Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Many years ago, when I was pregnant with child number three, a very put together, organized friend came over and helped me get my home in order. I practically worshiped her. Her home was clean. ALL the time. And beautifully decorated. And she knew where her car keys were, all the time.

Confession: I used to be terribly unorganized. I knew I had organization in me…somewhere. I just didn’t know how to get it out. I didn’t know the simple truth I am sharing with you today….

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for unorganized People

I used to think that people who were super organized were born that way. Some are. Some aren’t. I thought I was organized when I just had to take care of ME. Then I went to college, met Mr. Right. Got married. Three kids later and I was drowning in unorganized chaos. You wouldn’t know it to look at me or my house. I seemed to keep the dishes washed most days. And I washed clothes. It was just those days when I couldn’t find this or that or I didn’t know whether I should mop the floor or go through the bedrooms. Not to mention, I felt the need to train my children to take care of their things and learn some responsibility.

I needed a tool to help me. I needed a schedule.

Some gals I know are afraid to use schedules. They are afraid they might mess up. And they will. I do. Some schedules need tweaking. Some schedules get set aside for a day or two. But, they are still great tools.  A farmer doesn’t throw his hoe away if he accidentally hits himself on the toe one day. Or if he doesn’t use it for three days. No, he picks that thing up and uses it again.

A schedule is a tool that I am in charge of. I choose it. I use it. I tweak it. If it works for me, I work it. If it doesn’t, I scrap it.

We gals don’t like people telling us we need to get organized. So, I’m not telling you. Here are some things to consider….. If you cannot find your car keys, your kids don’t have any clean underwear and you eat cereal for dinner several nights a week, those things tell you. I’m not going to tell you what kind of schedule to use. I don’t know what will work for you. I will tell you a schedule won’t work for you if you don’t use one. If you feel unorganized today, you will feel that way tomorrow unless you change your habits. It’s totally up to you.

This article was birthed out of a conversation with my eldest, daughter- Audrey, who commented that several friends had said that schedules didn’t work for them and then promptly threw them out. No, schedules don’t work for you. They are a tool, like the hoe. You pick it up and use it. With your help, your muscles, it tills the soil. It does what is needed by your power linked to the design of the tool.

When you have the proper tool, you can be productive. You can be more in control of what happens on a daily basis instead of feeling out of control. That means you can schedule some time for your passion. That’s what the tool of a schedule does. It frees you. It frees you to do whatever your God-sized dream is. If frees you from fretting about whether you should do the dishes or write for half an hour. Read a book to your child or clean out the garage. You decide. Dust the house and make cookies. Up to you. Instead of having lists and lists of things running through your head of what you should be doing. You know. The guilt list. I should Clorox the sink. I should sweep out the garage. I should write. I should suck up all the cobwebs in the corners. Schedule it. Use the tool. Decide ahead of time. Those cobwebs bothering you today? Tell them- You are scheduled for termination tomorrow. Enjoy your last day hanging around.  Take the powerful tool of scheduling and use it for you. Not for me. For you.

  Let’s together test the power of the schedule tool by trying one out.I know you can do it! Pick up that schedule and use it. Schedule in your God sized dreams. Then share… what has worked for you? What hasn’t worked?

*This is an excerpt from our Mom Habits Course!

Forming Great Habits Doesn’t Mean We Work All the Time

 

Forming great habits doesn’t mean we work all the time.

I come from a family of hard workers. I married a hard worker. Problem is, with those sorts of great examples surrounding me:

  • I can sometimes feel as if I’ll never be enough.
  • My house won’t ever be clean enough.
  • I haven’t decorated my house enough.
  • I haven’t worked out enough.

It’s the Never Enough syndrome. Can you relate? Often we shun reading self-help materials because we feel like a failure as soon as we read the title. Things like:

 

  • Get Organized in Thirty Days
  • Be the Best You in Three Months
  • You’re a Loser, but We can Make You a Winner

 

I totally made those titles up. You get the point, right?

You don_t have to work all the time.

 

38 Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching. 40 But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.” 41 But the Lord replied to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.”- Luke 10: 38-42

 

Can you imagine, ladies. Jesus comes to your home in the flesh? I will confess there are many times when I have been the Martha, cleaning up and being distracted with serving instead of focusing on the guest or my family. Mary chose the good part. She chose to focus on Jesus. We can learn a few things from Mary. Take the time to listen to Jesus. Take the time to focus on your family instead of getting caught up in the service. You don’t have to work all the time.

*This is an excerpt from our Mom Habits Course.