As a mom, it’s pretty easy to get distracted by many things. Just when you get ready to focus on one child’s bath, another child runs into the door and needs an ice pack, bandage, and most importantly, a hug. When you’re in the middle of helping solve a math question, the macaroni and cheese boils over. When you had the next hour strategically planned in order to mark off those three tasks before the kids get home, the phone rings. I’m sure you have plenty of ways to finish the sentence, “I would have gotten that done today, but…”
The dog threw up on the carpet.
I spilled a whole pitcher of juice on the floor, and it ran under every appliance.
My child got sick.
My washing machine broke.
I just couldn’t handle it!
Distractions can range from social media to a beautiful day outside that you don’t want to miss. Not every distraction is bad. Sometimes it pulls your attention away to something that really matters, something that reminds you of what’s important. Being mombarded by distractions can be overwhelming and frustrating, but it can also be refreshing and humbling.
So, how can you filter distractions in a way that is helpful and not consuming? How can you notice what’s around you without getting stuck on any one thing?
There’s not an easy answer. Some will advise you to “go with the flow” and “take life as it comes.” That works…sometimes. The time I stopped everything to help my daughter rescue “Roo” from the inside of a demolished wall in our house-under-renovation or to watch the play(s) my daughters had practiced for hours are among my favorite memories. But if I never had any structure, I wouldn’t get much done, nor would I have set a good example for them to realize they don’t set the world’s schedule.
Others will say you always need a plan: “Just get organized and stick with it.” That works, too…sometimes. I’m a planner, so having things color-coded is relaxing to me. But the plan doesn’t always work out. That’s a good thing! Surprises are sometimes pleasant! Instead of thinking of interruptions as catastrophic, consider them as an invitation to pause and reconsider what opportunities you have.
Be flexible…and structured.
When you notice some of the most consistent and disruptive distractions, you might need to address the patterns to minimize the interruptions. (That’s not always going to be possible, since your kids might actually be the most consistently disruptive distractions you have!). But don’t try to minimize them too much. Don’t throw them all in the “unwanted” category. Deal with them with discernment and wisdom. You might find some distractions quite useful.