The Refined Skill of Multi-Tasking With The Kids
By: Shannon Ralph
Like most people out there—with the exception of those born with congenital defects, those who fell victim to illness or accident, and Cyclopes (that’s the plural of Cyclops…I looked it up)—I was born with two eyes. Mine are green. I like them. I think they are keepers. Whatever color it happens to be, the human eye is an amazing machine. In most circumstances, my two green eyes are quite sufficient for any and every purpose I can imagine. With two eyes, I can watch television and peruse Pinterest at the same time. With two eyes, I can update my Facebook status while skillfully shoveling potato chips in my mouth, rarely losing even a crumb. With two eyes, I can write this blog while keeping an eye out for the mailman bringing my latest package from Zappos. All in all, I have been fairly adept most of my life at multi-tasking with my two eyes.
Lately, however, two eyes are proving themselves insufficient. It’s a simple matter of mathematics really. I have two eyes and three children. Despite my best intentions—despite my best efforts to give them each my undivided visual attention—I find myself falling short.
“Momma, watch this!” “Momma, look at me!” Momma, look what I can do!” “Momma, are you watching?” There is a limit to the watching one parent can do. By the 45th failed attempt at a handstand, my eyes begin to glaze over and I find my gaze swerving away from my adorable child and toward the clock. Or the television. Or my cell phone. Or the refrigerator. Or the bathroom. Or the steak knife lying on the kitchen counter. Perhaps impaling myself on a steak knife would end the misery once and for all?
I try. Really, I do. I try my best to give my children the attention they deserve. The attention their little psyches crave. But I am weak. And they are relentless. I simply do not possess the stamina to “watch” them for a minute longer than is absolutely required. I can’t do a moment longer than I am legally and morally bound to do as one of their primary care-givers. They know I am an inadequate parent, but it does not stop them. They keep coming. If I am being perfectly honest, I don’t care how high they can jump. I don’t give a rip how long they can stand on one foot. I don’t care in the least how long they can dangle limply from a monkey bar. Of course, I feign interest with my children as all good parents should. But I can be honest here. Most of what they ask me to watch on any given day is tedious enough to put this mom into a glassy-eyed coma. When the day comes that my children say, “Momma, watch me order you a pair of shoes online for 50% off the regular price” or “Momma, watch me vacuum the entire house while you lounge on the couch sipping the margarita I just made you” then they may have my undivided attention. Until then, I will fake it. I will continue to watch my three children with my two eyes.
Just another mom performing a feat of mathematical genius.