Many a parent are proficient in this skill and i’m not about to single out just the female sex on this front although daddybear in our house may need to practice this skill a little more to meet mummagrizzlybear’s standards for multi-tasking.
To begin with, multi-tasking (efficiently), first requires us to look after ourselves.
A typical day for mummagrizzlybear combines parenting two demanding babybears with very different needs (something I plan to devote an entire blog to in it’s own right), playing breakfast chef and chief lunch maker whilst tending to the doggy & dishing out suitable daddybear attention prior to him heading out for his long day at work all whilst remembering to frantically grab the ‘work’ essentials to see me through my day supporting my client caseload and delivering emotionally uplifting support groups. During this time of course I’ll receive the odd email and calls here and there that should not be given my attention during work hours but instead consume my breaks. Today’s were from the Autism support team, A Young carers support worker and the medical Secretary to my littlest man’s psychiatrist.
In amongst my work day I’ve recalled that I’ve still not managed to squeeze in the birthday shopping required to let a bestest pal know that I love her for her unwavering support she offers…doh… bday is tomorrow… queue a plan to ensure suitable present is purchased prior to school runs (work admin can wait til the kids are tucked up tonight – cos I’ve nothing else to do with my ‘free’ time honest!) Then once home with the babybears I squeeze in a quick friendly cuppa and catch up (literally just half hour) to ensure taking care of personal well-being is ticked off the to-do list. Then it’s a mad dash to the swim lessons amidst resolving sibling conflicts, an injured biggerbruv (who trapped his fingers in the wardrobe he was hiding in), managing the ‘I can’t leave the house PDA meltdown’ and quickly and rather unlovingly overcoming the ‘mummy I had an accident in my pants’ moment as we headed out the door! So I’ve made it. I now have a full 30 minutes where technically the kids are out of my hands and in the pool. I frantically send umpteen ‘work’ messages that I could have/should have sent earlier in the day. I’m plagued with guilty reminders that there are also various friends, relatives and companions who are neglected of my reply to their messages in recent weeks! I’m contemplating dinner that I haven’t prepared and toying with the idea of bringing back ‘iPad time’ on a week day just to ensure that I can prepare the evenings meal whilst the sprogs are entertained/babysat by a screen. Bugger. They’re lesson is over and I haven’t finished blogging. Crap….
…4 hours later…
Babybears tucked up *asleep* …check… all admin/work/adult responsibilities attended to…check… ok, blog time resumes.
My point, if I remember correctly was to somehow explore (rant over) the multi-tasking capabilities of parents with children with additional needs. I’m certain most parents feel pressure but I’m silently convinced that medals should be dished out to those SEN parents managing to make their lives look as though they are not just in order but also that they can fit in being a huge array of different roles to different people, from mumma to professional to nurse to cook to confidante to parent support and the list goes on. Not only this they are timetabling gurus capable of taking any given week and squeezing in another appointment or meeting (with a professional or service they’ve no doubt waited for months to become involved and offer help) whilst at the same time navigating all pick ups and drop offs accordingly (abandonment of sprogs is frowned upon even more so if child has additional needs) and convincing employers that they are still meeting all contractual obligations whilst not forgetting to be a frickin awesome life partner, friend and home-maker amongst other titles. Mummagrizzlybears’ calendars are marked by those appointments that you simply cannot turn down but quite frankly are not certain you can fit in. It is an art. It’s certainly a skill and it’s not for the faint hearted. If you are on a journey that has inevitably linked you in with ‘services’ and if you have been that parent ‘asking for help’ then my goodness you better be available when the help starts being offered. And then you must be available once more to chase up the ‘help’ you were offered, because it does not just keep to it’s word and deliver. And then you must be available to research and fight for what’s right because although ‘help’ is out there if they can move people on from their caseload they will. And then you must be available for the unexpected. And then you must be available for the unplanned. And then you must be available to be tired. To be ill. To be stretched too thin. To have time to recuperate. To take time to repair. To find time to adjust…
… To look after ourselves…
Each new day, regardless of how many thankless tasks face you, must start and end with looking after OURSELVES.
We cannot pour from an empty jug and each of us would be quick enough to find a charger if the battery were about to die.
Recharge. Multi-tasking eats up your battery. You cannot recharge without first plugging yourself in. Talking about recharging will not being the phone back to full-battery. Planning to ‘charge up later’ means that you cannot be connected with until you have recharged. Avoiding recharging further incapacitates you and those who rely upon you.
Recharge. Look after you.
☆ 3 positives ☆
1) I set myself targets today that I have stuck to and ticked off
2) planning/ calendars/ appointments/ work schedule all in order with a couple of gaps for the ‘unexpected’
3) recharging activities prepared for after blog time