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s/o of 8's blog and Elizabeth Foss videos- Discipline in the home for parents


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8FillTheHeart's latest blog post and the Elizabeth Foss video @Ordinary Shoes so kindly pointed me to in another thread both hit me at a perfect time, as I have been struggling with regaining discipline in my home. Not discipline pertaining to my kids, but my OWN discipline. 

Since the pandemic changes really hit mid/late March, and the world went upside down, things have slowly unraveled and I have fallen into a laziness of habits that I frankly can't ever recall struggling with to this degree. Screen time in this house- mine and the kids- has crept and crept upward to a ridiculous level.

Initially, I gave myself and them a pass. "If we can't see people and go to activities, how else are we supposed to connect?" is what I told myself. Everyone needs some grace during all of this, I told myself. I don't think initially, that was untrue. But that it was in March. It is now AUGUST. 

I also have been dealing with a spouse suddenly at home much, much more than before, and I know many of you have this blessing and challenge as well. Business trips are gone and have been replaced with non-stop telecons and unpredictable days in the office. While having him home has been an exceptionally great positive for our family in this all, it has also contributed to the slide because it has changed the order of the household frankly. By order I mean all of my rituals, routines, habits- all of it. Gone. I am not sure why, but POOF. It's just thrown me for the biggest loop. I expected to finally settle in, but I think I've only slid more into the void of no structure. 

I need to reclaim my rituals, my routines, my structure and most importantly my discipline if we are to have a successful school year. I need to reclaim order of the physical and mental. I need to help kick non-productive screen time. I need to stop reading stupid things  on the internet that do not honestly impact my life or my family- abstract things that don't honestly matter to my life and my non-abstract family and neighbors who actually exist and aren't some theoretical thing I am dong what I do for.....  I also need to stop reading online things where people are frankly simply bitching to bitch, where they complain and deride about their fellow man and are honestly doing nothing to actually improve or uplift beyond criticize and revel in superiority. I think between those things it takes out most of the utility of the  internet presently, beyond some specifically educational things. 

So here I am.

I don't want to read a book about habits. I know how important they are and how they form. I just really need to get it together and be the catalyst to pull everyone else back into our habit trails and away from the screen. Having a great homeschool isn't about what I use. It's about ME and the tone i set and it's time to quit wallowing and waiting for things to change and I just need to do it. I am hoping by posting this I hold myself accountable. 

Is anyone else having the same struggle and what are your best things you do to snap yourself out of a non-disciplined state and hit the reset? 

I don't know what this thread really is beyond wondering if this is a common issue and maybe helping myself walk through how to correct my now horrible habits! 

PS- I know the irony of saying I need less screen time while posting on the internet is present. But writing this on a notebook isn't going to help me process it near as much as possibly talking it through with people with a similar struggle who actually homeschool, or are about to start homeschooling. 

 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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5 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I also have been dealing with a spouse suddenly at home much, much more than before, as I know many of you have this blessing and challenge as well.

This is truly my biggest struggle with discipline (or productivity.)

My issue isn't so much a spouse working from home.  First DH was home from work and he was just home, not working.  And now, he's back at home, recovering from surgery, though thankfully planning to go back in 10 more days.  

For me, the issue is........my DH isn't "disciplined" at home.  He's excellent at work.  But at home, he wakes up when he wants to wake up.  Eats what he wants to eat when he wants to eat it.  Lets his day fly by the seat of it's own pants.  I will ask him around like 10pm what his plans are for the next day and he kind of laughs.  He thinks it hilarious that I plan my day out so much and laughs it off because in reality he gets frustrated with my need to schedule.  What he doesn't realize (even though we have discussed it ELEVENTY BILLION TIMES) is that my home IS my work place.  I am a home maker and an educator.  Much like he needs a schedule for his work meetings and a time to punch in and a time to punch out.....I need those things in order to make this house function properly.  So when I ask him when he's planning to do laundry or what time he's planning to run to Cabelas, is so that I can actually plan around that stuff and make sure I don't have towels running or am trying to get the kids in the tub when he wants to do laundry, or that if he's going to be out, I know that we aren't going to the pool as a family, or that he's not planning to start the grill until later on, etc etc.  

I am pretty sure that what bugs him is making the plan, then missing the mark.  Like if he's planning to get up at 8, but ends up accidently sleeping in until 9:30, he already feels behind the 8 ball.  And I certainly do too, but I can regroup and recover and he struggles with that.  So he feels like if he doesn't make the plan, he can't screw up the plan.

SO.

Today is August 1st.  I have already informed the kids that the day DH goes back to work is the day we start school back, so August 10th.  That alone will help me reset.  Today, I am doing a "monthly food prep."  I am inspired by these videos but this is only the second month I have done this.  My goal in doing these is to a) get myself back into the mind set of getting this stuff done, not relying on convenience because I couldn't get myself going in time, etc and b) so that I have a supply of stuff ready to go in the freezer so I don't have to think about that stuff through the month.  So far today, I have made a jam in my bread machine, then reset and put in dough for bagels.  I have also cut melons, shredded cheese and frozen it, then portioned into 1cup containers, put dinner in the crock pot, put away the groceries that I didn't put away yesterday when I got home, separated grapes into serving containers, oh, and cleaned up the fridge a bit so that there was room for all that stuff.  And set the oven to do a clean cycle which I have been putting off forever but it clearly needed badly.......which of course threw off my plans lol

I won't lie, the other night, like Thursday night....I was actually up in the middle of the night worrying about this exact same stuff.  I ended up emptying and unloading the dishwasher at 2am, and pulling out some planners and making some lists and scheduling some things in.  

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I also wanted to add, one of the things I have let slide while DH is home is kids chores and their screen time restrictions.  DH won't take it upon himself to enforce any of that, so I am constantly either telling them to go do XYZ chore.......or telling DH to tell them, which seems redundantly silly to me.  But because he doesn't think about that sort of stuff, it would never occur to him to tell them himself.  

But come 8/10.....oh they are going to be VERY unhappy campers.

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I'm right there with you. One of the things I really appreciated in the first Elizabeth Foss video was her admission that when things went wrong in her homeschool, it was usually because she lacked discipline. That really hit home for me. 

Screens are a big problem here for all of us. One thing that has helped me recently was committing to Angelina Stafford's 2020 reading challenge. 

What I've tried to do lately is work on some little things. Years ago, I read a tip about keeping a clean house that I always remember. Commit to small things that you do every day. For me, it's keeping a clean countertop and de-cluttering the coffee table every day and keeping up with the laundry. I sometimes get myself in trouble when I come up with grandiose plans but then don't follow through with them. I'm probably not going to clean my baseboards every month. But I can de-clutter the countertop and coffee table every day. 

Consistent routines are hard in our house because I'm a working mother, trying to fit too much into one day. By necessity, I can't commit to doing the same thing at the same time every day. I know that's not ideal for our homeschool but there's no way around that now. 

We start school on Monday and I'm trying to come up with the "little things" that I know I can do on a daily basis to keep us moving forward. I think for me it will be committing to doing some prep work every weekend and (this one will be MUCH harder) sticking to our plans. I think distraction is one of my main faults. I see something new and want to try it. Maybe I need to come up with a rule for myself that I'm only allowed to buy one book a month on Amazon? 

 

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Hi my name is Another Lynn ("Hi Another Lynn") and I have a discipline problem.  

Another thing I lack which is supposedly, generally, a female strength is the ability to multi-task.  So I end up doing a lot of "waiting" because in my mind things have to happen in a particular order and I'm not very good at improvising when they don't.  

Anything else I could say on this subject would be self-incriminating, so I'll just say Yes, I struggle with all the same.  

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I was so glad when school ended and I am counting down the days for it to start again (Aug 17). We all have more discipline during our school year. I love the Angelina Stanford challenge, and have been unwittingly doing a version of that. I earn screen time (which I mainly spend here) by reading Shakespeare or some other classic work. My preference is non-fiction, so reading the classics is far outside my bend. I just finished Frankenstein. What helps with this is that I much prefer the feeling of accomplishment of having finally read something I know I ought. 

I also finally sat down and planned out the first 9 weeks of school. Knowing the plan and what I have to do to make it happen has helped get me back into things. I also let things slide in March, but this pandemic is more like an ice age than a blizzard, to paraphrase Andy Crouch. 

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I also have a OneNote file of what I need to accomplish in the next few months. Stuff like deep cleaning, reviewing/skimming/reading different books the kids are using for school, figuring out the schedule, etc. It is so nice to check things off. 

I am a naturally clean and tidy person, but we are doing a big clean next weekend to jumpstart the new school year. I am hoping that will clear some of the cobwebs out of our brains.

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I like the idea of me earning screen time! That's my biggest struggle. I have little bits of time here and there, but not enough time to really tackle a project. So I fritter 5 minutes on my phone, then it turns into a lot longer than I meant it to. Example:

Me: DD12, finish your spelling sentences and then when you're done I'll do writing with DD8.

*twiddles thumbs for 5 seconds, then picks up phone*

BAM! 20 minutes later I look up and both DD's are nowhere to be found and I've lost my groove.

If I could figure out what to do with those little bits of time I think we could stay on track a lot better.

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4 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

I like the idea of me earning screen time! That's my biggest struggle. I have little bits of time here and there, but not enough time to really tackle a project. So I fritter 5 minutes on my phone, then it turns into a lot longer than I meant it to. Example:

Me: DD12, finish your spelling sentences and then when you're done I'll do writing with DD8.

*twiddles thumbs for 5 seconds, then picks up phone*

BAM! 20 minutes later I look up and both DD's are nowhere to be found and I've lost my groove.

If I could figure out what to do with those little bits of time I think we could stay on track a lot better.

With full recognition that I am terrible at what I am about to suggest...

this is where little random chores come in.  

*un load the dish washer 

* fold a load of towels

*take trash to the curb 

*make easy phone calls ( not to settle insurance issues or chat but more like checking pharmacy hours, reschedule eye appt etc )

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1 hour ago, Momto6inIN said:

I like the idea of me earning screen time! That's my biggest struggle. I have little bits of time here and there, but not enough time to really tackle a project. So I fritter 5 minutes on my phone, then it turns into a lot longer than I meant it to. Example:

Me: DD12, finish your spelling sentences and then when you're done I'll do writing with DD8.

*twiddles thumbs for 5 seconds, then picks up phone*

BAM! 20 minutes later I look up and both DD's are nowhere to be found and I've lost my groove.

If I could figure out what to do with those little bits of time I think we could stay on track a lot better.

What about crochet/knit or embroidery...or some hand-mending?  Nothing electronic or reading. 

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I'm struggling with the fact that we are back in full swing tomorrow.  My 2 plus my grandkids.  We have been doing 3 1/2 days/week since the end of June.  I've been doing fine with that.  But, mentally I'm not ready for tomorrow.  I'm tired and feeling lazy.  It is definitely an "I don't wanna" self-pity attitude. Maybe I'll plan something special for tomorrow night as a reward (maybe pizza......we haven't had pizza in ages.)

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10 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

With full recognition that I am terrible at what I am about to suggest...

this is where little random chores come in.  

*un load the dish washer 

* fold a load of towels

*take trash to the curb 

*make easy phone calls ( not to settle insurance issues or chat but more like checking pharmacy hours, reschedule eye appt etc )

I do fold laundry sometimes. But my kids do all those other jobs (well, not the phone calls lol, but those aren't on my daily list). I should probably read a book to the toddler.

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8 hours ago, WendyAndMilo said:

What about crochet/knit or embroidery...or some hand-mending?  Nothing electronic or reading. 

I don't sew lol

But yes, reading does the same thing to me. Although it's better for my brain than electronics 😁

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Yeah, I’m a sloth, not just undisciplined. When things go well, I tend to relax/self sabotage and start loosening the reigns and then things fall apart. When things are chaotic, I just “let myself go” and revel in pity and escapist behaviors.

EFL talks a lot about little grains of sand that build a great pile. A Slob Comes Clean talks about doing certain tasks whether or not we see a need to do them. I need to really focus on doing the small, boring things and doing them well.

I deleted Facebook: thankfully 8 did not migrate over there permanently so my original reason for joining is moot. I am hoping that will help with screen time. I have tried the various focus apps: they don’t work, will power is still required.

Oh and like Another Lynn, the female multitasking gene skipped me. It is a relief to know that I am not the only one. I need to focus on one task and one child at a time and the thought of long days of work work work burns me out just thinking about it.

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I'm with you, OP. My homeschool and my routines went sideways when DH came home in March. And, yes, I routinely lose valuable chunks of time in my electronic devices. Argh.

My goal today, Sunday, is to make a plan for *myself* for August. I need to straighten out my teaching recertification, review & plan out the college classes I'll be teaching in the fall, sketch out the first 9 weeks of homeschool, and make sure that I've got all the materials/books I'll need for my 6th, 3rd, 1st, and preschooler this year. Plus, I need to revamp the daily schedule for my younger four, including chores. I need to get them doing more in the house so I can do less!

My days need to include time for exercise, reading, knitting or sewing, and online teaching work, in addition to homeschool and housekeeping/cooking stuff. It seems nearly impossible to get all that in a day. Maybe I can make a 'do-the-next-thing rotating block schedule' for myself? 🤣

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1 hour ago, mms said:

Yeah, I’m a sloth, not just undisciplined. When things go well, I tend to relax/self sabotage and start loosening the reigns and then things fall apart. When things are chaotic, I just “let myself go” and revel in pity and escapist behaviors.

EFL talks a lot about little grains of sand that build a great pile. A Slob Comes Clean talks about doing certain tasks whether or not we see a need to do them. I need to really focus on doing the small, boring things and doing them well.

I deleted Facebook: thankfully 8 did not migrate over there permanently so my original reason for joining is moot. I am hoping that will help with screen time. I have tried the various focus apps: they don’t work, will power is still required.

Oh and like Another Lynn, the female multitasking gene skipped me. It is a relief to know that I am not the only one. I need to focus on one task and one child at a time and the thought of long days of work work work burns me out just thinking about it.

I am like this too! And much too moody...my productivity is way too dependent on my state of mind. 

I also work part time, so there's generally a lot on my plate, but I'm aware that lots of people handle as much as I do or more. 

I do find that I do better when I am patient with myself. I also do better when I allow myself time to read and write and generally be myself, without constantly nagging myself about what I "should" be doing. Otherwise, I end up spending MORE time on escapist behaviors, if that makes sense. I don't know if that makes sense? Generally I have to find a balance between pushing myself and being reasonable with myself.

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No one can multitask. That was lesson #1 when I took lessons from an archery master. He was emphatic on this point, and he was correct. Even if you are doing something like driving and talking, your brain is toggling and constantly choosing what to focus on, it is not actually multi-tasking. That women have been convinced en masse that they OUGHT to be able to do more than one thing at a time is pretty pernicious since, again, it is an impossibility. The only things humans can multitask are the autonomous functions of the body. 

The book mentioned in this article, The Shallows, is *excellent.* I highly recommend it, especially as so many of you are saying you struggle with walking away from the computer or putting your phone down. 

Quote

 

Heavy multitaskers roll out the welcome mat for every new distraction. Of course they can't pay attention to things. Attention isn't their intent.

Attention is important. And light multitaskers might be better at preserving their attention. But some people value distraction. 

 

 

"Values distraction" is a far better descriptor of what happens when people think they are good at doing multiple things than the word multitasking. You know who loves to try to me multitaskers? My ADD people. They truly get a boost from it. But their inability to decide what to focus upon literally rises to the level of disorder. 

So y'all stop beating yourselves up about not multitasking for the love of everything!

17 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Is anyone else having the same struggle and what are your best things you do to snap yourself out of a non-disciplined state and hit the reset? 

 

 

As you say, you just have to do it. Do I want to be a weak-willed person? I do not. What am I doing that is indicative of poor character? ... OKBud you must stop doing that thing. And I devise a scheme to enable me to stop doing it. The scheme gets tweaked 'til it works. 

I think most people are not willing to be honest with themselves. I also observe that many-most people I know have a very unhealthy relationship, so to speak, with their own wants. I have tried very hard to break certain family members of their habit of saying "I'm being bad" when they do something innocuous like eat a piece of pie or watch 7 hours of a show. Like, did you want to do it? ...and then you did it?...and it hurt no one?...and it isn't some kind of death spiral like an addiction or mental health struggle? Then just eat the pie and say "yum! Pie!" or watch the show and laugh. Yanno? 

Incidentally, "I will reward myself for doing something good with doing something bad" is not an effective scheme over the long-term. It may get one started, but it will not take you to the finish line, which is you living out your values, including not over-indulging yourself in the "bad", reward, thing. Because, as you can see, in this scheme, the supposedly bad thing is the reward. Rewards are inherently experienced as being good. 

And then if it *is* an addiction or depression, for example, thinking or saying "Oh I am terrible!!" when you do something that ought to bring you joy (but does not because you have this problem) still isn't even remotely helpful. 

So in the case of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling... if I am doing this and I want to stop I need to either acknowledge that I am being weak, think honestly about what kind of person I want to be and what need I am trying to fill by resorting to a behavior I do not wish to see in myself and work out how to stop doing it; or I need to be honest with myself and possibly others and/or God that I need help. There is, clearly, some overlap. The ONLY alternative is to just do it and be happy with things as they are. I suppose one must have some sense of "correct" character to be able to make that decision. 

This is true for any of the common housebound vices: drinking to much or too often, zoning out often to tv, yelling, micro-managing others, being sloppy, over-eating. All of it. You must either decide not to do it or you must decide to do it and be happy about it. There's no integrous third option!

I am an existentialist 🙂 

Edited by OKBud
It wasn't long enough so I added 300 more paragraphs
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4 minutes ago, Little Green Leaves said:

I also do better when I allow myself time to read and write and generally be myself, without constantly nagging myself about what I "should" be doing. Otherwise, I end up spending MORE time on escapist behaviors, if that makes sense. I don't know if that makes sense?

Ah, we were writing at the same time, and look how much more succinctly you said it! 

❤️ yes. 

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9 minutes ago, OKBud said:

"I will reward myself for doing something good with doing something bad" is not an effective scheme over the long-term. It may get one started, but it will not take you to the finish line, which is you living out your values, including not over-indulging yourself in the "bad", reward, thing.

This is so true : ) 

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Do you do better with small, incremental changes or a rip off the band-aid, total overhaul approach?

I have to tackle one issue at a time. What are the top couple of things bothering me? What kind of changes would address my issues in this area? I was getting stressed by always having to decide if it was ok to play video games, so we set a few days where it is never video game time and the rest of the week it starts after 3. No one has to ask. Then, when I was ready, I moved on to dinner making.

Sometimes on the forum, though, I've seen people make complete overhauls. Wouldn't work for me, but maybe that elephantine kind of change works well for you and your monthly planner.

36 minutes ago, OKBud said:

You must either decide not to do it or you must decide to do it and be happy about it. There's no integrous third option!

Excellent! I have come to this realization also. Do I feel guilty enough to stop what I'm doing? Set a time limit? Otherwise, just let that guilt go.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Noreen Claire said:

 

Maybe I can make a 'do-the-next-thing rotating block schedule' for myself?

I think this might really help me out. 

 

2 hours ago, mms said:

Yeah, I’m a sloth, not just undisciplined. When things go well, I tend to relax/self sabotage and start loosening the reigns and then things fall apart. When things are chaotic, I just “let myself go” and revel in pity and escapist behaviors.

This pretty much sums up a lot of where I've been the last few months. I am such a sloth.  I snapped out of the pity and began to try and find the blessings in the situations, of which for us there have been many, but it didn't help me let go of the escapist behaviors. I even blocked this website for 3 months, quit twitter (was never on other social media) and I still managed to be quite unproductive.  I did plan. But now it's executing the plan I am avoiding.  It's full out avoidance be

1 hour ago, OKBud said:

That women have been convinced en masse that they OUGHT to be able to do more than one thing at a time is pretty pernicious since, again, it is an impossibility. The only things humans can multitask are the autonomous functions of the body. 

I read the article and will say I am trying to process it. I made a career built largely on multitasking. I understand that things can't have full attention, but I can remember working calls on the phone to hire people en masse while working on bid proposals on spreadsheets at the same exact time. I guess as they were related perhaps that wasn't distinct multi-tasking perhaps? But I wouldn't have gotten to where I was had I not been a master at getting to all the things. The very reason I did what I did was so many people were single oriented on tasks that they could never get to what needed to be done. I guess I can see where maybe it's short tasks in succession as outlined....... But even as a mother I still recall quite well feeding a baby held in one arm and cooking dinner with the other, or emptying the dishwasher, or the like.  My disconnect is how could I have been so great at it- be is tasks quickly in succession or multi-talking for so long, but now when my kids are older and even easier I seem to suck at it all?

I look back at how great I actually was at it and have felt like I have had some sort of brain degradation or something that has prevented me from being the multitasking superstar I once was. It's very frustrating. I don't know if it's age or will power. There is no way I could walk back into my last job today- I am a shadow of what I was ability wise. I have been home pretty much a decade now and I know my skills on that sort of thing have slipped, just like my skills at handling two babies a year apart- I don't even remember how I did it! 

45 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Do you do better with small, incremental changes or a rip off the band-aid, total overhaul approach?

For homelife, I do better with small, incremental changes for the most part. Things that are a short burst, large amounts of work are where I do better with ripping off the band-aid. Like having babies back to back, or moving houses with babies. Or like this year- getting two puppies a few months apart. Those are where I do best ripping the band-aid- it's short term discomfort for long term pay off. But homeschool/housekeeping is a long term marathon, so any time I have tried a radical shift, it's too big of a habit change to succeed. I think part of it is because our home things require too much buy in from the rest of the household too. I don't act in a vacuum. Though, to quote some podcaster I don't remember "Mamma sets the thermostat" of the house. 

 

 

 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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2 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I read the article and will say I am trying to process it. I made a career built largely on multitasking. I understand that things can't have full attention, but I can remember working calls on the phone to hire people en masse while working on bid proposals on spreadsheets at the same exact time. I guess as they were related perhaps that wasn't distinct multi-talking perhaps? But I wouldn't have gotten to where I was had I not been a master at getting to all the things. The very reason I did what I did was so many people were single oriented on tasks that they could never get to what needed to be done. I guess I can see where maybe it's short talks in succession as outlined....... But even as a mother I still recall quite well feeding a baby held in one arm and cooking dinner with the other, or emptying the dishwasher, or the like.  My disconnect is how could I have been so great at it- be is tasks quickly in sucession or multi-talking for so long, but now when my kids are older and even easier I seem to suck at it all?

I look back at how great I actually was at it and have felt like I have had some sort of brain degradation or something that has prevented me from being the multitasking superstar I once was. It's very frustrating. I don't know if it's age or will power. There is no way I could walk back into my last job today- I am a shadow of what I was ability wise. I have been home pretty much a decade now and I know my skills on that sort of thing have slipped, just like my skills at handling two babies a year apart- I don't even remember how I did it! 

I didn't read the article, but there is no way I could ever have accomplished everything I did in a day if I didn't multitask, and, no, I don't think either things suffered in the process.  For me, anyway, it boils down to the "whats" are being done simultaneously.  Calling out spelling words and folding laundry simultaneously? Definitely not a big deal for me.  Listening to dd play the violin and instructing her on dynamics or tone while cleaning the kitchen or cooking? Again, not a problem.  With ds, we would do his discussions while walking.  We'd push youngest in the stroller while walking through the neighborhood and have amazing lit, history, and philosophy discussions.  

Equally, I know that not everyone can do it.  I know some wonderful women who are great at what they do, but they can only focus on one task at a time.  Juggling multiple balls simultaneously for them simply means the balls drop.

But, I'm with you TM3 in that I am not as good at it as I used to be.  For me, I know it is inherent laziness that makes me less efficient.  I have the luxury of not having a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, 2 elementary kids, a middle schooler and a high schooler all at the same time.  In those days, I had to function at my peak.  Now I can function at about 30% and still manage to get everything done, but it is way less efficient and I waste a ton more time.

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12 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I made a career built largely on multitasking.

 

Well, sure, most people have had fits and spurts of getting a very whole lot done, seemingly at once. I suspect, however, that most of our periods like that (if we do not have an attention disorder) happened before we had children. IME, mothers tend to have that background thrum of information running in her brain, and takes all actions appropriate with that information in mind, at all times. I'm very rarely not thinking about my children in one way or another, whether I am digging a ditch or watching The New Girl for the 17,000th time. Much of what we do is on autopilot these days, though, so it seems like less. As in 8's examples above, literally no thought is required for folding my laundry. It's absolutely divided attention to call out words while folding it though...but it doesn't matter because neither thing requires undivided attention. I mean, we know what we're saying when we use that phrase- undivided attention- after all!

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Just now, OKBud said:

 

Well, sure, most people have had fits and spurts of getting a very whole lot done, seemingly at once. I suspect, however, that most of our periods like that (if we do not have an attention disorder) happened before we had children. IME, mothers tend to have that background thrum of information running in her brain, and takes all actions appropriate with that information in mind, at all times. I'm very rarely not thinking about my children in one way or another, whether I am digging a ditch or watching The New Girl for the 17,000th time. Much of what we do is on autopilot these days, though, so it seems like less. As in 8's examples above, literally no thought is required for folding my laundry. It's absolutely divided attention to call out words while folding it though...but it doesn't matter because neither thing requires undivided attention. I mean, we know what we're saying when we use that phrase- undivided attention- after all!

I don't know. I think I'm going to call BS on the multi-tasking as a myth. I worked in an office at home until my oldest was 18 months old as a grant writer and writer of journal articles. With a baby.  I did all of that while I had a baby and no home help and neither of them suffered in the mix. She might not have had the world's most IG like childhood, playing with the sticks outside, but she wasn't warehoused off somewhere, and the grants and publications still rolled out.

I am not seeing where an attention disorder fits...... I would think if anything an attention disorder would make one suck at actually fulfilling  task upon task.

When I worked, and my dd was either at school or her grandmother's,  I was never one of those moms who spent the day at work and who was torn away from what I was doing by thinking about my kid. I never had "mom guilt" that I know so many working moms talk about. Maybe because she was with her Grandmother, which she loved. They were just distinct line- Home/Work. I loved her, and she was never any sort of reason not to excel at my job. But my job didn't bleed into my time with her either. I was killer efficient at both.  Just like I don't think my dh has guilt over going to work and leaving the kids home with me.

When I quit to stay home with oldest when my second was born, I was killer efficient again at home too. I didn't even start homeschooling until I had an 10 or 11 year old and two babies- and II still managed to get it all done. But now, I don't think I could do it again. Just remembering all of it makes me tired. I'm like no wonder I was so thin!! 😂 For me I identify with what 8 is saying in that I don't *have* to keep all those plates in the air now and I've grown sort of lazy.

I do feel like I have lost a lot of the mental sharpness though. Not sure which came first- chicken or egg as far as activity level.

I will fully admit not there is no way I could go back into an office atmosphere at this point and claim my spot on the ladder or defend it from the up and comers who are now how I used to be. I couldn't do it now. I would be eaten alive, because I simply don't care about the same things I did then. 

But I sure wish I could recapture that drive. Be it home/office whatever- there was a drive to prove myself that I think undergirded all of those things and accomplishments. At work I wanted to be at the top. I didn't want a boss. I didn't need a boss. So I made myself rise to BE the boss. Once I came home I wanted to disprove everyone who said we had ruined it all by having babies back to back and those "friends" who said I was insane for pitching a great career to be a SAHM when daycare was perfectly acceptable, and actually preferable for infants so that we would have "socialized" kids.  Then we started homeschooling and I had more to prove again to the same naysayers. And I think I've proved it in spades. My husband says I got righteous about it all and come hell or high water, if was going to work because it was what I thought was the right thing to do. And for us, it was. 

So maybe I need to find something to prove, lol. I seem much more on it when I am proving things. I guess that is what stinks about 40+. You don't feel like you have anything to prove to anyone anymore. 

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OKBud, such a refreshing post.  Thank you. 

For the record, I feel no guilt about my screen time. 

I don't know if this is multi-tasking or not.  But if I'm waiting for a kid to finish something so we can do the next thing together, I can't go do a house hold task, or a financial task, or a phone call, or basically anything in the interim, because my brain is already holding certain thoughts in queue.  I'm not a very good "doer."  So determining to "DO" something takes an inordinate amount of brain function on my part (at least it seems this way to me) and I will put it off, preferably until no one else is home (because the idea of being interrupted mid-thought is really stressful).  But being home alone is very rare  (like all of us since March!!!)  since dh works from home now.  Thus, I continue to dig a hole, lol.  But again, I don't feel guilty, per se, about this.  More, I'm frustrated that there are too many people in my space for too much of the time.      

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2 minutes ago, Another Lynn said:

OKBud, such a refreshing post.  Thank you. 

For the record, I feel no guilt about my screen time. 

I don't know if this is multi-tasking or not.  But if I'm waiting for a kid to finish something so we can do the next thing together, I can't go do a house hold task, or a financial task, or a phone call, or basically anything in the interim, because my brain is already holding certain thoughts in queue.  I'm not a very good "doer."  So determining to "DO" something takes an inordinate amount of brain function on my part (at least it seems this way to me) and I will put it off, preferably until no one else is home (because the idea of being interrupted mid-thought is really stressful).  But being home alone is very rare  (like all of us since March!!!)  since dh works from home now.  Thus, I continue to dig a hole, lol.  But again, I don't feel guilty, per se, about this.  More, I'm frustrated that there are too many people in my space for too much of the time.      

Amen. 

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I get so overstimulated when dh is home all day too. I don't want to deal with everyone else's thoughts, I have my own, guys. 

Edited by OKBud
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2 minutes ago, OKBud said:

I get so overstimulated when dh is home all day too. I don't want to deal with everyone else's thoughts, I have my own, guys. 

I feel like I need a therapy session to figure out why my husband drains all of my motivation and focus away, when I actually really enjoy being around him. But he has a major effect on the mojo-forcefield in my life. 

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I'm feeling lucky that my DH is so efficient at tuning all of us out that we, in turn, are unaffected by his constant presence in the next-room-no-door. Except we all flinch when he complains in sudden loud bursts about the about the internet. It isn't all rosy on this side of the "DH as a distraction" fence, though. Like the time we were in a foreign country at a famous museum and he put in his earbuds and turned on an audio book and started to wander off from me and the three kids. 😮 Dude! Nuh-uh! 😂😂

On the plus side, my changes are mine to make and no one cares, and my compliant angels will at least not in agreement even if secretly they have no intention of doing whatever I propose.

35 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

So maybe I need to find something to prove, lol. I seem much more on it when I am proving things. I guess that is what stinks about 40+. You don't feel like you have anything to prove to anyone anymore. 

Hah! True! I also feel a bit that no one is paying much attention to my corner of the world any more, not like in a corporate environment.

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4 hours ago, SusanC said:

Do you do better with small, incremental changes or a rip off the band-aid, total overhaul approach?

I have to tackle one issue at a time. What are the top couple of things bothering me? What kind of changes would address my issues in this area? I was getting stressed by always having to decide if it was ok to play video games, so we set a few days where it is never video game time and the rest of the week it starts after 3. No one has to ask. Then, when I was ready, I moved on to dinner making.

Sometimes on the forum, though, I've seen people make complete overhauls. Wouldn't work for me, but maybe that elephantine kind of change works well for you and your monthly planner.

Excellent! I have come to this realization also. Do I feel guilty enough to stop what I'm doing? Set a time limit? Otherwise, just let that guilt go.

I'm better with small changes. I've identified that one of my work strengths was the ability to break a big job into small pieces and start with the first small step. I didn't realize this until I became a boss and had employees who would become paralyzed and not know how to begin a big job. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I'm better with small changes. I've identified that one of my work strengths was the ability to break a big job into small pieces and start with the first small step. I didn't realize this until I became a boss and had employees who would become paralyzed and not know how to begin a big job. 

 

I was wondering if that is a hidden skill behind multitasking. Perhaps multitasking well is really a front for being able to break down tasks into very small steps and then juggle back and forth between the task lists. The more familiar you are with the tasks, the easier that would be.

I'm not feeling good at any kind of productivity today!

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A little off topic, but I think the "multitasking is a myth" pretty much ignores two things.

1. Active vs. passive activities.  If you are combining a passive activity (holding the baby, walking, folding laundry, etc) that your brain can do on autopilot with an active activity (calling out spelling words, critiquing music practice, cooking dinner, etc), multitasking works very well.

2. Active vs. active activities.  If you are taking phone calls while working on spreadsheets (to take an example), it may work out Ok, but both tasks will be done less efficiently than simply doing them separately and will take more time to do them at the same vs doing them separately.  However, that doesn't always work out schedule wise, so it's a tradeoff.  

I find that I am most productive when I am combining active and passive activities.  It's like my brain finds it's groove using the two different types of functions.

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Just now, WendyAndMilo said:

A little off topic, but I think the "multitasking is a myth" pretty much ignores two things.

1. Active vs. passive activities.  If you are combining a passive activity (holding the baby, walking, folding laundry, etc) that your brain can do on autopilot with an active activity (calling out spelling words, critiquing music practice, cooking dinner, etc), multitasking works very well.

2. Active vs. active activities.  If you are taking phone calls while working on spreadsheets (to take an example), it may work out Ok, but both tasks will be done less efficiently than simply doing them separately and will take more time to do them at the same vs doing them separately.  However, that doesn't always work out schedule wise, so it's a tradeoff.  

I find that I am most productive when I am combining active and passive activities.  It's like my brain finds it's groove using the two different types of functions.

Excellent differentiation.  I agree.  

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So many good thoughts! I find it fascinating in part because I know some of the women posting are incredibly productive (shh, @Monica_in_Switzerland) and yet still feel like discipline can be an issue. There must be a spectrum.

I fall in the camp of no spelling words while folding laundry. For a while, I was convinced that I could; but when I examined myself honestly this summer I realized I either get engrossed in explaining spelling rules and word origins and neglect the laundry or start searching for a missing sock, wander back to the laundry room, stop to get a drink of water on the way and both sock and child are forgotten. I think I have always been slightly ADD, but multiple pregnancies and births have eaten away at brain cells and the ability to focus. Fact is, I was never efficient or focused - even when I was working - I just got away with it because of above average intelligence, youthful energy and affability. But, that sort of facade does nothing in the home: all of my weaknesses are under a magnifying glass because the buck stops with me. That said, I am just as ambitious and stubborn as I was in my younger years and that is a big reason for why I have not thrown in the towel on homeschooling. Also, I am far more realistic than when I was younger and although I used to be one for grand sweeping changes, I accept now that permanent change comes from small habits deeply rooted. Fact is too that despite my weaknesses my children are generally resilient. 

 

On a positive note, DH has been a great help since he has been home and only a positive influence. And that’s despite the fact that he, like happysmileylady’s DH, does not keep a schedule or routine and is hyper focused like SusanC’s DH (yup, we’ve definitely dealt with wandering away here too lol). But, that’s in part because I decided from the beginning that we would do our thing whether or not Zoom was on and I would impose a routine on the children and myself even if he does not. He is incredibly patient with me and my executive function dysfunction and therefore I don’t feel extra guilt on top of my own and that helps.

OKBud, your assertion about vices and guilt have some theological undergirding and assumptions about human nature that I cannot quite pin down but I think I disagree with. Reminds me of Luther’s “If you sin, sin boldly!” proclamation. How’s that for the beginnings of a philosophical argument? 🤣

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, mms said:

OKBud, your assertion about vices and guilt have some theological undergirding and assumptions about human nature that I cannot quite pin down but I think I disagree with. Reminds me of Luther’s “If you sin, sin boldly!”

If you want to flesh that out, I'm all ears!

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Just now, mms said:

I wish I had enough brain cells and sleep to do so! 😂

Well, one does not feel guilty for something they don't think is bad.

And if one does think something is bad to do but gives herself license to do it anyway, she is weak-willed and needs to address that fact.

Evaluating whether or not something is bad (as opposed to good or morally neutral) in its context is a responsibility incumbent on the individual making that judgement.

I don't know of any theology or secular philosophy that gets around any of that, except the ones that posit that "bad" in and of itself does not exist or is never relevant, and I doubt that's where you're coming from 😄... So if it comes to you, what rubs you the wrong way, please share!

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Ok, but I’ll take a stab at it.

24 minutes ago, OKBud said:

Well, one does not feel guilty for something they don't think is bad.

And if one does think something is bad to do but gives herself license to do it anyway, she is weak-willed and needs to address that fact.

Evaluating whether or not something is bad (as opposed to good or morally neutral) in its context is a responsibility incumbent on the individual making that judgement.

I don't know of any theology or secular philosophy that gets around any of that, except the ones that posit that "bad" in and of itself does not exist or is never relevant, and I doubt that's where you're coming from 😄... So if it comes to you, what rubs you the wrong way, please share!

so I think that over simplifies something that is fundamentally true but does not allow for nuance or levels of “badness” or prioritizing what one works on in one’s character.

I think what you are getting it is having a properly formed conscience. And it is certainly true that complaining about how you can’t kick your vices is painful to the hearer and often smacks of pride because some people are really boasting when they complain about how bad they are.

That said, there are reasons for why a person might have a weak will and cannot address it or address it in a timely enough manner. I’m thinking of the case of a high functioning alcoholic who is the sole provider of a family who needs the structure of a residential treatment program but would then leave his family without income. Or someone suffering from a screen addiction who needed to be on the computer all day for work, should they turn Amish? Then there are cases of mental illness. I actually come from a tradition where pure human will power is seen as only contributing a part, for the rest there is supernatural grace. So sometimes just deciding something is bad is not enough.

All that to say, on the surface I agree with you, but I think there are situations in our fallen world where we recognize that something is bad, we should feel guilty about it but really cannot change it for one reason or another. In that case, though, I think the individual needs to stop complaining about being between a rock and a hard place and just do what they can under the circumstances. If you can’t give up your pack a day habit because you need it to deal with an extraordinary level of stress, ok, but don’t whine about it even if you do and should feel guilty. Maybe some day you will find a less stressful job and will finally be able to give that up. Or maybe something else will change and you will finally be able to say enough is enough. Actually reminds me of Tolstoy’s quip that change has to come from a place of deep seated inability to continue living in a particular way: some people haven’t gotten there yet.
 

I cannot remember who said it, might have been Chesterton, but it is not always the case that something is bad and therefore we must totally crush it or it’s not bad at all so let’s just embrace it!

 

Of course my caveat here is that in practice for most people like myself what you are saying is absolutely true. If I can’t get off my phone at the root of it is that I both don’t think it is all that harmful (which may be true or just rationalizing) and that I am weak willed (in which case I need to work on strengthening that will both for my own sake and as an example to my children)..

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Ah, but it was qualified in my OP that that only applies when there is not some other underlying condition such as addiction or mental health struggle. 

Making the decision, whatever it is, in context, allows for nuance. Outsiders rarely comprehend the whole context at once, so it is up to the individual to be aware of what they are doing in all its implications, even if (especially if, really) that is difficult for one reason or another.

It's onerous for me to read on my phone where I can't see the whole body of text, so I may come back to this upon a re-read at the computer🙂

 

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I guess I would qualify more things as addictions than just vices. Especially in the 21st century.

Otherwise, yeah, I missed your caveats. As I said, reduced mental capacities with age and children, sleep deprivation, etc etc etc

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24 minutes ago, mms said:

I guess I would qualify more things as addictions than just vices. Especially in the 21st century.

Otherwise, yeah, I missed your caveats. As I said, reduced mental capacities with age and children, sleep deprivation, etc etc etc

So would I. I didn't mean to give an exhaustive list. 

One thing I was thinking about is that it's important to me to not act in bad faith. So, if I am offering myself excuses for behavior I have perceived to be bad...this is internal, mind you, not even rising to the level of outward justification.... That in and of itself is something I am inclined to squash. Other people, having a different path to walk, may need to quash their kneejerk self-recrimination, and therefore a little light self-excusing is in order. Because, on the whole, that will move them toward their goals. 

So, the context extends far deeper than what can be seen into what perhaps can not even be put into words in the moment. 

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I'm in the same boat! There's so much to respond to in this thread.

  • I can easily identify when I can get the most accomplished. I wake up stupid early and have hours to myself. I usually get some housework done, any grocery shopping, some WTM reading, but realistically I could get so much more done. I need to get my morning routine back on track when we start school back up. At least that way I start the day right. I've been thinking about this for the past few weeks and I think adding in chores into my phone for morning notifications will be my new to do list. I usually keep spiral notebooks for to do lists, but routine chores never make it on there unless I have a big clean. I think having that mental checklist will help me stay on track. 🤞
  • I usually work hard during the week so I can take time off to just hang with the family on the weekend. I do this because I realized a long time ago he changes my routine when he's home. I realized sticking to a routine that he's not familiar with, didn't work.We did school M-Th for years because he was off on Fridays. I don't cook a whole lot on the weekend. I do get laundry done. I consider the weekend my time off too. I get stuff done if I want to or I take advantage of the early am hours.
  • I wish I had discovered sewing by hand while teaching the kids to read.  That has been huge for me to stay available to them. If I'm responding here, it's easy to want to finish a sentence or a thought. Thankfully this forum version and the last save what I typed because I am frequently replying here and there. Sewing masks while watching documentaries keeps me awake too! 🥱
  • Good audiobooks and podcasts are my secret weapon for motivating me to clean and get stuff done. I got some bluetooth headphones so I can wander the house in the early morning and get stuff done while listening to something I want to listen to.
  • We're a gamer family so screen time is our free time. We group up and play together. Sometimes we play our own games. We don't see screen time as a bad thing because it's something we're not doing in isolation. All of our computers are in the same room. We can all see what each other is doing. 
  • Yes to kids not always getting their chores done on the weekend. I am tired of telling them to take care of the dog poop and kitty litter. They are good about taking out the trash cans and bringing them back in. That's because I have a notification to remind them. I do think my notification idea might work for me. 
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I’ve been giving this some thought too. It’s a multifaceted problem for me. First, a good chunk of my life pre-pandemic involved leaving the house routines. I no longer have those hard stops to home life. I have to chain different routines together. Second, Dh has no consistent schedule to his work life. I simply cannot plan life around him. I make lunch portions for him, but I don’t try to prep lunch for him anymore. Some days he eats at 10:45, other days at 2:00. He is in 10pm conference calls sometimes if he is calling China. I finally had to decide a time that was convenient for me and he can either block his calendar or not, iykwim. Third, I have to re-shuffle my home routines since my school life is different. I am having kids take on aspects of home things because there is not enough of me to go around once school restarts.

Figure out which wolf you want to feed, and chain your rewards to that. I suspect the time on the ‘net is solving some problem you have—social time, feeling connected to news in the pandemic and therefore resolving some anxiety about that, or whatever. Limiting that reward is only so helpful long-term....it’s much better to refocus onto things that also have some built in reward for you.

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Posted (edited)

So reading through y'all's responses, and then thinking a lot yesterday while I chipped away at my non-computer based to-do list, I think I have to admit to myself that staying off forums (this one and others) is probably my #1 necessity to get my life back on track. It's too easy to sit in my study with my laptop and enjoy hanging out with dh while he's on his calls and then I just autopilot onto here and waste too much time. And then I don't wanna get up and do grown up responsibilities. It's like sitting at the park with a bunch of moms and chatting while the kids play in it's own way. 

 I need to make some sort of rule for myself on forums be it no weekdays, or maybe just limit it to evenings......or something to control my own screens before I can in good conscience ask the kids to reduce theirs.. I know I have been doing better here since I stopped browsing Chat very much (since 9/10th of the topics there are like Groundhog Day with the same topic ad nauseam it's not any sort of sacrifice anyway)  But the Ed boards have actually gotten busy again and engaging; but because of it I'm spending too much time here too. So I think that will be step one to reclaiming the day. But  y'all can be a fun group so it's hard. 🙂 I probably should reenlist the good old proxy blocker I think.

If I don't have my laptop available to browse, I'm less likely to be in the study, and then less likely to not be out in the main area with the kids doing something off a screen. 

We will see how this goes. Wish me luck. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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I have been thinking about this a lot, and my response is very first-world, so feel free to roll your collective eyes. For background, I live in a very expensive area in a rented home that has less than 200sqft/person and we have no yard. I am very clean and organized. Our home is 70 years old and nothing has been updated since then, and because we rent, we cannot change anything. We have to put up with a lot of weirdness, and our home cannot even be sold "as is" bc of certain things. We dont own much. We only have 2-3 loads of laundry a week for 5 people. With that explanation aside...

I have almost no mindless but necessary work to do, nor do my kids. Deep cleaning our home takes all of 4 hours, and this includes Rug Dr-ing the floors, cleaning the blinds, walls, every surface, etc. There is very little actual work that I can do when my brain needs to veg. The main work available to me is deep-thinking, like planning school stuff, relational stuff, learning, etc. We are all suffering from this. So, when the kids are making loads of noise inside, I have very little to do that is productive but doesnt involve my brain. My kids need meaningful labor (they clean the house every day, do the laundry, dishwasher, cook some meals, etc). That whole list takes them about 15 minutes (except cooking). 

We plan to move in 6 months to a home we own in a different state. One of the reasons I want to move to this home is that it will provide some meaningful labor for all of us. In some ways, having very little labor to do is wonderful, but too much of nothing is not good for my soul.

 

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34 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Waaaait, WE are the thing you're giving up for the greater good?? Boo, Texan! 

Joking aside, though, I've also been spending far too much time on here. Part of the point of my lovely posted schedule is to make me get up off my bum and do something fun and vaguely educational with the kids and not just stay on forums all day. (Like, some of our scheduled things are cooking together and playing games.) 

Ha!  I'm not going away permanently, or at least not planning to, so have no worries. I was completely gone for 3 months before and no one noticed or missed a bit of my brilliant insight 😂, so this will not even be as extreme as that. 

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