Momma Interruptions and My Irritated Heart
No one warned me that my life as a mom would be one constant interruption. I cannot remember the last time I completed a full thought. Every conversation is plagued with cries, demands and mispronounced words from little’s ones. Often I give up in scatterbrain defeat. Discovering my triggers are essential for me, and I have found that one of my biggest are interruptions.
In research done on the science of how interruptions effect productivity, one of the groups in a study were told prior to taking a test that they might be interrupted with further instructions. Their test results were 20% lower than the control group. Even the mental drain of preparing for a potential interruption greatly impacts us. I won’t even consider starting a project that requires my undivided attention for more than 20 minutes simply because of the potential I might be interrupted by my girls!
I set out to start a task, whether it be folding laundry, cleaning dishes, or reading a text message only to be stopped dead in my tracks by a tiny human’s needs. More than I care to admit, I become angry with them for being so needy. These precious ones are only trying to learn how to function on their own, but they still so desperately need their momma. The demands of children are of great importance to their innocent soul, yet I sometimes find it annoying. As I leave my task to tend to wiping a bottom, opening a fruit snack, or slipping on a dress up shoe my mind is still plagued with the nagging thought of, “I must finish what I was doing.” It is like leaving open yet another web browser in my already crowded mind. In steps irritated mom. Part of that need to finish is a personality trait, but all of us crave productivity. The fruit of productivity is a sense of accomplishment. We love that feeling.
Now not only does that interruption rob me of the satisfaction of completing my task, but it causes an instant shift in my brain. The effort to get back on track is draining. A study by the University of California found that it takes most people 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from an interruption. Basically I live in recovery mode. Simple tasks, like making the bed, that pre-kids took minutes may sometimes take days now. As you can see, we might as well add interruptions to the list of causes for the disease of mom brain.
Instead of allowing interruptions to add to my irritability, I am going to use them to fuel my gratitude. The triggers will always be there, but I have the ability to change my reaction. I can choose to be filled with gratitude that my girls wanting me means I am needed. That thought alone can close the gap left behind by incomplete tasks, a deeper satisfaction of a truly higher purpose – being a mom.