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Focus (or its lack thereof)

Right when I started to write this blog, the blog boss made a funny comment about me not being able to focus. As you can see, he had a point, since in the 19 posts I have written there have been a couple about parenting, one about breastfeeding, one about travel, one about schools, and so on. I gave it some thought, wondering whether I should pick one topic to write about and have some consistency here. And then I realized that moms don’t focus. We can’t. You see, today I was Spanish teacher for an hour and a half, CTA commuter for another hour, travel agent for two hours, origami master and student at the same time for another two hours, cook for one more, and scattered here and there milk producer and provider for a total of six hours. I will still be boxing referee, story teller, lullaby singer (a bad one), speech therapist and blogger today. All these tasks are not necessarily performed consecutively, but simultaneously. You know, that multitasking thing everyone talks about.

Of course, picture me performing them all with one kid holding onto each of my legs and a third one strapped to me in his Baby Bjorn. Well, not the teaching part. As cool as that professor on the photo looks, one of the main reasons why I work part time is so I can leave the house a couple of times a week on my own and have some reading time on the train.

In this time of constant entertainment in the palm of our hands focusing is harder than ever. And some tasks are more multitasking friendly than others. Who wants to focus on pumping, one of the most hideous tasks one can perform? While I do it I watch TV on the IPad and check the news on my phone, all at the same time. Actually, with baby number two I was even able to play Chutes and Ladders while doing it. But then, when I am doing a more rewarding task, like feeding the actual baby, it is hard not to be tempted by the smartphone in my pocket. At the end of the day I spend several hours nursing. And that is a lot of time to be focusing only on that cute little face.

Take this to the classroom. Technology there can be great. It allows me to access videos that I can play for my students to watch real Spanish material, show power points, or prezis, or whatever the last presentation trend is and be able to show them their grades in a second. On their part, they don’t have to carry books anymore as they can use e-books, which are cheaper and easier on the environment and on their backs. But at the same time they have a screen with access to the world in front of them. What are they going to do, listen to me while I explain the pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo, as charming as that is or check Facebook? Yes, you are right. And so would I, but my paycheck and the hormonal balance that comes with age keep me from doing it.

Even when I drive I can’t focus. The radio, the kids on the back asking for water, goldfish, toys, their brother’s head in a tray, the damn phone that is ringing again, the watch, the mental to do list that I need to review one more time not to forget that I need to pick up something before getting everyone and their backpacks out of the car. No wonder that the number of kids diagnosed with ADHD is growing so much. How wouldn’t it, if all we are teaching our kids is that we have to run all day long, and that being so busy is the way to go, go, go?

From now on I’m going to take a few minutes every day to try to focus on just one thing, be it a book, my baby, or a beautiful flower. I’ll start small.

But, for the time being, and unless I’m told otherwise, the lack of focus will be the focus of this blog.

Focus more on beautiful things should give me a different perspective.
Focusing more on beautiful things should give me a different perspective.

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