“Our brains are designed to filter out most stimuli, focussing on just a few things at once. If we try to multitastk in too many directions, our brains begin to act exactly like what they are: overloaded electrical circuits. In extreme situations we may ‘blank out,’ literally becoming unable to perceive whatever is yammering for our attention.” Martha Beck, O Magazine
I sighed when I read the above quote because it describes perfectly how I sometimes feel when I’m home with the boys. I love them, I love being home with them (and them being home with me), but they never stop talking.
Sometimes they take it in turns to talk to me – tell me things, ask me for help with stuff – although ‘take it in turns’ makes it sound much more civilised than it actually is. It’s more a sort of tag team of
Joe: “Mama, can you put the iPad on charge for me?”
Me: “Yes, I’m just making a cup of tea and then I–”
Harry: “You know you said you were going to help me download a mod?”
Me: “Yes, in a minute. When I’ve–”
Joe: “Mama! Come and look at this! I want to show you!”
Me: “I will, I’m just–”
Harry: “And then you’ll download the mod?”
It means I spend much of the day standing around, wondering what I was just about to do before I was interrupted. Also, many cups of tea go cold.
They also frequently talk to me both at the same time, which is like the above, but turned up to 11. This is when I have to yell at them to stop, wait, just LET ME THINK! And they look at me like I’ve lost it.
Of course, I also work at home. Much of the time I manage to escape to my office, even for short periods, and get things done. But sometimes when I’m busy or I have a deadline and the boys are talking and talking and talking… I feel my brain pop and fizz and smoke comes out of my ears.
Recently, I took the laptop up to bed with me (I’d dreamt we were burgled and it had given me the wiggins) and in the morning, I opened it up and the boys joined me in bed with their own technology and we all just quietly got on with things (well, they talked to each other about Minecraft, but I managed to tune that out) and I had all my work done by 9am. It was bliss. I really must try that again.
If you home ed, how do you manage to prevent your brain short-circuiting?