“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?
You sound like you got it sorted – make good use of ‘tuning out’ times you describe! Actually Keris, i don’t think it’s to do with the Home Ed, I think it’s just the type of people we are – a bit manic maybe and cerebral! 🙂 Meditation? Never was that good at that either! 🙂 x
I have to comment on this, because it’s something I run into regularly. In a way, I sometimes wonder if it’s worse for me because I have only one child. A chatty child. While this is wonderful in so many ways, there are times that I need to be able to concentrate on other things. The problem lies in the fact that since we are one on one a lot of times, I feel like asking for silence is almost equivalent to placing him in isolation! Although the problem is getting better the older he gets and can entertain himself quite a bit (and hang out with other kids), I still sometimes struggle. One day, on the road after a particularly taxing Thanksgiving Dinner, the chatter was really making me short-circuit. Instead of asking for silence, I leaned my seat back a little and just shut down for a nap, while he talked away to his dad! It seemed to be the best option at the time. 🙂
Thanks for commenting! Good to know people can identify 🙂
“I feel like asking for silence is almost equivalent to placing him in isolation!” I know what you mean, but I do think it’s important for them to know that they can’t have all of our attention all of the time 🙂
I think I need to either step away or ask them to pipe down earlier than I do – I usually leave it until I snap and – for them – it seems to come out of the blue. I think they probably need a break from their own constant chatter sometimes too!
I don’t know about cerebral 😀 I don’t think it’s to do with Home Ed either, apart from the fact it means I spend so much time with them and so notice it more 🙂
I sometimes find it hard with just one too! Although, strangely, the times I usually struggle the most with him talking “at” me are early evening, when everyone else is home, but in that hour or so before bedtime, he just seems to ramp up the energy just when I want to wind down!
Ha! Mine do that too, Rachel.