Distracted Parenting: Mom As Multitasker Can I Make It Work?

I have found myself looking at my daughter and pretending like I am paying attention to her while really I can’t get my mind off something else.  Sometimes I do the dishes and then later look at the sink and think, “hey who did the dishes” (not all bad, I admit).  I know I am loosing my mind.  An article published by Standford University explains that mulitaskers pay a mental price.  I feel like as a young mom I am always multitasking.  I thought this was getting more done at one time, but research says otherwise.

Social scientists have long assumed that it’s impossible to process more than one string of information at a time. The brain just can’t do it. But many researchers have guessed that people who appear to multitask must have superb control over what they think about and what they pay attention to.

So they put a group of high multitaskers and a group of low multitaskers through several tests.  In the end the low multitaskers always out preformed the high multitaskers.

They couldn’t help thinking about the task they weren’t doing, Ophir said. The high multitaskers are always drawing from all the information in front of them. They can’t keep things separate in their minds.

As they suggest, “maybe it’s time to stop e-mailing if you’re following the game on TV, and rethink singing along with the radio if you’re reading the latest news online. By doing less, you might accomplish more.”

But more importantly to me is how multitasking effects the relationship we have with our kids.   When we are with our kids are we completely focused on them?  Do they know that they are more important than all of our other tasks at hand?  One mom explains:



The problem is, my kid sees me with that phone and doesn’t think about all that real world stuff. She doesn’t give me a pass. In that moment, she might believe my phone is more important than she is.

That makes me sad, probably because she’s right, in that moment. And now I know if I fail to focus on her, she might not learn how to read emotions and interact with others. But she won’t be right about it any more, if I change. And that I have started to do.

Her challenge to all of us is: “Make a conscious effort to dedicate a few minutes each day to focus on what your children are saying — without any media distracting you or them — and see what happens “