You hear a lot of things when you first find out you’re going to be a parent. You hear that kids will rob you of the following things, sleep, money, energy and yes, even your mortal soul. But the thing you don’t hear about is one of the biggest things my kids robbed me of,
My attention span.
I recall a time, way back five years ago, when I could finish a book, a movie, a TV show… a thought.
Now I struggle to finish wiping my butt before having to get called away to the next fire I have to put out. This isn’t even hyperbole people, this is the God’s honest truth.
I can’t even wipe my butt.
I recently went on a trip with my sister, a glorious five day trip away from my children to San Francisco. While in the hotel room, our first night there, I was about to get in the shower and I heard my sister say,
“Meredith, you can shut the bathroom door. No one out here is going to need you.”
I was totally going to keep that baby wide open without even thinking about it.
I no longer have an attention span.
I have been watching movies, not even Martin Scorsese epic three hour reels, like standard 90 minute movies and felt my attention waiver. I have whipped out my phone to Wikipedia the ending of the movie, so I don’t have to sit through the entire thing… the entire 90 minutes.
My kids have “trained” me, like some POW in a camp. My kids have “trained” me to use my brain in two minute blasts, changing tracks the train is traveling down each time my two minute buzzer goes off.
The thing I say the most during the day, aside from “use your words”?
“What was I just doing?”
It’s because they can smell it on you. They can smell the desire to complete something from a mile away. Be it washing the dishes, taking a shower (so you know the number of times my kids have seen me naked covered in soap and shampoo? Therapy bills are mounting) or performing hygiene after using the toilet.
They know and they choose that moment to plow into the wall or pick a fight with their sibling or suddenly need an ocean of water in a sippy cup.
But the thing I probably grieve the most is my attention span for reading is even more shot than for finishing a movie.
There was a time when I loved reading. I could sit and read for hours. But, as I’ve found recently, reading, out of all of the other entertainment mediums takes the most concentration.
I read to my kids all the time. I want so badly for them to love reading as I once did. But they never see their mom reading.
I thought about it a few months ago and began to realize that this needed to change.
My kids have robbed my of my attention span but now the bank has changed it’s security pass codes and is trying to refill the money bags.
A few months ago, we were at the library. We came up the stairs from the kid’s section with our usual heft of books, but then I shocked my kids when I said,
“Hang on guys, we just need to scoot into the adult section real quick.”
I picked out a 350 page crime novel and that book turned out to be the first adult book I had finished in over 5 years.
And when kids came out to say goodnight after reading with my husband, they saw me reading again. Mom is talking the talk and walking the walk.
I’m working on book number three now. It’s addicting once you get started and I’m actually finding my attention span slowly coming back.
Andy and I actually binge watched the entire first season of “Stranger Things” over the weekend and I didn’t even think to Wikipedia a thing.
I don’t know where this will lead me, this new found attention span. But I’m not going to question it.
I’m having too much fun getting back to more things I had completely forgotten I loved.