What I Learned This Summer!!

Hey Guys,  It’s Jenn from NW Speech Therapy Blog and I am so excited to link up with The Frenzied SLP’s and bring you the best thing I learned this summer.  Technically my summer is only half way over.  I am on the west coast and our kids don’t go back to school until September so luckily I have time to learn even more things this summer, however, my favorite take away from this summer so far is the idea that LESS IS MORE!  I know, a simple concept right?  I agree but sometimes its the simple things that you easily forget.  This concept can be applied to so many things that have happened this summer and thankfully allowed for so many different areas of GROWTH and DISCOVERY.  To better explain what I mean, lets start back at the beginning.  

In June, when our “summer” began, I envisioned lots of things and I planned for lots of things   Our summer was supposed to allow for less hectic days and provide more lazy days.  Our summer was supposed to allow more time for the things that I have not had time for during the school year.  It was supposed to allow me time to breathe and enjoy the simple things and most importantly it was supposed to allow me to have more time to spend with my son.  However, as most things go, what I thought our summer was going to be was not at all how it has turned out to be.   

Being a mom can be hard at times and amazing at times.   Some days you feel like a hero and some days you just flat out feel like a failure.  Unfortunately as summer started I was already feeling the latter.  The time I thought I was going to have to take my son to the library,  $1 movies at the movie theater, practice at Shoot 360 or just to the park was quickly taken up by the million responsibilities and tasks I had with any of the many hats I wear.  This lead me to my first discovery: I take on WAY TOO MUCH!   Now if my hubby was reading this he would say “Hello, I have only been telling you that for the last 10 years” and in this instance he would be right.  Unfortunately, getting the many sad faces and disappointed sighs that I got from my son as I told him “maybe in a few hours when I get this done” which turned into “It will just have to wait till tomorrow” which turned into “maybe we will go next week” that I really understood just how badly I was failing as a mom.  My ability to balance work and life has always been at best a “work in progress” but I thought I did a pretty good job-most of the time.  This summer I realized that maybe I don’t do as good of a job as I thought.   Like many of you I have dreams and aspirations that are bigger than myself and at times probably seem unattainable but growing up I was always told to shoot for the moon because even if i missed i would land among the stars and this is how I have lived my life.  I want more than I should, I take on more than I should, I cram more things in to my schedule in a day then I should and I end up exhausted by the end with little if anything left for my family.  

shoot for the moon

Since the last thing I wanted to do was see disappointment on my sons face I started thinking of how I could do less and have more free time to enjoy with him.  So the first thing I did was make a list of everything that I needed and wanted to do and prioritized the list.  Phew, this was hard.  When your list quickly becomes a notebook you have to remind yourself that less is more!   As much as we want there to be 100 hours in a day to get things done there are only 24 and we sleep for 8 of those if we are lucky.   I started going through the list and starring the ones that didn’t need to be accomplished within the upcoming year which shortened the list some and then I highlighted the ones that I thought I could find a way to contract out the work to get it done which shortened it a little more.  Once I had my completed list I started prioritizing what I had left and thought about how to attack it.   This is where another discovery was made.  As human beings, we tend to gravitate towards our strengths in times of crisis so it was easy for me to jump to the conclusion that I just had to work even harder at ….MULTI-TASKING because multitasking was one of my best strengths.  Working harder at multitasking was how I was going to get more done and mark more off my list.  Any one want to take a guess at whether this worked?  Yeah, that would be a big fat, NO!  This was what I was already doing and what I was already failing at.  I was already working hard at multitasking but I wasn’t marking through any more of my to-do list so I went back to square one and started doing some “reserach”.  Others may call it “Pinterest” and discovered a mommy blogger that had given up on multi-tasking because it just wasn’t helping her cross the things off your to-do list and I immediately felt her pain.  This hero of a mom had discovered the art of “single tasking”.  At first I thought “really?”, “that sounds slow and maybe counter-productive” but I decided to continue reading about it and as I read along it actually made a lot of sense.  There are a few things that happen when multi-tasking.  One is that it can often make you feel a little ADD.  Mutli-tasking can pull your mind and efforts in so many directions that you truly get a glimpse at what our clients with ADD must feel like.  Second, you do not always do your best work when multi-tasking as it leads to rushing to get it done because there are 6 other things that you are working on at the same time. Third, if you are anything like me then you end the day feeling completely exhausted and spent.  The concept of Single tasking is that you choose one task to do at a time and you work on it to full completion.  Your mind and efforts are solely on this task and you continue to work on it until it is done.  Again,  if you are like me then you are still thinking yes, this would be slow and definitely counter-productive but I decided to give it a try and boy was I surprised.  What single tasking did:

1. It freed up my energy and allowed me to be more present with what I was doing.  2. Being more present with the task at hand allowed me to complete the work faster.  3. Completing the work faster resulted in marking the to-do “done” quicker and allowing me to start the next task.  It was amazing.  I also didn’t end up feeling completely burnt out by the end of the day and my brain didn’t feel like it wanted to explode.  This was such a WIN!  

And you want to know the best thing: I started noticing an improvement in my ability to balance work and life.  Finishing more tasks equaled more free time equaled one happy kid!  

Finally a win for mom!  Finally I could feel like the HERO!  And to think that it all started with realizing that LESS IS MORE!  Again, its not a new concept but unfortunately with today’s society and the idea that we want and need more and more and more; it is often a concept that is forgotten.  I encourage my fellow SLP’s and moms to envision LESS IS MORE.  It is by far the best lesson that I have learned this summer, what about YOU?

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