Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trials of a Long Attention Span

I recently recognized one of my greatest parenting struggles. I have a long attention span. I don't enjoy flitting from one activity to the next and I hate leaving a task partially complete. If we're going to play blocks, let's play blocks. If I'm going to wash dishes, I want to wash all of them. If I have a book to read, I finish it in one or two days.

The problem is, Peter is 18 months old. And has the attention span of a gnat.

A cute gnat...

I've adjusted to his style of play by cleaning up one activity before moving onto the next. This takes more time and gives me the sense of order I crave. It helps me tolerate the attention deficit world I now inhabit!

For my own activities, it's a little more difficult. I've never been good at breaking things down into simple steps. I was one of those students who wrote the essay first, then went back and did the required outline. I don't want to do a little bit each day. I want to take one day and do everything, but this just isn't possible with a toddler.

I think the best solution for me is to do chores before they become significant. Wash the dishes every day instead of every few days. Do laundry as soon as I have enough for one load. And maybe start reading short stories instead of novels... Ugh. Parenting is tough for procrastinators!


  1. For a while I was trying to do the breakfast dishes in the morning, then the lunch dishes right after lunch. Then we went on vacation and came back and I never got back into the swing of it. But the problem I had with that is the breakfast dishes do not need a whole sink of hot water for themselves. So I would start on the pile of dishes from the previous night's dinner. Good, except I would inevitably get interrupted and leave dirty dishes in a sink full of soapy water. By the time I got back to it, the water would be cold and disgusting. So yeah, I like to finish dishes when I start them as well!

    (And Jon used to always study or write papers by doing a little bit a day over the course of a week or more. What a silly guy! Doesn't he know that's what the night before is for?)

    1. Sorry, your comment got buried in my inbox...

      Yeah, I lasted about a week keeping on top of them, but today they are threatening to escape the sink and run rampant over the countertops. Maybe a naptime chore? Here's hoping!