I do. I have child induced Attention Deficit Disorder which means I can’t focus on one task for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m not ashamed to admit I have this disorder, most mothers do. Scratch that, all mothers have child induced ADD.
It starts during gestation, though we don’t notice the degree of the disorder until after birth. In the beginning, during pregnancy, it’s innocent enough. You get excited about bringing a new child into the world, picking out cute little baby clothes, when to tell your boss, when to go back to work, if you go back to work. These thoughts take up a huge part of the brain during pregnancy, though they are completely overshadowed by the worry that comes with being a new parent. Worry that no one warns you about because if we knew about all the worry that comes with parenting no one would have kids. Add to that all the strangers who start touching your belly, asking you personal questions about breast feeding and the inevitable changes in your body that take place, it’s no wonder we can’t focus on our work.
After the child comes it’s nothing but constant distraction. Even once we are finished with the toddler stage of childhood and they can actually do things for themselves we still are constantly interrupted with stupid questions such as “what is the dog thinking now?”, “Why can’t I use a Sharpie to paint my nails?” and “Where is the hamster?!?!?”.
We might have come a long way baby but if you are a mother who works outside the home you don’t wonder why you get paid less than your male counterparts. You know why.
I know, them is fighting words, but the truth is men don’t worry about their kids when they are at the office like women do. And children don’t bother their fathers nearly as much as they do their mothers. If you are a mother and you work outside the home you know you get at least five calls or texts a day asking for something like money, to go somewhere, to do something or to tattle on a sibling. If you are a father you only get a call when something big happens like a broken leg or the house is on fire. And both of those calls usually come from the mother and not the child.
I’m not suggesting we aren’t productive, we just aren’t as productive as we could be because half our brain is worrying about the call that is coming. And, when the call doesn’t come we worry about that and call them.
Case in point: My ex husband, ex#2, picked up our daughter on Monday to take her to the pool so I could get some work done. He hadn’t had her in his possession for more than an hour before I got a call from him asking me what was in her teeth.
I didn’t know what is in her teeth, scrape it off with a toothpick, I suggested. He said he had tried, that it was like cement and he couldn’t get it off. I don’t know what he expected me to do about the stuff in her teeth. I couldn’t see it (not even in the picture he texted me), I didn’t know what it was and as far as I was concerned she was on his time and he should be able to handle this.
Now he is not a stupid man, he isn’t prone to hysterics, though she is and I could hear her getting panicky in the background. I suggested it was time for a teeth cleaning at the dentist and didn’t think much more of it. He called me back several times to ask me what it was.
“It’s epoxy” he said, somewhat accusingly.
I don’t have epoxy, I use Elmer’s glue for all of my adhesive needs, and if I did I doubt that my 8 year old daughter would go to the basement or garage, where it would be stored, mix it together and then apply it to her teeth. Sure, she has done some questionable things in her short life but she has been warned ad nauseum to stay out of the cleaning products, and to not put things in her mouth that weren’t food. Hell, she won’t even put vegetables in her mouth, I can’t see her putting epoxy in it.
I got 7 calls within two hours about the epoxy in her mouth. I was so frustrated I told him to take her to the ER if he was so concerned. Mind you I am sure it is just tartar or plague on her teeth and I made a mental note to set up an overdue dental appointment. He told me he was going to make some calls and handle it. Why he couldn’t have done that before calling me 7 times we will never know.
I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what was on her teeth. I Googled it, I asked all my friends if they knew what it might be, and of course they didn’t because they couldn’t see it anymore than I could. The point is now that I knew about the epoxy on the teeth I had to search my home to see if I actually had any epoxy which is like trying to prove a negative. Just because I don’t think I have any, and because I didn’t see any when I tore the house up looking for it doesn’t mean it isn’t somewhere in the house. She could have found some, smeared it on her teeth and then hid it because she knew she would cause all this trouble when she realized she couldn’t get it off her teeth.
Needless to say I didn’t get a whole lot of work done on Monday.
And that’s when the kids are gone. When they are here I can’t focus on a task for more than a few minutes because I need to be updated with the status of Justin Beiber’s relationship with Selena Gomez and then I need to be convinced that I am getting this news not because someone is jealous. Then there is the constant getting of things that are placed out of reach for safety’s sake. Scissors are stored above the fridge because I worry about my children running with scissors. If the scissors are stored in a place where the kids can reach then I just know they will spend the day running with them and holding them the wrong way. I have to constantly get up and monitor the scissor usage.
Guinea pigs are routinely placed on my desk while I am working.
Yesterday morning my son’s girlfriend stopped over. My son is 18 and his girlfriend is 19. I tell you their ages because they are both taller than me and can reach anything in the house that they might need. Everyone was eating cereal and I asked her if she had had breakfast yet knowing full well she had not. I offered her some cereal and started toward the kitchen to get the bowl down and pour the milk. I stopped myself and said she was a big girl and could do both of those things on her own without my assistance.
As mothers we grow accustomed to taking care of people. We cut their meat, we pour the milk, we do all those things because when they are little they can’t do those things. But, they do grow and they learn how to pour the milk without spilling.
School starts in about a month, 43 days to exact, and I can’t wait, but I know that it will take me at least three days to grow accustomed to them not being here, and I will still get up from my desk every five minutes because it has just become a habit.