Kids be like, “Excuse me while I interrupt you being interrupted with my interruption.”
Having three young kids is wonderful. I am grateful. My family did not feel complete until our third child came into the world. But whether you have one child in your family or 10, the interruptions are going to happen. This was no surprise to me. I knew becoming a mom would mean setting things for myself aside. I knew my body, time, and freedom would belong to these tiny humans for many years. However, I did not expect the constant and consistent interruptions.
We all see the memes of parents being interrupted while in the bathroom. We hear the stories of parents never sitting down for a meal. We laugh and say, “Yes, me too.” But for me, it is the mental interruptions on top of the physical interruptions that have me totally exhausted these days.
And due to extreme mental exhaustion, when my kids do interrupt my thoughts, I can never get them back. It’s like when you go to your bedroom to get something only to totally forget what you need, so you stand in your room frustrated for a few minutes until you give up. It’s like that, only in my mind.
I’ll think of something important I need to do (email a teacher, talk to my husband about one of the kids’ behavior, make a dentist appointment, text a friend), and then with one kid interruption the thought is GONE! So quickly — just gone. I’m constantly telling my kids, “Give Mommy five minutes to do something important.” But they can’t — they simply cannot wait to request a snack, ask for a tissue, complain about a sibling, or tell me about this awesome YouTube video.
When I am a little more on my game, there are a few things that help me with all the interrupting:
Write it down.
I try to keep a pen and a notepad or scrap of paper around to make a quick note (usually one word) of what I am thinking about.
Text a partner.
I’ve told my husband he will receive random texts from me while he’s at work. No need to respond. This is just me making the mental note — before it permanently leaves my brain — of something we need to discuss.
Accept that the interruptions will be a part of your life. Set boundaries, for sure (no interrupting while someone is speaking). But also accept that kids live in the moment.
I never want my kids to feel like they cannot tell me something they are excited about or need. Maybe dropping everything to watch the awesome YouTube video will be what my kids remember. I want them to feel heard, acknowledged, and understood — even if it means my thoughts are interrupted. I want them to feel like their words matter — that their voice matters. Because their words and voice are our future. And if they feel heard as children, they will know their words are important.
So while the interruptions may throw me off — yes, every single day — I trust my kids will grow up to use their words to advocate for themselves, for our planet, and for other humans.