Oh, what I would give to just start a task and complete it without interruption. If you have ever talked with me on the phone, you would hear me say at least 6 times, “Can you hold on one sec”. This is because I am a mom interrupted. There are tattles, and tales, falls and screams, spills and breaks, messes and poop..ahhh, why is there so much poop!
I get interrupted in the bathroom, the shower, on calls, in the office, doing laundry, washing dishes, in the bedroom, the yard…as a matter of fact, I have been writing this blog for more than a month with plenty of interruptions. I can barely finish a sentence without a child interrupting me, because I am a mom interrupted. I am actually being interrupted right now. Breathe.
I spend a lot, and I mean a very considerable amount of time trying to teach my children how not to interrupt unless it’s an emergency or very important. But the truth is, to them, everything is an emergency or very important. Sometimes, I think they are just trying to test me to see if my tasks are more important than they are. They are seeking connection, not attention, keep that in your pocket.
Needless to say, the intention of this article is to let you know that interruption is a trigger for me. It makes me annoyed, then mad then really angry…like smoke out of my ears angry. Let me try to put this into context for as someone who teaches emotional regulation and knows how not to get triggered (in theory) but still does! But in a transformational sort of way now. What? I am human…
Breakfast is already out for my kids when they get up, so one would think, when they are eating and I say, “does anyone need anything else before I drink coffee?” If they reply “No”, like sweet little baby birds, chirping their way thru their breakfast, I should not be bothered right?
Here it comes, hot, steaming, fresh organic coffee…life juice if you will, just barely on my lips for the first wonderful reviving sip. Interruption number one.
“STOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPP”, he screams, as that delightful sip goes from enjoyable to down my air pipe, so I choke for 5 minutes. There it is, the first interruption, I break up the fight over who had more blueberries, and proceed thru the morning. Nope, not an email, a post, a call, a meeting, a podcast, a grant proposal, a product order that was not interrupted. All teeny tiny triggers burning big holes in my composure one yell at a time. But alas, I am taming my triggers, so I breathe.
For me, I have to be careful how triggered I get, because it takes a toll on my mental health and I protect my vibe at all costs. I know that there are always, for the most part going to be interruptions, so I have to prep myself. My actual plan goes a little something like this:
I keep a tally sheet of triggers before I allow myself to be disrupted mentally. I let them add to 10 before I start to give myself a time out. This somehow for me says, oh, this is only number 8, you’re cool...just keep moving forward.
Now after 10, I start to go into full prevention mode, ensure every little person in this house, including animals have what they need, to lessen the interruptions. But it’s still happening, so now what. So now, I take little brain breaks for myself, a game on the phone alone, a meditation, a sip of the cold coffee that I didn’t get to finish from this morning, or I ask for help and leave the house.
As a side note, despite the fact, I stream meditation music from Alexa all day, the volume of screaming and talking in this house is about a 10 out of 10 on the noise meter. I came to terms with it years ago, so it’s not a trigger. Pick your battles, train your triggers.
Enter the age of covid homeschooling, and honey…mama’s “triggers” are becoming almost constant, so now what? I adapt, I give myself more space and more grace, and I am gentle with myself and those around me.
I give in to it, instead of fight out of it. You see, I must make a choice here. Am I going to add to my internal disruption of peace and turn into scary mommy ruining my children to stay on task or on schedule? No. I must come to terms with being a mom interrupted and for whatever that means to you, find ways to not let it affect you so deeply.
I really do understand your level of frustration with being interrupted, it’s rude, annoying and disrespectful…but it’s real life. And life is messy and complicated and glorious and giving and is constantly interrupting you. I am not giving into the bad or annoying interruption, I am simply giving into the moment, accepting it as it is, and moving forward in breath.
The choice of my response is the difference. I can rise to my big emotions and meet them head on. I can ask for help when it get’s to be too much and I can breathe, even when it feels like I can’t. Cry if you want to, take a time in for your feelings, meet your needs and just let the pressure release. Acknowledge how you feel, talk about it with your family and make a plan that works for you.
As they are growing, they are starting to acknowledge when I am working and will start by saying, “Mom, when your done…”, so that’s an improvement, I’ll take it and celebrate that small win. But I will always be a mom interrupted, and I get to choose the outcome of that trigger.
Today, I am able to choose peace over power and grace over growling and I like that. If we are not protecting our mental health, we are not preventing negative mental health outcomes.
Here’s to all my mom’s interrupted. Breathe, Communicate and Take Space.