29 answers

Driven to Distraction!

I really just want to know that I'm not alone! I can't seem to fully concentrate on anything! There's just so much to be done and not enough hours in the day. I feel like I never accomplish enough. Every time I start to do something, one of the kids requires my attention - then I forget to go back and finish what I was doing. Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done in the house and for the kids. I just want to enjoy my kids!! I think the most frustrating thing is that my husband doesn't seem to understand. He actually does his share around the house and with the kids - he is home with them 2-3 days a week. He doesn't get why I'm so absent-minded!

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I call that 'mommy brain' and you should get used to it because my son is 8 yrs old and I still have it. lol

Don't feel bad, the same thing happens to me too. Try writing a list and putting it on the fridge that way you are constantly reminded and my husband is home on the weekends and does his share and tells me the same thing. It happens to everyone.

More Answers

Hi L.,

I am a SAHM of a very active 18 mos old little girl. She and her father are my world but I totally understand where you're coming from with the whole not getting stuff done. It really aggrevates me when my husband can come home and get more done in an hr than I do most of the day. However, I have found that even with daddy home, I am the go to person for my daughter. Mommy I want juice, or mommy I want crackers..etc. And I also have times when I am in the middle of something and my daughter will come over and move whatever is in her way and take my hand and say "mommy I want you". I have to stop and spend time with her regardless of what doesn't get done. I figure that if she is fed, clothed, and clean (after a bath at the end of the day b/c she doesn't stay clean throughout the day) then I am good. I get the sanitary stuff done like cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom and the laundry but the rest waits. This poem has really helped me out too:

Excuse this house (from Who got peanut butter on my daily planner: Organizing and Loving your days as a mom. Cindy Sigler DAgnan)

Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there
Ours boasts of it quite nicely. the signs are everywhere.
for smears are on the window, little smudges on the door
I should apologize, I guess, for toys strewn on the floor
But I sat down with the children and we played and laughed and read
And if the doorbell doesn't shine, their eyes will shine instead
For when I have to choose between the one job or the other
Though I need to cook and clean
First I'll be a Mother.

I hope this helps. Don't worry at some point you will strike a balance and learn that you are a mom....not a super person. My thinking is, would I get upset and be disappointed in my husband if he were home all day with the baby and didn't get X done. If I wouldn't be mad at him then I try not to get upset with myself.

Good luck,
D.

2 moms found this helpful

I feel the same way...and I am a SAHM of 2. I agree with the mom who said that dads just don't take care of kids the same way. For example, I occassionally do EARLY morning shopping on a Sat or Sun so my husband gets up with the kids. He might have dishes done, laundry folded, dirty laundry in laundryroom, kids fed, and the living room straightened up...but he kept the kids barricaded in the playroom the entire time. He didn't interact much with them. I don't parent our children that way. I feel they need more attention and supervision. I don't know if he would do things differently if he were home alone with them more often.

I also think that women usually have more to think about and consider in raising the kids and taking care of a house. I put the thought and effort into finding a pediatrician, keeping up on health issues, shopping for family birthdays, getting landscaper quotes, dispensing my son's daily meds, paying the bills, organizing family events, etc. There are always a ton of "extracurricular thoughts" going through my head that my husband never has to think about.

A few things that have helped me keep somewhat organized is trying to do things while the kids are sleeping. I also set a cleaning schedule (the kitchen is Monday's focus, the bedroom is Tuesday, etc). If you are interrupted in the middle of a task maybe knowing what room you are focusing on will guide you back to what you were doing. I also keep a "to do" notebook with sections for cleaning to complete, shopping lists for various stores, social events to plan or RSVP for, etc. I don't know if this helps, but at least you know that you are not alone. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

This is really helped me when my kids were around your age...

by Kathy Fictorie
based on "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it. She'll pour herself some. Her three-year-old will spill the coffee. She'll wipe it up. Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks. She'll remember she has to do laundry. When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer. Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper. She will get out a pound of hamburger. She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With A Pound Of Hamburger.) The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail. She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow. She will look for her checkbook. The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old. She'll smell something funny. She'll change the two-year-old. While she is changing the two-year-old the phone will ring. Her five-year-old will answer and hang up. She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee. Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup. She will pour herself some. And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.


You're not alone!

1 mom found this helpful

L.,
You are not alone! Personally, I feel that when women are on the delivery table--a good percentage of our brain cells are LOST! :) LOL
I don't think it's unusual at all to have difficulty concentrating and prioritizing what needs to be done. There are things you HAVE to do and things you WANT to do and we have to find a way to strike a balance between the two. I only have one child (5) and I still struggle with this.
One way I try to do it is use an hour or two in the morning to vacuum, dust get some laundry going and then after lunch have play time with my son. Or if I seem to be out and about most of one day, I try to stick at home the next to get things picked up, cleaned, put away etc. If your little ones nap at the same time, make that a productive hour or two (even though sometimes you just want to sit down & breathe!). If one naps and the other is not--try to engage the awake one into an activity that you can check in on from time to time and use that time to get dinner going, laundry, etc.
After my son is in bed (8-9 pm for the summer) that is basically MY time because my husband goes to bed early too, since he starts work very early. Sometimes just knowing that I will have that time later really helps get ya through the day!
Also, if you are like my (Type A, need to have a clean orderly environment, etc.) you do need to realize that some days just stink. Nothing "gets done" but maybe you will have a blast playing with your kids. That's OK.
Because, once in awhile, the planets all line up, the birds sing, the sun comes out, things go your way, you have energy to spare and it all comes together in one perfect moment!

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

Dear, do not take it too hard on yourself. Life is a challenge at every moment of our paths. That is why we are under constant pressure and test from our jobs, husbands, children, family members and friends. You surely are trying your best and every day you will improve your skills as a mom. No doubt about it. Now, your husband probably does not see the picture the same way you do. Work as a team, as a team of parents that need to show and teach the best to their children. There is no competition between who does it the best. It is a matter of achieving results side by side. I personally think you need a little break and do what you like the best, while your husband is taking care of your precious babies for a couple of hours once or twice a week. You deserve it for the hard work you do. I personally do it once a week with a 10 months baby that is adorable and a great husband who understands I need time to relax and recharge batteries for the rest of my life. So, my final suggestion is, go out with a dear friend of you to have a cup of coffee or have a massage for an hour in a place of your choice, or buy flowers for your room...Whatever makes you feel well...It is a matter of relax, see how lucky you are of having what you have and take it and hold it for life.

go girl

a woman therapist that specializes in "woman's issues" would totally get it.
AND she'd explain it to your husband (and you)!
I only have one, but a super-active one, and she explained that it gets to a Mom being on-call and vigilant 24x7.
I am not wording it right, but basically we Mom's are saturated or OVER saturated.
We need a good sitter OR "Mommy's helper". Find the time, find the money.
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! for "ME TIME".
I just, JUST started doing this after training a sitter for the past couple of months.
She said being in the house in another room, to get stuff done while they are watching the kids (or reversed) is fine, BUT we need to get OUT.
See a movie (for me it was Sex & the City, my first movie since his birth a year ago).
By yourself. GO to a pool, by yourself. (unless of course you want company).
It is overwhelming and you need time...to collect your thoughts, relax and be centered again.
SO then, you are refreshed and are a BETTER MOM!
Barb

You are soooo not alone!!! I am right there with you! I sometimes get to the point of not even starting jobs around the house, because I know I won't be able to finish. And I do not work outside the home. It makes total sense for us to have a harder time concentrating. Remember that no matter how involved your husband is, ultimately you are in charge. So we've got a lot more floating around in our heads. The Dad's can just play and get their few jobs done, while we worry about everything else. I've heard it called Mom-nesia! Cute little name for something so frustrating! Good luck!

L.,

You're so not alone! Is there anyway your husband can take your kids to their grandparents or other relative and they all spend the weekend there, or just one night,to give you a break and get some stuff done.
Do you ever get any "me time"? Time just for yourself, away from the distractions. It makes a world of difference.

Hey L.

I feel the exact same way. I have two little ones also, plus one on the way. I just stopped working FT 2 weeks ago as a paramedic and had hoped I would accomplish more when I was at home. Wrong! I feel like it is harder and more work being at home with the kids, critters and house work. Just like you I will start something, get sidetracked by one of the kids and never go back to what I was doing, it might take me 2 days to realize that I never finished ABC... The only thing I accomplish on a daily basis is showering( thank God) and vacuuming the floors on the first floor. I sometimes think I would lose my head if it wasn't attached to my neck. I lose things, and forget to do sooo many things. About your hubby, and I mean this in no way as a slight to any husbands/fathers because I am saying this from my own experience and observation with my husband, they are not as focused on the kids. For example tonight my husband was going to put my son to bed and my son grabbed his blanket and headed off to his bedroom and my husband was willing to finish what he was doing before following him, you and I both know that you have to go get him into bed before he wanders back out and then wants to do somthing else. I just think that the Dads have a different mindset when it comes to the kids, therefore they don't have the same absentemindedness we do because they aren't as focues on the kids needs as we Mom's are. I hope this theory is right because otherwise, I am just a complete failure at taking care of the kids and house.
I haven't found a solution yet and I really can't begin to image how bad it might get once #3 arrives! Hope you don't feel alone in this though!

Welcome to the club, L.!
I agree that since becoming a mommy, my brain and organizational skills have declined. As mommies, we've taken on more responsibility and hence things get forgotten and our attention is constantly divided. What helps me feel like I am getting things done, is either writing a list for all of the things that need done then each day I pick one job I would like to accomplish for the day (obviously in addition to those things that have to get done daily). If I get to it, great- if not, then I save it for another day. And some days it just doesn't happen... or oops, I forgot to finish cleaning up the lunch dishes. When I am working, I save big jobs for the weekends...
Hope it helps to know you are not the only one... just find what works for you and do not sweat the small stuff.

OK, when I started going through similar things (I once spaced out and missed my exit on the interstate) it turned out to be perimenopause. Get in touch with your ob/gyn, and ask the women in your family when they started menopause. Perimenopause (AKA pre-menopause) can happen years before your cycle goes out of whack.

I could be way off base but this is something to consider.....

What you are dealing with is definitely common but if you are really suffering from this and its bothering you a lot, effecting your moods, etc. consider talking to your doctor about it. Is it anxiety driven maybe? Is there any anxiety/depression issues in your family?

I know that since I've been on medications I am much more focused and not as scatter-brained. My mind was working on overload, along with the daily stuff and it was hard to deal with.

Email me if you want to chat.

Take care!

L.

Well, first of all, there are the HORMONES!!! Now ask yourself a couple of other questions... When you and your husband are both home, do your children come to you or your husband when they want something? If it is like my household, they come to me. I'm a stay-at-home mom who works very part-time (less than 10 hours a week) from home. I find that I don't get much done at home on a daily basis. NOT from lack of trying. My kids are almost 9, just turned 4, and 10 months old. My kids are very independent until I need to do something. Then they all want Mommy. My baby is especially a Mama's Boy. My 4 year old seems to miss the alone time he got before his brother was born and takes every opportunity to get some Mommy time as well. There are not enough hours in the day to get done everything we need to get done, especially while holding a baby and/or a preschooler, and trying to keep up with the mess they are making as we are working around the house. Along that same line, ask yourself, when the kids are sick or wake in the middle of the night, who gets up with them? In my household, it is rare for it to be Dad. Since I stay-at-home, I don't begrudge him his sleep but I also know I will be moderately sleep deprived until my youngest starts school.

Next, ask yourself, what is it your husband is doing differently when he is home that you aren't? Is it just that the kids cling more to you when you are home? Is there something he does to get them to help or keep them occupied while he gets housework done? If you don't know, don't be afraid to ask him.

Also, I have seen a lot of people on here as well as Moms from my moms group recommend looking at flylady.com. I've been told it is very helpful. I've liked some of the tips but haven't gone for the whole program yet. It seems to work for a lot of them, though. I've also found it helpful to take a little time every week to every other week to declutter. I pick a different area each week (and as implied in the previous sentence, skip it if I don't get a moment to do it in a given week). It does really help, though, when there is less you have to pick up.

Anyhow, I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck. I firmly believe time with my kids is more important than a spotless house and will continue to live in moderate chaos with happy children and a happy me.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!! I work only 3 days/week, I have 3 kids, and my husband helps with the kids, but doesn't do anything around the house. I often feel like a dog chasing it's tail, getting nowhere fast! If I don't make lists for everything, I'll start one household chore, but forget that school uniforms need to be washed, or to call and make doctor appts. I'm sure it will get better, but not before I put the kids out and read the dog a bedtime story! I once fell asleep standing at the kitchen sink! Hang in there, God knows I'm trying to.

you need a plan & a routine. You should visit www.flylady.com. I found her website to be very helpful. She teaches you how to organize & prioritize your life (its free). Take some time & read her stuff. It's really helped me. Good luck.

L.,
You are definately not alone. I think these days with everything that is going on, most of us are living life in the fast lane. I work full-time outside the home, I have 3 children (16, 14, and 5)and they are all busy. My two oldest daughters go to 2 different schools they are both active in band, and my youngest daughter plays basketball. My 5 year old will start school in the fall, and he will be going to a different school than either one of the girls. I just bought my oldest daughter a car. In addition to all this mess we just moved into a new house in March and we have added two puppies to our zoo. Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy. I don't really have any words of wisdom for you other than to just take one day at a time. Spend as much time with your babies while they are small. As they get older it just gets busier. I forget things all the time and the one way I have learned to cope with this is that I have 2 calenders that I have to look at all the time. One I keep on my desk at work and one is a planner that I keep in my purse. I write down every event, or appointment I have going on. If I didn't, I would be completely lost. Don't worry, I have lots of unfinished things that need to be done.
Best of luck with everything.
Kristin

it sounds like you are having such a hard time! you certainly have a lot on your plate! i feel the way you do and i have one child and am not working outside of the home right now.

maybe if you made to do lists it would be easier to go back to what you were doing? also, i know there are a million things that need to be done, but are there any you could let go? is your husband accomplishing tasks when he is home, and can he pick up more? is it possible you are having post partum depression?

please contact me in private if you need someone to talk to more.

Have you ever been tested for adult ADD or adult ADHD? I had that problem alot. I'm a mom of two kids, and until recently, worked outside the home. But I simply could not focus on anything for long. I could put a kettle of water on and leave the kitchen, and forget it was on! That was becoming dangerous for me so I talked to my doctor about it. He tested me and discovered I had Adult ADD. I am now taking Concerta and all is much better.

Two things:

1) this sounds like it's coming from left field... get your thyroid checked.. one of the side-effects of hypothyroid is absent-mindedness... Seriously, after just a week on Synthroid, it felt like my memory/attention span totally recovered...

2) men are better at "ignoring" childrens cries. I don't mean ignore in a bad sense, but mothers/women are quicker to react to their children's pleas. My husband and I both work and are about 50/50 on housework - if I have errands to run and he keeps the kids - somehow he gets all his "stuff" done... if I have them and he's gone - forget it... your three year old is old enough that he can "help" - that might keep his attention long enough to get a couple things done at least...

good luck
T.

Hey L.!! Boy I understand what you are going through as most of the Mom's here do! You are not abnormal, you just need a few hints and a breather!
First, make lists! What you HAVE to do. What you WANT to do. Some people do this weekly, some daily. Deciding what is really important (hey, the dust isn't going any where...do you HAVE to do that today or can it wait another day?) is the hard part. I don't have a "white glove" clean home, but my house looks good, and when my kids were your kid's ages the dust wasn't (and still isn't) as important as spending time with them! The second thing you have to do is get rid of the "I can/want to do it all super-mom" idea. IT is really hard to work (full or part time) outside of the home and try to do it all at home as well, even if your hubby does help. I have been lucky enough to have had the chance/opportunity to work full time, work part time, and be a SAH Mom over the years. I started with using lists back in the 50+ hours of work days, and still find them usefull to keep myself on track since. Even if you don't get everything done every day, at least you have a process, a plan, and a way to see what you are getting done through out the day. I am sure you are getting more done than you realize, but things get "lost" along the way! Hang in there...make lists that you and your hubby can work on together during the course of your day....that way you are both on the same page and will both feel like your accomplishing things!! Good luck & best wishes!!

L.,

There is nothing wrong with you! As an outsider looking in, I can tell you that maybe the problem is your husband and your's expectations.

Your kids are at a tough stage. My girls at 3 were in constant motion, and checking out all of the boundaries. That meant seeing what they could get away with, what they could get into, and then how they could get out of it!

Your son is probably getting ready to walk, or at least crawl, which means that at all times, even (or especially) when your daughter needs attention, you need to keep one eye focused solely on him. This alone will tire you out!

I think that this is time to sit down - alone - with your hubby. Either after the kids go to bed, or if possible, have a sitter come over and go get coffee and talk. You work a lot of hours, and it may be time to figure out what responsibilities lie where. My husband and I had this discussion behind a burger joint over a coke. Basically we went through household chores, and divided them up. I have more time, but he is really better than me at a lot of things, and he enjoys vacumming. So guess what he does.

The other thing is this: I asked him to name 3 things that he would like done every single day. He named 3 things (unloading the dishwasher, making sure his work clothes are clean for the next day, and picking up the toys off of the family room floor). I just told him that I would try my very best every single day to get those things accomplished, BUT there were days when I would get them done and nothing else. That is just the way it works out sometimes!

Good Luck!
-C.

Hi L. -

Thanks sooo much for asking this question. I feel the same EXACT way. My children are also the same age. Doesn't the 3 year old just literally make you run in circles? It's an amazing age from one perspective...but I literally get dizzy sometimes keeping up with mine.

I have found many of the responses so helpful and the poems, especially the one about the mom and her morning coffee, (that sums up some of my days) perfect and funny.

I also agree with the women who said to make some "me" time. If you figure out how to do that one please let me know.

Hang in there...sometimes knowing you're not alone and that your children are behaving "normally" is all you need to know. : )

Feel free to email if you need an ear or a boost!

R.

Even if your husband does his "fair share", you are still the mommy, and I'm sure you feel or do more than is expected of you. I've struggled with the same feeling that I can never get anything done, but at the end of the day, I'd rather spend more time with my baby than have a clean house (and I was always totally OCD with the cleaning before the baby). I find what helps is if I make sure I put aside at least 30 minutes for myself in the morning and in the afternoon just for "mommy time"....to do something relaxing like reading or watching TV....then I feel more refreshed and able to get more things done. You can do this while your kids are napping, and if the older one doesn't nap, assign him/her an independent task/game (out of sight but within safe ear shot) that will give you at least 15 minutes of peace. Also, I am an avid fan of making lists. At the beginning of the week I will make a list of things that need to be done and assign a day to each task....I feel good if I've accomplished at least 50% of what I had hoped to do.
If all else fails, blame the hormones!
J. W

You are not alone. I see from the responsed that you got that we are not the only ones. I feel like you were stating my life story. Keep your chin up.

Don't feel bad, the same thing happens to me too. Try writing a list and putting it on the fridge that way you are constantly reminded and my husband is home on the weekends and does his share and tells me the same thing. It happens to everyone.

i call it mother timers!!!you are not alone we have to much on our plates!!!if you figure it out and find time to get it all in let me know what you did..you are doing great..it will get better as they get older

I call that 'mommy brain' and you should get used to it because my son is 8 yrs old and I still have it. lol

Hi L., you are not alone! The hormones we have that allow us to become mothers perform miracles (our bodies are able to carry and give birth to babies, and then there is nursing, and many other wonderful things), but nothing that good comes without its negative effects. Absentmindedness, forgetfulness, and just plain stupidity (it seems),not to mention lack of sexual drive. I have found that the best way to cope is to accept it (that you are indeed different and that you need different tools) and to gather some tools that can help you get organized, to prioritize, and to perform better (since moms nowadays have a miriad of responsibilities). Here are some tools I use to keep on track:
Lists (groceries, what needs done today (with a timeline for I hope to get them done by, this helps with structuring my day and keeping focused), etc.)

A calendar where I write everything (appointments, when I or my kids start and finish medicines, events and fun things to do (so I don't forget they are happening), when bills are due, symptoms (if they feel like they are acting sick or if they haven't pooped), when I get my period (that's specially helpful to my husband), friend and family's birthdays, etc.

A filing system (I use drawers and magazine holders) where I put bills to pay, coupons, things to do (like if I get a flyer for the circus), documents to save (like statements etc.), and other (like invitations I need to rsvp to, or other things I have to respond to but aren't bills).

Dear L.,
I feel bad for you because I have the same problem and can really relate to what you are saying. I have found that if I get some protein, especially early in the day, I am less spacey and can usually focus a bit better. Try it. Maybe even a bit of protein with every meal or snack, and maybe it could help. The other times I have noticed more mental clarity is when I've had a little more salt than usual. Or soy sauce. It is worth finding a natural salt - Real Salt is great, or an unrefined sea salt. Good luck. I'm glad you wrote in because it will help me remember to take my own advice!

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