I am only capable of doing one thing at a time.

It isn’t just about being unable to talk to my husband while the TV is on, or not hearing my children while I am reading a book (both of which are true…). It is much more complicated than that.

See, I can be your friend, but not while I am being a wife or a mom or a teacher or referee or maid or spaz or book-worm. I can’t multitask. My synapses are abysmally incapable of managing more than the simplest of loads, or they short-circuit continually.

This is easier to explain through example:

I cannot function if my husband and children and dog are in the kitchen while I am trying to cook supper.  I don’t know what I am supposed to do. I don’t know if I should talk to my husband or listen to the children or pet the dog or stir the pot. All I know is that people are talking and something is boiling and there is a dog in the middle of the floor and children are standing where I need to be and I smell something burning and I forgot to turn off the water and I need to get in the fridge but there is someone standing in front of it and where is the measuring cup and what am I looking for and I see you are talking but I can’t process what you are saying and please wipe that up and is there too much salt in this and what was I doing and why are you still standing there and EVERYONE OUT OF MY KITCHEN!!!! (while I take a few minutes to process this information overload and figure out what needs to be done…)

Then everyone stands there and stares at me like my ears just turned into artichokes and like we don’t do this every.single.night.

My point – I can’t even manage pleasant conversation with my family while cooking dinner. I am terrible at doing more than one thing at a time.

Someone always needs me. That isn’t a bad thing, but it is a THING. It means I have precious little time to separate from them to be other things.

This is also why you have to run to my children when they fall off the swing during play dates, or you have to get them drinks and food at the barbecue. I have to stop what I am doing (conversing, for example) and process what is happening and recognize that those are my children that need attention, then figure out what action is necessary. It takes about that long, too, because it is like trying to stop a freight train and send it in another direction in a matter of nanoseconds. It takes a tremendous amount of force to overcome my brain’s inertia.

I know what comes first. (Which is why the kitchen is so hard for me – all my priorities converge in one spot) That means on a day-to-day basis, I will not talk to you or call you for chit-chat or check in or anything at all, because my family and home are taking up my brain space. It isn’t personal. It is engineering.

This is why I beg you to just tell me that you need me.  Once I know, I can make time and be there and you will have my undivided attention. I promise. But I need you to tell me. Otherwise, I don’t know, and I don’t notice.

This is the best way that I can explain it. I know that it makes no sense to most people out there because you are thoughtful, intelligent people capable of balancing your demanding life. I wish I was that way, too.

I know that I come across as thoughtless. I see why one could think I just use people. It isn’t intentional. I just don’t have the ability to think.

It isn’t a conscious choice. It is an affliction.