Do What You’re Doing thumbnail

Do What You’re Doing

3 Things by KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times Motherlode

3 Things by KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times Motherlode


My friend Hanna Rosin wrote a great book called “The End of Men,” but what I want to write is “The End of Multitasking.” Away with this scourge! No more half responding to work emails while half talking to a kid. No more alternating cooking dinner with playing “Settlers of Catan.”

Work when you work. Play when you play. Read when you read. Ok, fine, knit while you watch television (I don’t actually knit, but that seems reasonable to me).

But as for the rest of it, don’t do it. Tell yourself you will work, and do nothing but, for the first two hours of that snow day (this is what Disney Playhouse is for) and then emerge from your office and be with the kids. Take another hour in the afternoon. By the end of the day, you (and have we figured out yet that when I say “you” I really mean me) will be a thousand times happier than if you had spent an entire day with your head half in the office and half at home. Same goes for the day you wanted to spend organizing, or pulling together your parents’ anniversary party. Do the work with all your might, then… stop.

I find this terribly hard advice to follow, but my life is dramatically better when I bring it off.


Every child needs a shelf.

I finally resolved, sort of, the question of all the art and paperwork that comes home with my four children, but what stymied me were the three-dimensional projects: the tea pots, the volcanoes, the disturbing clay Golums.

Each child has an Elfa drawer for the flat stuff, but they needed display space, and they needed it somewhere besides my kitchen shelves. So I cleared shelf space above the desks that belong to my two older children, and hauled out and emptied two full bookshelves for the youngest ones — and I didn’t put anything on them until the next art projects began to appear.

Now, only the most recent stuff goes on public display, but there is a place for everything else.


If you have a child who loathes shots, or for medical reasons needs a lot of them, Buzzy 4 Shots can help.

I met Dr. Amy Baxter, a pediatrician and pain researcher, while she was in Washington advocating for global vaccination through the Shot@Life campaign, and she showed me Buzzy. He’s a small vibrating bee with an ice pack, and he amounts to natural pain relief (for a variety of reasons, cold and vibration change the way our body perceives the pain of the needle).


I have a child who has had to be restrained for shots, and I know she’s going to be thrilled to gain some control over the experience. I can’t wait to try Buzzy — people who have say he’s a game changer.

(Ok, actually I can wait to try him — but I’m very happy to have him in my back pocket for the next round of vaccinations or flu shots.)


Contributor: KJ from New York Times Motherlode
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