On average, I set the fire alarm off twice a month. This morning was no exception. In fact, it probably upped my average. As Jairek quickly ran to the kitchen making sure there wasn’t actually a fire this time, I put my mascara away and quickly, yet nonchalantly, walked over to the kitchen. I was less worried that there might be a fire because we know (read: I think) our fire alarm is incredibly over dramatic. Really, I was far more concerned that I burned his breakfast (yet again)… While he waved the smoke out the doors and windows, we joked about how I should have my own cooking show, which would actually be more like a comedy show probably titled “How NOT to Cook”.
Especially during moments like this, I’m incredibly grateful he knows and understands the differences between men and woman and our processes for getting tasks done. Differences such as, men are incredibly single focused, while women have extreme diffused awareness (for which I am a poster child). We understand how we of us operate, thus it allows us to laugh at ourselves and enjoy these outrageous moments rather than get upset at each other because he thinks I’m going to burn the house down, which I’m not going to… I swear.
So what is diffused awareness exactly? It’s that amazing talent women have to think, do, act, and feel all while doing something totally, and I mean totally, different. Disclaimer #1: I have to give massive props to my homegirl Alison Armstrong who does an amazing job of breaking this down for us. Diffused awareness is the way a woman, or ‘gatherer’, operates. While it may appear to has a single task at hand she’s working on, inevitably she’s always gathering, sorting, and analyzing additional information about something else. Essentially, she’s always aware of a variety of different events happening at once and likely partaking in them, too!
This morning is a prime example of diffused awareness, making breakfast WHILE getting ready and thinking about what I had to do today. Though I was in three places mentally, logically I should be able to finish getting ready before it was breakfast was done and definitely before the smoke alarm went off. This isn’t the only time we do it however, while we are driving, running, having a conversation with you, you name it and our minds are engaged (mostly) yet wondering (slightly). Disclaimer #2: Diffused awareness is only efficient and effective when used properly and safely.
On the flip side, men are incredibly single focused. They focus and do one.thing.at.a.time. That’s exactly why you think he’s not listening to you… because he’s not. He’s (single) focused on something else. Don’t worry, he’s not ignoring you. I promise. The only way you’ll likely be able to break his focus is by a setting off the fire alarm… I’m kidding. I’ll talk more on this later in another post.
Men – understand that women are not single focused like you. We are always doing or thinking about multiple things at once. It’s simply how we are wired. We do not mean to give you anything less than our undivided attention, which you so much deserve, and we will work on it.
Woman – slow down and pay attention to him, or to the stove, or to whatever it is that’s going on in front of you (note to self). Sometimes our diffused awareness takes away from our ability to be present. Be present and enjoy the moment.
To Jairek: Thank you for running to protect us when the fire alarm went off and for laughing with me about my cooking show. I promise to be more present in the kitchen and to not burn our house down.