Multi-tasking - It's overrated

on Friday, November 28, 2008

When asked how I *manage* to work full time from home in an "office" setting with two little ones in the house, my standard sing-song answer is:  It's the best of both worlds.  

I'm lying.  

It's not the best of both worlds.   

I'm so lucky!, I generally say.  

I'm lying.

I *am* lucky in so many ways, but most days, I don't feel that juggling my position in the company I work for and juggling the emotional, educational, recreational and fundamental needs of my  4 year old and 2 year old qualifies me as being lucky. 

When I'm told that I'm SO lucky that I begin my work day at 5am to finish at 1pm so that gives me an opportunity to be an "active" mother with my children, I want to dummy slap the mentally deficient person who failed to realize that by 1:00pm I've been SO active that there are cuts on my fingers from spinning plates and shards of china on my floor from all of the plates I've dropped and broken.

By the middle of the day I feel like screaming:  I'M DANCING AS FAST AS I CAN!

I'm tired of spinning plates.  I'm tired of juggling.  I'm tired of multi-tasking.  


When I'm having a Pollyanna moment, *which are frequent and not liquor induced*, I do realize that I am fortunate to be able to see my children grow, be available for their daily trauma and drama as well as the laughter and milestones.  But the reality is that I spend most of my day stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

Work, kids, aging fabulous mother with a multitude of doctor appointments and friends to visit, a house to clean, play dates to keep, parent participation afternoon preschool, 3 meals a day to figure out, ...and that's just the obvious stuff.  Add in business meetings, dinner parties, gardening, blogging!, all the stuff I couldn't say "NO" to and all of the stuff I didn't want to say "no" to and you've got yourself a multi tasking maniac.

Here is the worst part.  I'm a generally nice, fun, funny person to be around....however, when the multitasking maniac is in full throttle I am a hectic, annoyed, easily provoked power keg of angst.  I yell at the drop of a hat.  

How many of you guys can relate to this?  Raise your hands.  Ok, put them down...too many to count.

I have always been good at multi-tasking, but now see that multi-tasking has not been good to me.  I'm tired of splitting my view of my job, my kids, my mother, my husband, my *everything*......with everything else!

Get this....I took my mother to a doctors appointment today.  My husband took the kids out and about and there I a doctors waiting room... with my mother... for 3 hours....with nothing else to do...and nowhere else to be.  No kids, no work, no nothing....just uninterrupted time in a doctors office with my mother.  We actually talked...and we was fabulous. We didn't yell at each other.  There was no rushing or angst of what I needed to do next....just a relaxed afternoon with my full attention on one person.

I was giving my attention to one act, one person, one situation.

I want that. 

I want that frequently.

I want that with my children.

I want to raise them and enjoy them.  That's it.

I want to cook dinner...with infrequent interruptions....that's it.

I want to take a shower.  Every day!.  That's it.

I want to perform my duties at work without feeling that I'm compromising my children's emotional needs.  That's it.

I want to spend time with my husband...awake.  That's all.

Ok.  I'm done now.


Tooj said...

You can spend time with your husband awake? I didn't realize this was an option. Even when he's asking me for things/about things...I'm half asleep. LOL I totally sympathize with you. There's nothing more to say. The one thing my friend/working mother said to me that I keep trying to remember..."at least our children get to see us as busy, working, productive mothers who are providing for them AND still being mommy." I tell myself that it's still US they come running back to for hugs, kisses, and boo-boo fixes.

Pearl said...

I can totally relate. And it's almost like everything is a catch-22... if I weren't doing one thing that caused stress (working at home) I wouldn't be able to do another the things I put up with the stress for (spend as much time {note I did not say "quality" time} with my baby)... does that make any sense?

I do feel lucky to get to "stay at home" with my baby, but it is truly amazing how much work goes into "staying at home".

The Rambler said...

Visiting via the blog and can sooo relate to this post.

Ugh, if only I could divide into 4 of me and I'd be ok...and take a bath everyday :)