On Multi-Tasking

‘CEO of own company.  Blogger. Mum. Columnist for XYZ magazine.’

‘Triathlete.  Mum of three. Founder and Head of ABC Charity.’

We see these goddesses in the mainstream media, on social media, inside the covers of newly released baby or cook books.  The mind boggles. How do they do it?

I feel like I’ve got this Stay-At-Home thing down to a science, at least most days.  But I don’t seem to have room for anything else, or the energy I should say.  I recently tried to join a choir, but missed too many rehearsals due to childcare issues, illness, and flat-out exhaustion.  I’m hoping to volunteer during the week, but I sometimes even wonder if I’ll be able to manage that.

I envy those women who seem to ‘have’ and ‘do’ it all and wonder if I have a personality flaw that renders me unable to juggle anything more than a house, a shopping list, and a 26lb toddler.

When I’ve thought more on this, I realise that the way I approach being a SAHM is about the same way as I’ve approached other initiatives in my life.  When I’m engaged in something, I put all my energy into it, I manage multiple things within that initiative well, and I generally succeed, but that usually means that I don’t have the energy reserves or often the desire to get involved in other things. I’m an excellent micro multi-tasker, but an awful macro multi-tasker.

In high-school, sure, I did a lot of extracurricular activities in addition to my studies, but probably not as many as most kids. I sang in the choir a couple of years, I was in the band a couple of years, and I played a sport most every season.  But being a good student mattered to me more, so my focus was on getting a good report card. In university, I was determined to have a high GPA and all that entails, so the only extracurricular club I joined was field hockey. When I joined the work force, I worked hard and long, I didn’t join any kick-ball teams, sing in any local choirs, volunteer anywhere, or regularly attend quiz nights at the neighbourhood pub.  Sure, there were a few exceptions to the above in my 10 years as a working professional, but you get the gist.

Sure, some people can get straight A’s and be President of the School Council or run their own demanding business with several small children at home, while at the same time maintaining a well-read website. But that’s just not me.  And I think it’s ok to recognise that in myself.

So, when it comes to being a mother, I’m all in.  I can multi-task a day of playgroups, nap time, meal time, appointments, school visits, nursery runs, crafts, and laundry – but by bedtime I’m just totally and completely spent with little left to devote elsewhere.

So, I’ll continue to cheer on those women who ‘do it all’ from the sidelines. I’ll write my occasional blog post and maybe volunteer a few hours a week, but my focus will be on the job at hand.  Being a damn good, multi-tasking Stay-At-Home mum.

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