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When you lose the ability to multi-task

Sunday, December 11, 2011 Leave a Comment

I used to be a good multi-tasker. I was efficient and quick, and could juggle several things at once.

Then I had kids.

With a newborn, it's just to be expected that you cannot multi-task, you're not meant to. Nursing while watching infomercials is really the most you could possibly handle. But this grace period ends after a couple of months. By the time they're toddlers, you're unstacking the dishwasher while cutting up fresh strawberries while updating Facebook while planning out a full week of meals. And clipping coupons.

And then you have two kids, and it all unravels.

I have completely lost the ability to multi-task. Laundry is now one continuous job, with no beginning and no end. I remember being horrified by advice to a new mom on the Stapleton Moms Yahoo list suggesting she not bother folding the clean laundry. Now, it seems like a reasonable suggestion.

On any given day, the breakfast dishes don't get done until dinner, and it may take all morning to get groceries put away. I don't understand how it happens, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with constant requests for juice or snacks or Dora or a snuggle. I can't remember the last time I vacuumed a whole floor in one fell swoop.


To combat the perpetual clutter, I've taken to gimmicks like this one: set your kitchen timer for 15 minutes and clean like mad. Pick a task, and complete it.

I have yet to finish anything more challenging than unstacking the dishwasher in the allotted time.

I wonder: is this temporary? Will my multitasking abilities return?

2 comments »

  • Amber said:  

    Maybe you're leaning toward your man tendencies because my husband CANNOT multi-task!!!!!

    I often wonder what kind of a mother I'd be juggling all the social media today with my kids when they were babies. Would have helped me through those long, colicky nights for sure. :)

  • Liz said:  

    Come to think of it, my husband is single-minded, too. And now we have all the tools to help multitasking... I get out my iPhone and iPad and am still one thing at a time...