Thursday, 30 July 2009

Multi-tasking: an insight into a woman/mother's mind

How to manage so many things in the space of 24 hours alone? Where men struggle to unload the dishwasher whilst waiting for the kettle to boil in the morning, we seem to function in a parallel universe that has our brains (and bodies) going into hypermode before the clock even hits 7am.

  • 5.50am - get up, put on running kit, go for 5.5km run (and remember to STRETCH before and after hitting the towpath)
  • 6.30am - unload dishwasher, clear and put away other items from kitchen sink/work surface/draining board, leave money out for cleaner (yes, even I have my limits) and note to change sheets please
  • 6.45am - go upstairs, hurry kids along (if already up - if not add extra 5 mins), ensure they have been to toilet and washed (hands, teeth, face), hair brushed and wearing matching socks (if appropriate), tell them they get 2 gold stars each if they can get downstairs and have breakfast without making a mess/whinging/crying/fighting
  • 6.50am - tidy their beds (they are actually very good themselves at this, I have to admit, given their age), open blinds, put all the bathroom paraphenalia back in rightful place (you know, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sponges, etc)
  • 6.55am - make own bed (as with clothes washing, hubby still seems to believe the bed magically makes itself), shower, brush teeth, get dressed, makeup, try not to look at wet bird's nest of hair and just think "it will look ok when it dries..."
  • 7.20am - downstairs, check kids bags/lunchboxes/sports kit, yell "get your shoes on" approximately 17 times before any action takes place; put on load of washing that you carried down with you and sorted (you think... will those old black boxers suddenly run?)
  • 7.30am - out the door looking like a donkey (have you tried to carry 8 bags of various sizes and weight whilst wearing a business suit? Keeps the neightbours amused, of that I am sure) with kids on bikes in tow; remember lock and key
  • 7.45 to 7.55am - drop off nursery/school/holiday club, lock up bikes, remember to leave key in pocket of baby cherub's bag (just in case)
  • 7.55am - race to station, BlackBerry on, catch up on emails on tube (only a good book vetoes this)
  • 8.30am - office: looks like Marie Celeste until 9.15... BLISS!!
  • until 4.30pm variously: work on new/existing projects, hold meetings, visit clients, write reports, update forecasts, participate in (seemingly endless) conf calls, do on-line grocery shopping, phone doctor for letter of referral, check parents have not expired with heatwave in Italy, talk to boss in the States, remember to get some lunch/get out for some fresh air/order flowers for best friend's birthday
  • 4.30pm - leave for second job via M&S (inspiration for dinner)
  • 5.15pm - home, change, washing into dryer, another load on, put clean washing away (yes, folded), set out snack for the cherubs, make cup of tea, answer some more emails/phone calls
  • 5.50pm - cycle to nursery/school/holiday club to collect kids, remember where you left key to lock, collect various bags/artwork/hats/dirty clothes to take home
  • 6 to 7.30pm - kiddie chaos (aka feed/bath/story/bedtime)
  • 7.30pm - prepare dinner, sort out that other load of washing, take delivery of grocery shopping, allow hubby to go to gym/cycling, ask kids to return to bed around 5 times and no they cannot stay up and watch that thing on TV with the man eating strange things (exception was tour de France highlights between 7 and 8pm - no Bear Grylls in sight thankfully)
  • 8 to 10.30pm - kid-free zone: sit down (interrupted only by conf calls with US)
  • 11pm - bed, BlackBerry OFF

And that's just the week days. Trying to coordinate more items (social events, parties, visitors, etc) during the Monday to Friday mayhem takes a little more lateral thinking. And organising.

To be fair, the other half pulls his weight (I can just hear him now, "I do my bit with the kids and around the house..."), so I am lucky.

The point is more that if we are able to do multiple things (mostly properly) at any given time, why do we get grief when other people fail to honour their part of the bargain? Maybe therein lies the truth: it is only a bargain if they agreed to it in the first place.

Men are renown for having selective memories...


  1. Hey, some guys are multi-taskers too!

  2. TD - I will grant you that as I can tell just by visiting your site that you cannot be anything but!
    Question is: how many things of those listed are you able to do at the same time? ;-)


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