The Multi-Tasking Myth

In today’s world multitasking is king. Women are commended for their ability to have a million things on the go at once and men are teased for their supposed lack of ability to focus on more than one thing at a time. 

But is multitasking really all that it’s cracked up to be? 

I hear from many women, mum’s in particular, that it is utterly exhausting and quite often ineffective to have so much on our plates. Just the mental dialouge and to do lists alone are wearing us out. We’ve been raised to believe we can have it all; a successful career, fulfilling family, a body like Michelle Bridges and a sex life out of an episode of Sex and the City. But can we really?

Maybe we can. Just not at the same time. 

I recently read ‘Happy Mama’ the guide to finding yourself again by Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. In the chapter on Grace, Amy talks about the ‘multi-tasking trap’ and it really struck a chord with me. She dared to suggest that multitasking doesn’t work and that it was actually the “source of most of my meltdowns, most of my tears and most of my shameful mummy moments”. 

As Amy went on to give some examples, it was as if I’d written it myself. The times when I have lashed out at my husband or kids is usually when I’m trying to do too many things at once. Cook dinner, send business emails, show interest in my husband’s work day, soothe a hungry baby and make a bottle for an impatient toddler all at the same time. Not to mention the internal dialogue that’s constantly screaming in my head, reminding me to pay that bill, put a load of laundry on, text my friend who’s had a rough day and what groceries we’re running out of.

Arrggghh….just writing it stresses me out.

In the book Amy says that she learned to be ‘mindful’ (isn’t that the word of the day!), to be aware of her thoughts and focus on one thing at a time. Giving that moment her full attention. She goes on to give examples of reaching for her phone while breastfeeding instead of soaking in the special time with baby or reading a bedtime story but not actually hearing the words you’ve read, as your mind is too busy thinking of other things. 

I’m reading this getting all geed up. Yes! I’m going to be mindful. I’m going to focus my attention on one thing at a time. I’m going to be present and available for my children. And then a thought hit me. How the hell am I supposed to get anything done!?!

If I can’t read while I’m breastfeeding or send emails while cooking dinner or write my shopping list while playing with my toddler then when can I? When everyone’s asleep at night? Then when the hell do I sleep??

Multitasking might be the enemy and cause of our stress but maybe it’s the only way to fit it all in sometimes?

I don’t have the answer to this dilemma. And maybe there isn’t one. I suppose it comes down to what’s important vs what’s urgent.  

And what’s important to me is that my husband and children feel valued and not constantly battling for my attention. 

On that note, time to put the phone down and turn off the internal dialogue for a few minutes. It’s time to go give my big boy a piggy back and make silly faces at my baby to make him laugh. 

You know, the important things ❤️

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