Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Multi-tasking Mothers

By: L.A. Kohl
April 28, 2005
(Published in the Wed., May 4, ’05 edition of the “Bullseye”)

As Mother’s Day approaches, I wanted to write something that would be fun for all of you amazing women out there. As I thought about it, I couldn’t get away from the idea of “multi-tasking."

That is a pretty new term, isn’t it? (I’m not always in-the-know about what’s new and not new.) One of those modern buzz words that people like to use?  It may have originated as a computing term, but I’d be willing to bet it was a man that transformed it into a word that we now use in everyday life. Can't you just see some guy, quite proud of himself for having talked on his cell phone to a client while he was also driving to his son's soccer match, thinking, “Wow – this is the modern man – able to do more than one thing at a time. We’ve got to come up with a term for this...” And the rest is “buzz word” history.

However, all of you women out there know that it is not a new concept. I believe we have been multi-tasking for, more like generations. Our grandmothers called it something like “killing two birds with one stone”. To us, it’s as natural as breathing. Different women have different things that they multi-task...but we are all very familiar with it.

I, for instance, can give a spelling test and type an email at the same time. Or go over a language assignment while making lunch. Or brush my teeth while rotating laundry from the washer to the dryer. You get the picture. I imagine other women out there do things like talk on the phone to a client while planning what they’ll fix for supper after they get home. Maybe some walk the dog and push the baby stroller around the neighborhood, while getting their daily “work-out." Some can talk to their husband and wipe a toddler’s nose, while listening to a child explain when his next ballgame is going to be. The tasks themselves are endless and varied – but the point is, they are “multi!"

I know some of you men out there are thinking, “Well, don’t males ‘multi-task’ also?”

My foremost point of reference in that regards is my husband. That may not be a fair representation of all of mankind, as he’s the king of “I can only do one thing at a time." (He would prefer to call himself "focused.")

It really throws him for a loop if he’s on the phone and a child runs up and asks him a question. It can cause him to go into a near vegetative state – he suddenly can no longer comprehend what the person on the other end of the phone is saying, or what the child is asking. The only thing that seems to cross his mind is, “Oh no, I’m being bombarded with two things at once!”

Either that – or the child may as well be invisible and mute, because their dad hasn’t got a clue that they’re talking to him. I just laugh every time it happens, and think to myself, “I love him, but it’s a good thing he’s not the mom!”

So anyway, here’s an idea for all of you “focused” men out there. Give that special woman in your life a wonderful Mother’s Day by trying to make sure she doesn’t have to multi-task during this one day out of the year.
Good luck with that might as well try giving her the day off from breathing.

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