I used to think I was a great multi-tasker. I could be on the phone at work, simultaneously typing an email, updating my “to do” list, answering a question with a nod or a gesture that someone near by was “mouthing” to me, thinking about what to make for lunch, admiring a photo on my bulletin board, and dreaming about some pair of shoes I wanted to buy all at the same time.
And as talented as I was, I would look with amazement at moms in action and think that they had some hyper-ability to multi-task that I had not even tapped into yet, which of course only becomes available once that baby comes tearing into the world.
But yes, I’d look at these women and wonder just how many things I would be able to do at once when that day came for me. I was already pretty good at this multi-tasking thing, so surely this would make me a champion multi-tasker. Surely this would be when my real talents would be unleashed like never before…
And then I became a mom for myself.
I will admit that there are moments when I feel like I’ve reached the pinnacle of multi-tasking success—like the time I chopped and prepared a salad for a dinner party with one hand while I breastfed my son with the other, debriefed the day with my husband, planned out the calendar for the rest of the week, and updated the grocery list. Yes, that was a moment of multi-tasking glory. But more often than not, my ability to multi-task seems to have floated out the window as soon as our little bundle of joy came bounding in the door.
I’ve discovered that this is especially true when it comes to the kitchen stove.
Let’s just say I’m glad that it’s very hard to burn canned soup. You know… the kind that is pre-cooked and just needs a quick warm-up on the stove?
The other day I realized at 3:00 in the afternoon that I had yet to eat lunch. By the time this fact actually made it into my consciousness I was so desperately hungry that I couldn’t wait for anything that would take more than five minutes to prepare… So, good old Campbell’s chicken noodle soup it was.
While it heated on the stove I thought I’d just get “one little thing” done… and before I knew it I had “cooked” my lunch for about 40 minutes. Yup, that’s about 35 minutes too long. I’m surprised there was anything left of it by the time I remembered. (And whatever happened to being “desperately hungry” anyway?!)
Just a few days before that I’d had another, shall we say, incident.
I had been pounding out emails with determination and focus in those precious few moments when my son was napping, and as I sat intensely typing away on my laptop—well aware of the race against the clock—I began to hear popcorn popping in the kitchen. “That’s strange,” I thought to myself, since of course I was the only one home apart from my little one…
Abruptly my mind was jolted back to remembrance as I visualized the paci’s that I had been sterilizing on the stove… an hour ago.
By the time I heard the “popcorn” the water was already completely evaporated out of the pot, the paci’s were well and truly brittle and burnt (and popping!), and my beautiful pot was completely charred. (The icing on the cake for this little episode was that these were paci’s sent over from America that aren’t available here to just easily replace. Sad.)
As thankful as I am that I’ve not yet burnt the house down, I can’t help but wonder if this is just a new-mommy phase that will soon pass, or if am I doomed to a new life of air-headedness.
I suspect that I will continue to have my multi-tasking moments of both glory and failure… But I’m just hoping that as I get used to this new gig those moments of glory will be steadily on the rise.
Either that or we’ll need to get extra smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher installed.
Oh mommyhood… you certainly bring lots of change.