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by Jeannie MacDonald  |  5248 views  |  6 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Warning. What I am about to say may shock, horrify, and yes, even repulse you.

It may run contrary to one of your core beliefs. It may seem like an impossible feat. You may shake your fist at the screen, shrieking, “Jeannie, you don’t know what you’re saying!” I’m going to say it anyway.

Stop multi-tasking.

I’ll wait while your world spins off its axis. (It didn’t? Hmmm. Imagine that.)

Professional mothers of America, we’re driving ourselves crazy. And we’re the only ones who can end the madness.

I propose a new approach: “Uni-tasking.” I know this concept is heretical to most mothers, who pride themselves on pumping breast milk while re-grouting the bathroom tile. But please. The next time you’re on the phone with a friend, resist the urge to also read your e-mail, flea-dip the cat and give yourself a bikini wax.

Try simply listening and talking. You’re always saying you don’t have any time to yourself. Guess what? This is what time to yourself looks like, as long as you don’t cave to the compulsion to fold laundry and unload the dishwasher while you’re doing it.

Similarly, when you’re shuttling the kids to soccer practice, do yourself a favor. Don’t eat a quarter-pounder, apply mascara and check your Blackberry. Watch where you’re going. Talk to your children. Breathe.

Still can’t picture it? Well, think of it this way. If nothing else, uni-tasking’s a great way to tick off those “Can You Top This?” Mothers.

You know the ones. If you say, “I was up at 6, made French toast, packed the kids’ lunches and dropped off the dry cleaning before work,” the “CYTT?” mom will respond, “Oh, that’s nothing. I was up at 4, ran a marathon, repaved the driveway, gave birth to triplets, and made placenta casserole for dinner.”

If you’re having a bad period, she’s hemorrhaging. If your kid wins a spelling bee, hers wins a Rhodes scholarship. If you’ve had a fight with your husband, she’s dismembered hers with a chain saw and sold his kidneys on eBay.

You can never top her. You should never try.

Besides, why do we need to justify to the world – particularly other women -- that we’re busy? Juggling marriage, kids and a job (whether at home or outside it) is busy enough. Throw in a toddler with strep throat, a puking dog and an upcoming in-law visit and “busy” doesn’t begin to describe it.

About the Author

Jeannie MacDonald is a freelance writer, wife, and mother of one, who lives on the New Hampshire seacoast.

Read more by Jeannie MacDonald

6 comments so far...

  • OMG - Jeannie - I know you! BC alum friend of my ex ... I enjoyed this article - you are a hoot!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Bee Gatti on 6th June 2009

  • LOL!!! I love it! I was driving myself crazy and making myself sick. I do one thing at a time now. Things are hard enough as it is.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by PullingmyHairOut on 11th March 2008

  • Jeannie -
    i always enjoy your take on life!! I could actually hear your voice while I was reading your fab article....

    Just love & adore your words of wisdom!!! I have stopped multi-tasking; it's great!!! xoxoxoxoxo

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Ally Goldsby on 23rd April 2007

  • I left work early today to spend a few hours with my husband before going home to our daughter - and I forgot my blackberry at work. He said it was the most enjoyable few hours with me in a while:)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 14th April 2007

  • Multitasking is a true addiction! I often have to fight this urge of looking at my blackberry while in a meeting! Why - because i think i can handle both at the same time....which is not quite true :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Victoria on 13th April 2007

  • I am going to try this today! its a start, but multitasking is truly an addiction!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by kelly on 13th April 2007