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.
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.