Does this sound familiar to any of you? At about half 1 this afternoon I look in dismay around me. I have started and not finished the following; cleaning out the chickens, clearing out under the stairs, putting out washing, putting away washing, washing up, making a cup of tea, texting my daughter, replying to an email.. the list could probably go on for a while. I am fully aware that this is not a healthy way to go about life. In fact for someone who is only too conscious of how stressy she is, you’d think she’d learn. I read only recently about how ineffective multi-tasking is and that if you just concentrate on the one task, you do it better.. blah blah blah.. According to the American Psychological Society, multi-tasking is like overloading an air traffic control station.. and my air traffic control station is doomed… plus there is a ‘switch’ cost – you lose time every time you refocus on the previous task in hand. So I am actually wasting my time rather than being the super efficient domestic goddess I am aspiring to be.
So why do I do it? I really struggle to know. I think maybe it’s because I am hoping to get so much done in the day that I get distracted and think ‘oh, I’ll just pop the washing one .. oooh there’s dirt I’ll grab a baby wipe and clean it… ah! hang on a minute I meant to put the bin…. damn it.. those weeds need pulling out’.. A bit like Dory I guess.. but involving less water.
Years ago with my eldest child, I was breastfeeding from one side, talking on the phone and expressing milk from the other side. I personally thought that this meant I was a milk churning superhero. Apparently not. Both the bottle, the baby and telephone were all missing out on ‘quality time’.
Another thing I noticed today was that despite only wanting to do the one thing (ALL I wanted to do was make some very useful but probably never to be used key ring purses for gifts… basically a chance for me to use my sewing machine. Never an enjoyable experience as I oscillate between ‘Hallelujah! I’m the Queen of the Machine!’ as it glides seamlessly (ha) along the fabric and then ‘you fucking bastard shitbag cockwomble’ as the needle goes mental, picking up threads from the bobbin like a woodpecker on speed. Only I didn’t get to do this one thing. Simply because my children are arses. Lovely arses but arses. The youngest has adopted a right stroppy attitude towards doing anything you ask him and the middle one should have been named Tornedo due to the effect he has when he is.. well.. awake. In fact if I were to liken my children to the elements, I’d go for Hazy (EO walks around like she is stoned all day), Tornedo (destruction follows in his wake) and Sunny With a Bit of Thunder (LO is like Jekyll and Hyde). I literally am considering recording my voice and then just pressing play for a 12 hour playback… ‘put your shoes away’, ‘if it’s daytime, you don’t need the light on’, take your cup out’, ‘tidy your room’, ‘flush the toilet’, ‘flush the toilet’, ‘flush the toilet’, ‘have you brushed your teeth/washed your hands/wiped your arse’.
And the sewing machine could be likened to a siren as she sits in her hard case, calling to me, singing to me, lulling me in to the false sense of security that I could actually make an actual, fully functioning thing.. only it wouldn’t take the 30 minutes that the annoyingly optimistic pattern writer has given the project. No it will take fucking hours. Countless bobbins being rethreaded and tension altered.. needles discarded as they break because I am using the wrong combination of thread and fabric.. Oh My God I have had a HA HAAAH! moment. THAT’S why I have done everything else.. multitasking furiously like a women possessed.. it was to save my sanity.. because at least this way I can feel chuffed as Betty and Florence cluck their way around the garden knowing that that they can shit in a clean nesting box tonight (I know they shouldn’t be sleeping in their nesting boxes but you try telling them that).. and I can smile contentedly as the washing dries in the BBQ coal saturated air and I will drink that cup of tea at some point.. oops no I won’t.. already poured a G&T… Ah well… there’s always tomorrow.