The Curse of the Multitasker*

I am a multitasker by nature.  Maybe it’s because I’m a female and we’re hardwired for multitasking because we’re destined to produce children and being able to do 7 things at once is just part of the job description of “Mother – Master of all things chaotic”.  Or, maybe it’s because I’m a type A personality, requiring organization, lists and control to feel satisfied.  Or, maybe it’s because I’m high-strung and this is the only way to exert my over abundance of energy.  I don’t know, but what I do know is that multitasking is what I do.

I don’t enjoy going to the theatre because the smell of popcorn makes me drool because sitting still for 2 hours without something in my hands to do is impossible.  I end up shredding a tissue, fidgeting or getting up to pee 8 times.  Subsequently when we’re home, I’m either knitting, crocheting, cross stitching, baking, cleaning, list making, organizing or blogging while watching TV or a movie.   If I’m making dinner I’m usually also doing dishes or writing out the week’s menu.  Dressing kids, I’m also making beds and putting away laundry.  And let’s not even talk about what’s going on in my brain while all this is happening – the activity abounds!  You get the picture…I need to have more than one thing going at a time to feel useful. 

If I don’t I feel like I’m being lazy.  Like I could be doing more, like a gigantic sloth who seriously needs to get the lead out. 

Which is why driving is one of my least favourite activities.  When  you’re driving, you can only do driving.  I mean I still micromanage my children, use my bluetooth (hands free) and talk to my husband and almost always occassionally sip a Starbucks – but that’s it.  It drives me MENTAL! (It may also be because I cannot control the behaviour of the other drivers and this in itself is upsetting.  Either do it my way or park it!)

My head is always spinning with lists I need to make, but it’s seriously frowned upon to have your planner (which resides in my purse and short of coming to bed with me, is my right hand lady.  Next to my iPhone – of course) duct taped to your steering wheel so you can write things down.  I compose many a blog post in my head while maneuvering traffic, that subsequently never happen, because while I rock the multitasking, I take a total “F” in the memory department.  Apparently childbirth causes your brain to turn into a human sieve that only catches 1/3 of what it creates or acquires.  I think of texts to send (we DO NOT believe in texting while driving.  It kills.  Period.), emails unanswered and commitments that need fulfilling.  All things that I’d love to get done but because of the whole “hands on the wheel” brouhaha I’m bound and unable.  It’s sheer torture!

Corey doesn’t get it, at all.  He does one thing at a time (and he does it well) and would never even consider trying two things.  As I’m running around folding laundry, while watching the kids in the backyard and talking on the phone making arrangements for preschool and playdates the following week – he’s tying his shoes and thinking of, well, tying his shoes.  Then onto thing number two, standing up…

When we first got married, it drove me nuts!  I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t with me on the whole, bazillion tasks at once thing.  Corey would be doing something, I’d ask him to add another, he’d give me a blank stare.  I’d storm off in frustration to do it myself.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Then I got wise (or my Mom had a serious discussion with me) and I realized that God’s wired us different.  I know, weird right?!  We don’t just have different dangly parts but the stuff on the inside of our heads?  Totally different too.  (Except the part that thinks farts are funny.  That’s the same.  I just know how to stone face it, and pretend I’m totally appalled, while the 5 year old living inside me is laughing until she farts too)

While I can multitask everything on my plate and do it well, not missing a step or leaving something unfinished, Corey can’t.  He knows that if he does more than one thing at a time something will be left undone.  Something will be done wrong, or someone could get seriously hurt.  So, instead of try to keep up and fail, he masters his one thing at a time, doing it well, until he’s done ready to move onto the next task.

I’ve learned to not ask too many things of him at one time (most of the time.  Sometimes I forget, and ask him to think of what to do the next day, while brushing his teeth.  Then I get the blank stare and I have to wait) and to try my very best not to blow a head gasket when he does things slower than I do be patient with his life pace.  He’s learned that if I’m in multitasking overdrive his best bet is to take the kids outside, and steer clear.  Getting in my way is something like a mosquito flying in the path of a semi truck – disastrous and sometimes disgusting.

It works for us and it only took about 5 years to get figured out.  Now, if only I could find a way to blog and drive…

How about you?  Do you multitask or do one thing at a time? 

*Does this title remind anyone else of a Nancy Drew novel?  Did I just age myself with that reference?

3 thoughts on “The Curse of the Multitasker*

  1. Haha, I loved your Nancy Drew reference – I totally agree 🙂 I am a "do-one-thing-at-a-tim-er" and only just realized this! Andres and I were watching a marriage movie – Laugh your way to a better marriage, and the guy talked about this. Andres and I both don't really handle multi-tasking very well. I'm learning, but I get tired out really fast and have to zone out in the evenings before my brain can catch up with me. It is frusturating since the multi-tasking female is such a stereotype that I don't fit, but I'm learning to be okay with it. I can do one thing well, so I try to stick with that when I can. 🙂

  2. Just found your blog via Dutch Blitz and the whole multitasking thing really ressonated with me – my husband and I are night and day different in the same way. And oh how it drives me crazy – thanks for the reminder that we are ACTUALLY different 🙂 You’d think after 6 years of marriage we’d have it figured out.

  3. Thanks for stopping by! It's great to meet you. And I know hey? So hard to remember that we're so different! I struggle with my expectations sometimes but we're getting there. And these posts are great for me to look back on when I'm in a frustrated moment!

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