1.15.07: Multitasking my way through motherhood
I'm typing this blog one-handed.
I'm jiggling Charlie in the crook of my left arm as I stand next to the computer plucking out letters with my right hand. It's how I do a lot of things these days. I learned soon after having Julia that multitasking may as well be synonymous with motherhood. I thought I was already a pretty capable person: I graduated from a good college; I've worked in some pretty fast-paced environments; I've traveled around the world; I can walk and chew gum, juggle three balls in the air, and do a flying tornado kick with a combination back side kick. (Don't make me.) But nothing could have prepared me for the challenges of motherhood.
My hat goes off to the millions of mothers out there who are juggling their way through their days. I can see them all now: eating breakfast in their cars while driving their kids to school; unloading the dishwasher while returning phone calls and cooking dinner; paying bills and folding laundry while nursing the baby in the bathroom and potty training a toddler.
The funny thing is that even though I'm always trying to do two things at once, things are always half done. I can do the laundry; I just can't fold it or put it away. I can get the kids dressed for the day; I just can't get myself dressed. I can make dinner; I just can't actually sit down to eat it.
I'll never forget one of the first times I got out of the house with Julia when she was just a few weeks old—I took her for a walk in the stroller and along the way, a woman stopped me to peer into the carriage at my tiny newborn. Then she smiled at me and said: "Remember, taking a shower right now is a victory."
I've always been grateful to that woman.
I've got my hands full with two kids. And, I spend a lot of time wondering how women with even less support and fewer resources manage with three, four, or even five kids. My mother had four kids within four years. Our babysitter Wendy had four kids within six years. And, this was in a generation when fathers weren't exactly hands-on in the child-rearing department. When I asked them how they managed it all, they both said: "I don't know. You just did."
You just do. I think Nike might have an untapped market here: the Marathon Mom -- The Iron Mom -- The women who "just do" everything every day of their lives. I can see the commercials now: a woman in spandex and running shoes shot-putting diapers into the trash, hurdling piles of toys, wrestling a squirming toddler into a snowsuit in an attempt to get out of the house in world-record speed. Afterwards, she'd emerge from the locker room with wet hair and a towel around her neck, arms raised in triumphant victory, all with the Nike symbol and tagline splashed across the screen: "Motherhood: Just Do It."
Who knows? Maybe someday I'll get so good at the multitasking that I'll be like a quadriplegic who learns to type with a straw in my mouth while I cook dinner and change diapers with my feet. Maybe I'll learn to solve world huger while I clean the rotten vegetables out of our fridge. In the meantime, as I sit down to nurse Charlie while reading Julia a story, I'm picking up one by the great Dr. Seuss and taking his words to heart:
Remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
In other words: Just Do It.
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Read the next entry: 1.22.07: The End of Romance?