Thursday, March 4, 2010

helpful tips from the happy zen homemaker

One of the things that I both love and hate about Countrymouse is his ability to enjoy doing one thing at a time. If the man is cooking dinner, that's all he does (well, except maybe watch Phineas and Ferb while he's cooking, but that doesn't count). If he's mowing the lawn, ditto. Same with watching the kids, although they've outgrown the direct supervision stage. I used to come home from wherever and the house would look like a war zone. His response would be that he was "watching the boys". Hello... what about the countless hours I spent cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping all while "watching the boys"? On the other hand, when he's talking to me, I have his full attention and when he is trying to accomplish something (like putting together the new cabinet for the television...his project for tonight) it gets all his focus.  

I think some people are just wired that way. Me... not so much. I always seem to have countless things going on at once. I actually feel guilty when I am only doing one thing at a time. My own inclinations aside, I also came into adulthood at a time when women were encouraged to multitask.  This is like telling a shopaholic that life only gets better when you spend money. Yeah. My current job description requires me to "multitask". Are you kidding? That's like paying the shopaholic to be a personal shopper.

(If only my life ran so smoothly... oh, and I'd like to weigh a buck five, too.)

I've spent a lot of time recently reading about multitasking vs. single tasking.  Surprisingly, the pendulum seems to have swung in the other direction... at least a little bit. There is a prevailing thought that we are not as efficient when we multitask and since multitasking is more complicated, it's just more stressful. Our worlds are moving at nano-speed and we elect to heap more coals on the fire. Prioritizing and focusing on our most important tasks allows us to give our full attention to achieving that goal. With this streamlined approach, we get our jobs done with minimal distraction and grief. 

But multitasking feels so good. It makes me feel productive and on top of my game. I move through my To Do List with keen ninja skills. When I am hot... I am smoking hot.  I live for days like this. Are my expectations for myself high? Too high? Maybe. Do I feel badly when I am not at the top of my game? You know it baby.  

So what is the answer? While I am not the Happy Zen Homemaker, I am pretty confident in saying balance is the answer. There are things you should give all your focus to: time with your family, paying your bills, driving (although, I am guilty of not doing this). There are also tons of stuff you can piggyback on to one another: folding clothes while chatting on the phone, cooking dinner while helping with homework, blogging while watching television... the combinations are endless. If you're a mother, a wife, a homemaker, a student, a professional, life is just plain busy. We all only have so many hours in a day to get the important stuff done. That's the key... what is important? When we determine the things in our lives that matter the most and keep them sacred, everything else is up for grabs. And if we can switch gears and ricochet through our day... all I can say is fasten your seatbelts.

* Lovely ninja mouse is the creation of Kimberly Chapman.


  1. I totally agree with you. My boyfriend sounds a lot like your husband. If he is cooking dinner, he MUST NOT talk....or he'll screw it up.

  2. oh my gosh aunt mouse... josh is exactly like this and it pisses me off to no end. for some reason i manage to hold wyatt while cleaning, eating, even sometimes going to the bathroom (although that is plain disgusting). he can't do it. he'll hold wyatt and then pass him off so he can eat. he passed him off yesterday so he could get a drink! ridiculous! today i made him stir fry all while having wyatt fussing on my hip. being a woman is hard because we are pressured to multitask.

  3. I think you've got the right idea that we decide what's important and do the best we can. (I HATE those commercials with Kelly Rippa! I think it creates this idea that women are supposed to be able to to these things!)

  4. It's the gift of being female - we rock at multi-tasking. The guys - not so much. But then again, they don't have to put on makeup, color their hair or pee sitting down.

  5. OH! I hated when my kids were babies and I came home and said, "what the hell is going on around here?" and he would innocently look at me and say, "i was watching the kids" like hello. i don't do that all day PLUS everything else. that said, i have committed to less multitasking this year. for me, i find sometimes it makes me to anxious.

  6. Oh I love to multitask! Thing is, I'm quite awful at it. I run around like a crazed headless chicken trying to get through her to-do list all at once. It's usually when I sit and force myself to just get one thing done that I manage to complete and turn out something not-so-sucky.

  7. Love love this post! And I so relate- I think you have to be able to multi-task to raise five boys! You go girl. I found you through anti-supermom and loved your comment so I thought I would come check you out. Glad I did.


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