a completed task of one's own
This is literally late-breaking news (as in, it's late, it was broken on March 27th) but I have to blog about it because it applies to parenting and to women especially. The NY Times reported that multitasking is actually inefficient. When I read this I started waving my arms around and ranting at my husband, "See, there's proof!" I've always been cranky about multitasking but I've been even more cranky about the idea that women are *natural* multitaskers. I think it's been used as a tool of oppression. And I don't think it's true.
As a young woman it meant that I would be well-suited for an assistant/admin/"great organizational skills"/secretarial job or hosting/taking care of the house and career, etc. As a mother, it means I should have no problem shuttling from a toddler breakdown over a "crumped" cowboy hat, to writing a paragraph on the complicated issues raised by elective c-sections, to a call from UPS about a lost package. I hate this. And as the article points out, you screw up when you're juggling. Don't get me wrong: I'm not raging against multitasking mothers as individuals-- I'm one of them. Multitasking is quite simply the way my life is arranged. I cannot comprehend how parents/mothers survived without wireless 12" powerbooks for ordering groceries/conducting work from home/googling "red rash three year old". How could those moms have made it happen in Colonial Williamsburg??? (I guess they were shuttling between candle-dipping, fire-stoking and scarlett fever-tending.) I just object to the idea that us mothers are meant to be so divided. And that we don't crave a neatly compartmentalized (male) life where we can actually get things done (one at a time). Didn't Virginia Woolf once write an essay about all this?
in parenting | the balancing act