Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Multi-tasking Mama, put that egg whisk down

It is a popular myth that all women are fabulous multi-taskers, but I am living proof that to every rule there is an exception.  There are no doubt some feisty and fearsome mothers out there who run the early evening domestic shift with the skill and precision of air traffic controllers, directing dinner, homework and emotional dramas with a smile and glass of mineral water.  I have a nasty suspicion that they are also probably women whose children never get nits, whose dog isn’t a notorious underwear thief and who most damningly, look good in lycra, back and front view, but perhaps that’s just jealousy speaking?

It takes a special woman to multitask and I am sadly coming to the conclusion I am not she.  An early inability to rub my tummy whilst patting my head was an indicator that unless set tasks involve reading and simultaneously eating chocolate, preferably in the bath with a glass of wine, then I am best suited to be a Uni-taskitarian.

Should you have any queries in your mind whether you are in the multi-tasking corner, no doubt whipping up a storm, or at least a soufflé, or whether you are with me in the Uni-taskitarian ranks, then just test yourself with the following obstacle race known as supper at ours.

1. Attempt to supervise offspring cooking dinner, remembering that encourage not shout is the watchword as beaters held upright ensure an interesting type of splash back decorative effect you never hear advertised as desirable in the modern kitchen.

2. In between biting tongue and separating eggs, answer questions on whether the Spanish were a bad or good thing, if moment of mental blankness strikes, try to discover whether context is colonisation, Spanish Royal Family or Euro crisis.

3. Combine calculating ratios with an attempt to iron shirt to wear tomorrow.   Note in this manoeuvre it is essential to get arm sweeping across ironing board in synchronised move with back foot lashing out in a karate style kick to prevent underwear stealing dog from burrowing in washing basket and creating yet another pair of crotch-less knickers. 

4. Deal with phone call from Husband in Europe, sitting down to his deluxe breakfast and wondering plaintively why you don’t want to talk.  Explain in a loving hiss that have just seen off two phone calls from men who appear not only to be on first name terms but also have great deals on mobile phone plans.

5. Fill in overdue school camp form, consult conscience on how vague it is permissible to be on last date of tetanus injection.

6. In a multitasking finale Henry the octopus would be proud of, all eight arms swivelling, place dinner on the table, relax that homework is beaten into submission, ditto dog, reach for a celebratory glass of white wine and swallow large mouthful of egg white decanted into glass earlier on as part of step 2.

7. In great Australian phrase “Spit the Dummy” and in this particular case, the mouthful of egg white, hard to over rate the bizarreness of texture and taste of the unexpected tipple.

Following my egg-white revelatory moment, I am abandoning all attempts at multi-tasking.  From now on one thing at a time, though obviously that doesn’t cover eating breakfast whilst typing, listening to Radio 4 and simultaneously singing the 'Pastille pickin Papa' jingle that UK readers of a certain age will remember from good old fruit pastilles ads, and which inspired the blog post title and is of course now stuck in my head for the day.


  1. Brilliant. I despise smug multi-taskers. My own attempts at multi-tasking lead inevitably to zero-taskitarianism. Today however, I have managed to simultaneously read, laugh out loud, answer the phone and momentarily consider imbibing glass of white wine (not eggwhite)at 10am!

  2. Cannot describe how disgusting raw egg white is - particularly when mouth open in greedy anticipation of first mouthful of white wine. Good news is school term finished today thus reducing the morning multi-tasking stress as no DQs are likely to surface until 10 - bliss. CX