Mommy Multi-tasking!

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Women are supposed to be naturally stronger at multi-tasking than men.  Well, that element of the feminine genius has eluded me.  Patting my head and rubbing my tummy at the same time is about the best I can do!  However, in the last year, the busiest year in my 40 years on this earth, I have actually found some creative multi-tasking strategies that don’t require the magic multi-task gene.  So, here are my multitasking-impaired tips for Mommies:

  1.  Cleaning/entertainment/working:  With mixed results, a four year old can keep a baby safe, if not always happy, trying on all of his socks and sorting into “it still fits” and “outgrown” piles.  In the meantime, mom can catch up on emails, organization, blogging, on her computer from a nearby vantage point.  Be prepared to take 20 minutes to finish the sock job later.
  2. Exercise/babycare/cleaning:  Adding a baby to your body in a carrier provides natural weight training, especially effective when vacuuming or climbing stairs!
  3. Grooming/chauffeuring/mortification:  Avoid wasted time in the carlines by keeping a tweezer in your purse.  Offer up the plucking pain for the souls in purgatory.  I don’t know if I would ever pluck if it weren’t for my car’s vanity mirror!  I’m not kidding.  I really do this.
  4. Cooking/educating/cleaning:  Ever notice how the kids have to be right in your way, I mean near you, while you’re trying to prepare dinner?  A disposable cleaning wipe in a young child’s hand can be useful cleaning lower cabinets and the garbage can, while another child reads aloud or practices spelling words with ABC magnets on the fridge.
  5. Prayer/bathing/babycare:  This one is tricky in that it involves the presence of another adult.  It starts with taking a shower, something that may not happen at all if your children are young and that previously mentioned other adult isn’t home.  A good shower is just about the right amount of time to say an entire Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Then, the other adult can hand you the baby for a quick clean up.  ( I keep baby wash right in the shower for these quick cleanings.)

I’m sure other Mommies have lots of great multitasking tricks.  Many involve keeping a few essential items on hand:  your Kindle in your purse, baby toe nail clippers by your favorite nursing chair, foreign language education CDs in the car, etc.  Please share some of your favorite tricks and tips!

Copyright 2012 Kate Daneluk 

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About Author

Kate Daneluk is a wife, mother of six, and co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice. With a background in music, theology and education, she contributes articles and resources to various publications.

11 Comments

  1. Great tips. I have a friend who says the Rosary while her five kids are getting ready for bed. I have thought about getting the daily readings/Rosary/Hours on a podcast so that I can listen to them while in the car.

    • Kate Daneluk on

      Wow. How does that work? I have 5 and bedtime is the craziest hour of my day! I’d like some details on that.

  2. I clean the bathroom when the little ones are in the tub. That stops them from “helping” clean the toilet, etc., and gives me something to do since I’m sitting there anyway.

    • Kate Daneluk on

      That’s a good one! My solution to that is my seven year old is “in charge” of cleaning the bathroom and my twelve year old usually supervises baths. 😉

  3. So funny Kate! I just wrote about taking a break from multi-tasking in this week’s MacKid! And it’s definitely true that women are better at it than men…my husband is wonderful, but he has to stop what he is doing in order to have a conversation – something moms never do!

    • Kate Daneluk on

      I am definitely the exception to the rule, Roseann! I cannot carry on a conversation while doing anything either. I will point to my brother-in-law who also breaks this generality. He is an amazing multitasker: watching kids while carrying on a conversation and grilling hamburgers. But, I know that clinical studies show that most of the time, multi-tasking is a woman’s game.

  4. Why stop at tweezers in the car? I keep an entire extra makeup kit in mine! If you look around, you can often find cosmetics that are easy to use on the go: roll on eye shadow, liner that doesn’t require sharpening, lip stain that doubles as a blush, foundation that comes in a little pump bottle. This negates the need for applicators. I also keep a nail kit in the car. Sometimes, if we’re having a grumpy time and it’s almost time to go, I load everyone up a little early and then, while still in the driveway, swipe some color on my nails. Everyone is safely buckled in and it takes minutes. My nails dry as I drive to my destination. I also file my nails while waiting for a train. These “dead” times are also a great time to do some devotions or catch up on articles I haven’t had time to read. Check out the Pocket app. for smartphones — and of course, there are devotional apps all over the place! 🙂

    • Kate Daneluk on

      Wendy, you are my hero! Again, looks like the key is a little planning to ensure that the right tools are on-hand in the event of an opportunity. Nail polish drying while you drive instead of standing around with your hands in the air, and no one comes over and spills nail polish on the floor!

  5. Know what I forgot? Cleaning the shower while you’re IN the shower. The steam really helps. My favorite “sneaky” chores are running the dishwasher and/or washing machine while we’re sleeping or not home. I mean, accomplishing something while you’re not present or not awake? Does it get any better? Then, when you return, it’s like this magic machine did the work for you! Presto! Clean dishes/laundry! Yay!

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