The Myth of Multitasking

by Samantha on March 3, 2012

Do you pride yourself on being a “multitasker?” If so, read on.

“Multitasking” - the ability to seemingly do many things at once, has been seen more and more as a badge of honour to parents, particularly moms who have more than enough on their plates.

Is it the fact that we live in an increasingly busier world, compounded by the 24/7 ability to access information anywhere, anytime? The cell phone is always charged, CNN is blaring on the TV, and the iPad is ready and able to tell us what’s happening, and what’s on the agenda. Let’s not forget about text messaging, Twitter, Facebook and all of the other social media channels. For a parent, it can be all to daunting. Heck - much of our scheduling of play dates and power meetings are done via technology, so in many ways we are virtually chained to our digital devices, whether we like it or not.

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As a mom, I’m finding myself whimsically dreaming of those days when the “work day” started at 9am and ended at 5pm. Sure, there are parenting responsibilities that continue around the clock, but we didn’t have the added options of connecting and being connected to the rest of the world. Work is a big part of this feeling of always being “on,” as there seems to be a blurred line as to when the workday ends and when it begins. This thanks to the ability to access - and be accessed - any time, anywhere.

As parents, why do we feel we have to “multitask?” Is it the pressure of having to many “to-do’s” and not enough time?

Regardless of what the answer to this question may be, the reality of the situation is that the idea of “multi-tasking” is just that - an idea. 

It’s been proven that the concept of doing more than one thing at once is a virtual impossibility. Science has proven this and it has been written about and discussed on more than one occasion.

Multitasking is a fallacy and a misnomer. It does not exist. 

What does exist is the ability for us as parents to become more efficient in switching back and forth between tasks in a quicker and more frenetic manner. No wonder we’re feeling stressed.

As a mom, I’m no different from millions of other mothers who feel that they not only have to get everything done (both family, home and work-related), but that they have to do it all well, perfectly and on time. Talk about stress. 

Since science has once again given us the facts that we need to make decisions about our lives, we should accept its findings and slow down. It’s hard enough being a parent, working and managing a household. Why add the concept of trying to do everything all at once to our rosters?

We can only do what we can do, and there are only 24 hours in a day. The world won’t end if the dishes aren’t done, and what’s another pile of laundry, really? Wait until tomorrow to throw in the load, sit back, have a tea and take a break. 

Do you feel that you “multitask?” 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa March 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I really connected with this. Thanks. I multi-task like crazy and…it's driving me crazy. I'm terrible at it. I'm currently trying to figure out a better way to parent, while working from home AND finding time to live life. It's exhausting, isn't it?


Samantha March 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Hi Lisa,

Yes - it is totally exhausting! That's why we should stop trying to do the impossible. There are only so many hours in a day and we have a finite amount of time and energy to get things done. I think most moms put too much pressure on themselves (myself included) to be SuperMom. I've realized that it's impossible and that we need to take it easy and give ourselves a break. After all - if the kids are healthy, well-fed with a roof over their heads, isn't that the most important thing?
Thanks for commenting :)


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