, Salem, MA


May 9, 2014

Cook: The myth of the multitasking mom

I have a story in the latest “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Multi-tasking Moms.” Many of the essays are about mothers facing enormous challenges, yet managing to cope. Needless to say, I’m not one of them. Basically, I’m a uni-tasker, lacking the organizational gene most people take for granted. In fact, I inherited this deficiency from my mother.

For example, her go-to-church girdle was kept in a kitchen drawer inside a seldom-used electric skillet. On Sunday mornings, with everyone rushing around getting ready, she knew exactly where her girdle was located. Using unorthodox methods, my mother somehow managed to get things done.

Thus, for my Chicken Soup entry, I wrote about my sister, Doris. Sixteen years older than I, she was a multitasking mom who made raising six kids look easy. Domestic chaos didn’t faze her, nor the demands of growing children. Of getting dressed in the morning, she often said, “The first one up is the best dressed.” That is why she didn’t hesitate to ask me to baby-sit for a week.

At the time, I had just returned from my honeymoon, tanned and with no defense. I hadn’t learned that response necessary to the easily overwhelmed: “I’ll get back to you.” Not only that, I felt sorry for Doris. She and her husband hadn’t been away in years. To top it off, she was pregnant with number six.

“They deserve a break,” my husband admitted. Easy for him to say. He wasn’t the one going into the lion’s den for a whole week. To further complicate things, I didn’t know how to cook. And because I didn’t want my nieces and nephews getting scurvy on my watch, I bought a big cookbook. While perusing its pages, I learned a clever tip: Make sandwiches for the week and freeze them. In the morning, remove from freezer. By lunchtime, the sandwich will have thawed.

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