It’s a much studied fact that too much multitasking has the same effect on our I.Q. as a bong hit. It makes us stupid. And yet, life with young children can require, at times, an absurd, stuntman level of multitasking.
I first noticed the stoner effect of multitasking after my first child was born. That’s when I started switching dates and times around in my head. I arrived an hour early for a dentist appointment. I showed for a meeting at her preschool on the wrong week. In my rush to get in the house with a crying baby, make dinner and simultaneously answer a urgent email, I left the keys in the front door lock and didn’t discover them until the next morning.
When my second child was born, it got much worse. I started losing my train of thought in mid-conversation and once, to my mortification, in the middle of a big presentation at work. (After that, I always made sure to have handwritten notes prepared in case it happened again.)
We all have these stories.
Our heads are crammed so full of details—the donation for the teacher gift, the overdue DVDs, the work file we need to resend, how to get our one kid to eat food that’s not white, how the other kid is starting to use the potty and doesn’t own any underwear, the meeting we need to reschedule, ordering new glasses for the pair we lost—that we miss our train stop, return the DVDs to library without a DVD in the case, leave our bank card in the ATM, burn the rice, and write cryptic notes on the calendar that we can’t read an hour later. We promptly lose our new pair of glasses, only to find them on top of our own head.
An informal poll of my friends confirms this is a pervasive problem. One says she showed up with her kids for an Easter egg hunt a week early. One says she finds herself driving in circles because she forgets to print the map. Another says that last week she started running a bath for the kids, then forgot about it until it started overflowing the tub.
My favorite is a friend who found her son’s pajamas in the freezer once, next to the ice cream. Right where she’d put them.
What about you? What was your best multitasking stoner moment?