She drops her kids to the bus stop while networking on LinkedIn. She can cook up a meal while taking care of the laundry and working on her presentation for the next day. And while she is at it, she will also oversee if her child has done their homework, and make sure that the plants have been watered. But multitasking comes at a cost and I am not talking about the sheer exhaustion that draws over your mind and body at the end of the day when you are done with all that is on your checklist (well, most of it). Almost every woman I know is a multitasker and they all experience being overwhelmed every now and then, as if they are not doing enough. Or rather, that they are lagging, despite doing more than enough. However, should a woman be ashamed of not being able to multitask? It is normal to feel overwhelmed, isn’t it? Also, could this sense of failure be a sign that you have bitten more than you could chew?
- Women pride themselves in their ability to multitask.
- However, this multitasking comes with a cost of its own.
- One may end up feeling that they are forever lagging in their to-do list, which could be overwhelming.
- Could this feeling of “failure” be a sign that you have bitten more than you can chew?
Almost every woman I know is a multitasker and they all experience being overwhelmed every now and then, as if they are not doing enough. Or rather, that they are lagging, despite doing enough.
Let us face it, even the best of multitasking women have their bad days. The dal get burnt because your kid has managed to spill something on the floor. You skipped a deadline for an assignment, because the reminder got buried under the heap of alarms that you have set to keep yourself on track. Incomplete homework, forgetting to call ill relatives, the sudden disappearance of sugar or tea from the household (I swear the box was half full just two days ago) with guests sitting in the drawing-room. We have all been in such situations, big or little, that leave us feeling like a failure.
Most women end up questioning their capabilities, especially when these so-called failures begin to happen at a greater frequency. Am I not paying attention to my child? Am I failing to be a good wife, or daughter, or employee? Have I lost the knack to cook well? This doubt, compounded with shame and distress can be quite overwhelming. It can leave you catatonic. You lose your focus altogether and the situation only gets worse. However, failing to multitask is a part and parcel of every person’s life. Besides, “failure” here shouldn’t be taken personally, as it could also be circumstantial.
Although if you have been feeling overwhelmed by your chores, constantly lagging to tick all that is on your checklist, then could it be a sign that you are doing more chores than you are supposed to? The prime reason why we multitask is to fit multiple chores in a limited time. The problem is that most of us do not have an upper limit for the number of chores that need to get done; it is simply unending. However, we are humans at the end of the day and we all have our limitations. Wouldn’t it be better then to prioritise your tasks, rather than constantly test your own limits to juggle different things?
It is okay to feel overwhelmed, dear women, just as it is okay to give yourself a breather, slow down. It is completely okay to ditch some tasks off your list and ask for help when you need some.
You see, women pride themselves in their capability to constantly be on their toes and do the work for five sets of hands, with just one. This is one way we have internalised patriarchal oppression, making a competition out of wearing out ourselves. Don’t we all know women, who look down on those who don’t do any cooking, or spend their Sundays chilling around and not doing any work around the house? The more work one gets the done, the more efficient one feels to be. Thus when multitasking fails us, we take it personally.
It is okay to feel overwhelmed, dear women, just as it is okay to give yourself a breather and slow down. It is completely okay to ditch some tasks off your list and ask for help when you need some. Yes! It is fine to ask your mother-in-law to help the kids with homework, or to tell your husband to fold the clothes. It is also okay to refuse to do something because you do not feel up to the job.
In a race to live more efficiently a lot of us forget to live a little. So while most of us are far from living in a world where they wouldn’t have to multitask so ferociously in the first place, let us cut ourselves some slack and focus on happiness and ask ourselves every now and then, is living breathlessly the right way to live?
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.