I consider myself excellent at multi-tasking. I can sew on a button, cook blueberry muffins from a mix, and paint watercolors with my kids, all while chatting to my mom on the cell phone. But some tasks demand my full attention, which doesn’t sit well with my life as a busy mama. So what ends up happening with these important life-altering decisions? They either don’t get made, or they take over my whole life.
Let’s take Halloween, for example. I took it upon myself to make my kids’ costumes this year. You know that comment above about sewing on a button? Well, that’s the true extent of my sewing capabilities. I refused to purchase a warm, plush Clifford costume for $49.99 for my two year-old who lives in south Florida, so instead, I’m spending naptime making a Clifford headband with ears to go along with his red t-shirt and sweatshorts. And while he was in preschool the other morning for three hours, what did I spend my time doing? Did I research the side effects of the live swine flu vaccine? Did I call every CVS in the area to find out if/when they were getting new shipments of the H1N1 vaccine? Did I (gasp!) watch last week’s episode of Glee?
No, I went to Target, K-mart, and Wal Mart looking for red socks or red tights to make a tail for Luke’s Clifford costume. And guess what, folks? The sock selection in south Florida pretty much sucks! I finally settled on a pair of red girls’ leggin’s (the 1980′s preferred spelling), because the frugal mama in me decided that at least Annabel could wear them after Halloween is over. I tucked one leg into the other, stuffed it with old mismatched socks (which do abound in my south Florida home), and messily tacked the end together using the red thread that was leftover from my 2003 Faculty Follies production of Livin’ La Vida Loca. (that was before YouTube was known to me and my colleagues, otherwise there’d be a link to that infamous number!)
Annabel’s Emily Elizabeth costume took a bit less running around. She had a black skirt and shoes already. I purchased a pink shirt on sale for her, and then I sewed on a white felt collar and black felt circles for buttons (I was too cheap to spend $2.99 for buttons that would serve only ornamental purpose). On that first Target run, I found a pair of multi-striped knee socks. Put the girl in hot rollers for 10 minutes and voila! We have Emily Elizabeth!
But all of this effort spent on Halloween gets me…what? Two ecstatic, over-sugared kids who don’t care whether I bought, made, or borrowed their costumes. If I pulled out sheets from the linen closet, or old shoes from the dress up bin, they’d be just as happy. They’ll think I’m a great mama because I’m letting them dig into their candy like rabid dogs, regardless of the time I’ve spent focusing on their attire.
Perhaps this busying myself with the minutia of motherhood is INTENTIONAL. Perhaps I’m fulfilling the role the way I think it SHOULD be played out. Or, maybe I’m just avoiding those tougher decisions and tasks that face me as a parent, like whether or not to give my kids the H1N1 vaccine, or how to deal with the fact that my four year-old just won’t ever listen!
My type-A multi-tasking must include some meatier issues. But I’ll deal with that AFTER Halloween, I think. On Sunday, I’ll stretch those dollars in my checkbook, begin listening to French language cds, and make sense of the CDC’s recommendations for vaccinations. And perhaps next week, I’ll be even more introspective and ponder why I like to overuse parentheses and capitalizations, too. You know, the important stuff.
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