Dear new mom, don’t multi-task

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Amid Tuesday’s tornado of getting the kids out the door, I got to thinking about the amazing multitasking skills that all mothers posses—or inevitably learn on the job. I was dressing Mason, helping Rex get off the toilet, eating my breakfast, checking email, and brainstorming story ideas all at the same time. I eventually got to work and the kids to school, but it wasn’t pretty.

Five years ago, when I was pregnant with Mason, if I’d been able to flash forward and see my future self doing battle as a full-time working mom, I probably would’ve called the police or checked into a locked ward. There’s just no way to prepare for this kind of chaos, but at least Mother Nature throws us a bone by gradually introducing us to the madness of motherhood.

Indeed, I always tell new moms “there’s a reason it takes 10 months to have a baby.” Yes, gestation takes time, but it’s the mental leap an expectant mom must make that requires all 10 months and then some—but that’s if you actually make to your due date.

Lately American moms are giving birth early at an alarming rate. If you’re blessed with the best-case scenario—all goes well with labor and delivery, and you and baby come home on the same day—I encourage you to resist multitasking for as long as possible.

Give yourself permission to sit and snuggle nose-to-nose with your baby, uninterrupted and alone. Try to focus on one job at a time, be it feeding or bathing or diapering or singing. Talk to your baby continually, even if it’s to gently list all of the household chores that you no longer give a hoot about. This is your special time to bond; there’s no need to rush through it. Eventually life will pick up just where you left off, only at warp speed times 10.

And for the record, despite my Ph.D. in multitasking, I still turn off my radio before I parallel park.

– Abigail Tuller 

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