Forget multi-tasking – we’re multi-careering!

The other night my husband asked me why I was tired. He knows this question is grounds for divorce but he seems unable to stop himself. I gave him a withering look and explained calmly: “I’ve been in peace negotiations since 6.30am this morning. Between conflict resolution and crisis management I have not had a break and it’s now 7pm. If I was part of the Israeli – Palestinian peace talks – something for which I am highly skilled – I would not now be standing making your bloody dinner.” That ended that particular conversation.

And so when we went on holiday recently and, as I have frequently done since resigning a high-powered job to look after my two babies, I hesitated insecurely over what to write on the landing form’s ‘what do you do?’ section. I looked at my clan who were imploding around me and quickly scribed “chief negotiator”, extremely pleased with myself. Now I look forward to filling in those wretched forms. The other day I decided to be ‘project manager’ – organising the lives of a two year old and a baby requires titanic skills in that area.

I had thought when I took time out (note I’m not saying time off) from full-time employment that my CV would start looking a bit threadbare when I emerged from the posit lined clouds of early motherhood. But I have to say I’m now rather pleased with it. I reckon by the time I’m ready to face the weary world of work again I’ll be up for any job.

I am top management material with my negotiation, conflict resolution and crisis management skills, ability to work weekends and availability for on-call duties 24 hours a day. I’m a people person; albeit a Little People person. I can also add Structural Engineer to my portfolio having emerged relatively unscathed from the what-appears-to-be-deliberately-so-frustratingly-stupidly-designed-this-had-to-be-invented-by-a-man array of baby and toddler items that needed assembling. I hadn’t cried for years before I had to put together our first baby’s pram.

Naturally I am a highly trained nurse who not only can apply Poo Bear plasters with ER precision but can now calculate a temperature with a mere hand-to-head swipe. I am Teacher, often of things I never knew I knew! I am Inventor, Artist, Masterchef. I am Pillow and Punching Bag. I am Cleaner and Chauffeur. I am Hairdresser and Bodyguard. I can speak when sleep-deprivation has sucked all words from my brain. I can sing while stirring the soup and writing out the shopping list.

Finally I am a Diplomat. In the midst of recent potty training Daisy decided she wanted to wear pants to bed. Clearly a straight no was not an option: she’d cry, and I’d get annoyed and who needs that when the clock is ticking down to “MY TIME”. It had to be a yes that satisfied all parties. So now she leaps into bed at night with her pants over the top of her sleep suit like SuperToddler. And you know what? Surely that makes me a SuperMum? Must add that to the CV…. Now, who wants me? And what are the holidays?

(c) AKG 2008

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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One Response to Forget multi-tasking – we’re multi-careering!

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