Mothers Are The Ultimate Multitaskers

Recently, I was reading a post by a woman in which she explained how she had judged all of the mothers that she had worked with before she herself had become a mother. She “rolled her eyes at mothers that couldn’t make it to last minute drinks” and she questioned the mother’s commitment even though she would arrive to work on time the next day while the author and her colleagues would roll in two hours late and hungover. The author sat in interviews where female candidates were asked how they would cope with being away from their children all day while the males in the group wouldn’t even be questioned along those lines. She goes on to have an epiphany when she herself becomes a mother and then asks that all other judgmental women without children stop and be, two months

This made me wonder what this woman thought of her own mother.

I grew up in a single-parent household, though I wouldn’t say that only a single-parent raised me. My mother’s side of the family is a close-knit 70 or so people and that’s who raised me. My mother was raising three girls while working full time. We would even be shuttled down to her office on the weekends with her to play in the aisles between cubicles while she got her work finished in her office. No one else would ever be in the office, but my mother was. Growing up, I never thought much of it. We loved going down there. She worked for Mead, a paper company, and there was always plenty of stationary everywhere to play with, not to mention the jars of candy that people left on their desks. I won’t lie, we snuck a few pieces here and there and we left pictures and “presents” tacked on to people’s cubicle walls. My mother always tried to put everything back the way it had been, but years later she mentioned one time that every Monday after we’d gone down to the office with her, someone would inevitably find a “gift” left behind, the “gift” was always a mess of some sort.

My mother was a cook, a baker, an office manager, a driving service, an accountant and a one woman cleaning service. She was the time-keeper, the overseer, the counselor and the teacher in our house. She took over punishments and rewards and the hugs and the kisses. She took time to read to us at night and play games with us outside. She planned birthday parties and family get-togethers. She gave us bowl haircuts and tucked us in to bed and woke us up in the morning to feed us and get us out the door for school. What didn’t this woman do? Of course, in my head growing up, there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do. Hero is an understatement and I would like to think that most people feel this way about their, two months

As a new mother, I am certainly learning how to make it all work but, having the mother that I do makes me know it’s all possible.

I can now feed my baby, myself and send emails at the same time. I can run a small business, work as a freelancer for a company with weekly Wednesday deadlines and still cook dinner. I can run meetings out of cafes and all of it gets done even more efficiently because I know I only have so much time to do any of it. I have a half hour here and there to get my work done during the day while my baby sleeps which means I’m not playing games on my phone or wasting time watching TV. I use the two hours in the evenings before I go to bed to finish up everything I started during the day and then the next day I do it again. I’m lucky to have a supportive husband in the mix, but really, mothers are the ultimate multitaskers and what company or manager wouldn’t want to hire a super efficient person that can work under deadlines?

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6 Responses

  1. I agree!
    My mother had both my sister and brother while still in medical school, and having two children was actually the best thing that ever happened to her grades. She knew she had no time to just goof around once the children were in daycare or sleeping so she was super efficient. However, she got fired from a hospital for being pregnant when she was expecting me. To me it seems so odd to consider that over actual performance. Thankfully she had a good reputation so she was contacted with an offer about up starting up a clinic with another doctor instead of looking for new work in a hospital.
    Your mother sounds impressive 🙂

  2. Bree says:

    I’ve read you other articles about your mother-in-law and how you have a good relationship with her (despite the Korean MIL stereotype). So why is it that you don’t live with her? Are there times where you think it would be nice to have her around or do you like your independence?

    • Hallie says:

      You’ve phrased those questions in a way that it sounds like you think I should live with her. Do you? First of all, we live in Seoul and she lives in Busan a city 3 hours away on the fast train. It’s not feasible to live with my in-laws in Busan and for my husband to have a music career. There was never an expectation for us to live with his parents either.
      Both my husband and I appreciate our independence and having our own home.

      • Bree says:

        No! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to sound like you obviously should be living with her. I just thought that it was normal for wives to live with their in-laws. So I was just curious as to why you were different. Personally, if I were in your situation, I think it would be ideal to live separate from my in-laws. Sorry for the confusion.

        • Hallie says:

          Traditionally, it is normal, though usually just for the wife of the oldest or only son as that couple would then be expected to care for the parents later. Though my husband is the only son and the oldest, his family gave us their blessing to move back to the States later should we want to, which we do at some point. My husband’s sister lives near their parents still so, she checks in on them. Actually, they are super active though. They run their own spa (jjimjilbang) that is on the second/third and fourth floors of the building and then live on the fifth floor of the same building.
          It’s becoming less and less common for families to live the traditional way though.
          Even if we did live in Busan, I told my husband I wouldn’t be comfortable living with his parents. I would be just fine living in the same building, but I would still want to have my own place. I didn’t grow up in this culture so I see moving back in with the parents a bit differently than he does. They also are super traditional, ie. no chairs or beds. Everything is on the floor. I can handle that for two days, but to live without a chair would cause my body to ache I think. My father-in-law is also super picky when it comes to food. He likes Korean food and that’s it. I would HAVE to have a sandwich or pasta now and again and a hamburger! It would just be awkward living together for so many reasons. There are definitely families that do it, but luckily our family is understanding and we make it work this way.

What do you think?