Ellison says my perception improves. I’m more clued in to sounds of need and distress in my babies. This is true. I can hear my little guy (now almost 3) yelling in the living room while the older one does Power Ranger karate moves on him; Or, the older guy yelling because the little guy has retaliated by pulling his hair. Sometimes I wish I could tune these signs of distress out. They occur often.
|Smart mommies are good at |
childrearing and jobs, too!
photo by healingdream
She also says I’m more efficient. Supposedly I’m better at prioritizing and more focused and quicker at finishing work. This is absolutely true. I don’t know how I do it, but I get my work done in the 45 minutes I have to do it, instead of the 3 hours it used to take. I read stuff I have to read while standing at the stove or waiting in the car park for school to let out.
I started prioritizing the day I got home from the hospital with Zach. After he’d fall asleep I knew I had only minutes before he woke again for more time on the breast. I learned to prioritise immediately. Thoughts at the time:
1 Toilet – has to be done
2 Shower – dying for one. There’s breast milk all over my torso. 3 minutes, max, no hair washing.
3 Dress – can’t leave the house without clothes
4 makeup – if he wakes while I’m on step 3, I can skip this
5 eat – I can do this while breastfeeding, so will multi-task it
6 sleep – God, I wish I could put this at number 1, but will try and snooze while he feeds
My ability to prioritize has been improving ever since. I’m such a master at mommy multi-tasking now, I don’t understand why my husband only does one thing at a time. I can simultaneously wipe a nose, send a text message, turn off the oven, start the dishwasher, answer Zach’s question about unicorns and begin the grocery list on a sheet of paper. Concentrating on one thing at a time makes me feel constrained and boxed in. I can’t ONLY do ONE thing at time. That is totally underutilizing my capacity.
Anyway, look, I’m re-opening this debate because despite the evidence, and the supposed status of women as having equal rights, working mothers get “mommy tracked”. There’s no denying it – check out this article about a GoldmanSachs working mother who claims she got put on the mommy track and is now suing. I’ve seen it first hand, I’ve experienced it. Why does this happen if we’re smarter, more empathetic (as per Ellison), can prioritise better, manage better, and get the same amount of work done in half the time? Trust me, if we leave the job ON TIME to go collect our kids from day care, we will still meet the deadlines set, come in on the weekends around trips to soccer matches, and generally outperform the guy sitting across from us who can stay until 7 pm, dials in on his laptop Sunday mornings and goes to after-work drinks with the lads. He’s spinning his wheels. I’m working.
Limiting the workplace to single people and men is not diversity, and it isn’t healthy. Would businesses advocate limiting the workplace to white people or males? How about limiting it to brunettes? They’d be losing out on valuable input from people who, due to the release of massive amount of hormones, are now smarter, calmer, happier, more empathetic, more perceptive and better able to prioritise and multi-task. Some may be blonde. We do, however, want to go home on time to collect our children; need to take our legally, duly-earned vacation days for time off with the kids; and will, on occasion, have bits of oatmeal or baby formula on our lapels. These can be cleaned with baby wipes, which we carry in our large handbags, since we are so organised.
And, by the way, if you don’t have kids or are not a woman, I’m not saying you’re at a disadvantage or not as smart as me. Sleep deprivation (for me) evens us out. I’m just saying: we’re equal.