74: Beat the Clock

74: Beat the Clock

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

Beat the Clock

When you hurry, you’re more apt to make mistakes.

~John Wooden

When my sons were younger, my life as a working mother could be summed up in three words: beat the clock. I had my whole life timed and knew exactly how many minutes it took to complete every task. Mornings were the most crucial, with no room for error. I knew the exact minute my sons needed to get up, finish breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth and be at the bus stop. I was constantly checking the clock and keeping to our time schedule.

Once the kids were on the bus, a wave of relief washed over me for a few quick moments and then I rushed off to work. I used the five-minute drive to go through the mental list in my head of all the tasks I needed to complete for my job. Some days it seemed like my car was on auto drive because I didn’t even notice I was driving.

Summer was always an adjustment. Instead of taking the kids to the bus stop, I had to drive them to summer camp. Books, homework and school planners were replaced with swimming trunks, towels and goggles. I would drop them off, sign them in, tell them to be good, get in my car and try to make it to work on time.

One morning, I pulled into the parking lot at my job with my mind racing. I had done my normal efficient job of mentally preparing for work and had reviewed the list of people I needed to call, paperwork that needed handling and evaluations that had to be completed. I had prioritized what needed to be done in case I didn’t have time to complete everything. My system was working. I was in a multitasking mode!

My thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice in the back of the car.

“Mom, aren’t you going to take us to camp?” my oldest son asked.

I turned quickly to the back seat of my car and saw my two sons staring at me, looking confused.

“Oops! I guess I forgot to drop you guys off,” I responded with an embarrassed laugh as I took off down the road.

~Denise Seagren-Peterson

More stories from our partners