Women are natural born multi-taskers. We often pride ourselves on having several conversations at once (think your last girl’s night), performing several tasks at once and thinking about several "to-do’s" at the same time.
This superhuman ability often saves us in the long run and allows us to accomplish more than believed in a short amount of time. But how healthy is multitasking? Turns out, it’s not as healthy as we would like to think.
How many of you used and abused the multi-tasking gene until one day it just gave out? Suddenly you walked into rooms and couldn’t remember why, you went into the grocery store and forgot half of your mental list, or chalked everything up to "mommy brain" except that your kids were too old for "mommy"?
In the December 2011 American Sociological Review, researchers found that (and I quote), “working mothers spend 9 more hours a week multitasking than do working fathers, or about 48 hours per week for moms compared with 39 for dads.”
On top of this, those nine extra hours are causing women to feel stressed out, leading to other symptoms as fatigue and eventually the inability to multi-task as well as they used to. Research clearly documents that women are overwhelmed and overworked when you combine the responsibilities of work and home.
It works for awhile and suddenly something has to give and women find themselves in their health care provider’s office demanding something for memory or mental clarity.
This isn’t new research, however nobody took notice in 2001 when the August 2001 issue of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance reported that "multitasking is overtaxing" on the body.
Women still expect the same out of their ability and their brain now as they did then. I often repeat back to women their situation to remind them that they do have a full plate, and help them realize that it is okay to let a ball drop here and there because it is impossible to do it all, all the time.
First, recognize that you are human and your abilities 10 years ago (or even before kids) is very different from your ability now. You may never be that person again.