On multitasking, chores and peace in the home

On multitasking, chores and peace in the home

I have long known that either it were not true that women are multitasking queens, or it were not true that I am a woman. I cannot multitask. Every. Single. Time I try to cook breakfast while hanging the washing, the eggs burn. I cannot talk on the phone while I am driving round trying to find a party venue. And I abandon my attempts at writing a coherent blog post after the third request for lunch…

I used to feel strangely substandard due to this inability to do what all women were brilliant at. Which is why I felt elated when I came across research recently that found ‘differences in multitasking costs across men and women remained absent’. Read a summary of that research here:

Psychologist Patricia Hirsch, and her collaborators at RWTH Aachen University and University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany, set out to find out if the stereotype that women are better multitaskers than men might be backed by empirical evidence. To find out, the team had experimental participants (48 women and 48 men) conduct either concurrent or sequential multitasking. Both tasks required participants to categorize letters as consonant versus vowel, and numbers as odd versus even. An important feature of the study was that, in addition to collecting performance measures (accuracy and reaction times) in the tasks above, the researchers also accounted for possible underlying gender differences in working memory, processing speed, spatial abilities, and fluid intelligence.

The results indicated that, whereas both concurrent and sequential multitasking imposed substantial costs on performance, the deterioration applied to both genders equally. Even when controlling for potential differences in cognitive abilities that might support multitasking, “differences in multitasking costs across men and women remained absent.”


This at least redeemed me. I was a normal woman after all! And my experience of overwhelm at times was a perfectly reasonable way for a brain to react to SO MANY DEMANDS. I breathed a sigh of relief and stopped trying to do everything at once.

But of course I still had to do most things. It is still I who cook the breakfast and hang the washing, just not simultaneously. There is ample evidence that women still do more housework than men, no matter who the breadwinner is. Us women aren’t better multitaskers than men, we just do more work. And if you look to the bees and the lions, that seems to be the way it goes in nature.

Public opinion persists that women have a biological edge as super-efficient multitaskers. But, as this study shows, this myth is not supported by evidence. This means the extra family work women perform is just that – extra work. And we need to see it as such.


There is an American blogger who feels like my friend, even though she certainly does not know that I exist. Her name is Emily Lex. I think it was 2017 when she wrote the following:

Washing dishes used to be a point of marital contention and then one day I decided I didn’t hate doing them anymore. I’m slightly particular when it comes to loading the dishwasher (I can’t believe I’m one of those people!) and I have a system for hand washing dishes that makes it quick and mindless (utensils first, medium sized items next, save the worst for last). I’ve found in marriage that if you take the things you care the most about and stop worrying about fairness, things get much easier. And it leaves me with a clean kitchen, so that’s totally worth it.+


Isn’t that a helpful way to look at things? Stop worrying about fairness! Who ever said that things would be fair in this world/ your marriage / that family? If you want a clean, peaceful home, wash the dishes! That is the price. And I think, it is not the fool who pays it.

Have a wonderful August, from our team to yours.

Disclaimer: my home is not always peaceful nor clean, but together we are hacking through the challenges. If you want to accuse me of being too traditional, you might be right. I think I am being pragmatical.

I hope my musings make sense. Love

We all adore bright whites. But is bleach great?

Neither neat freak nor eco-warrior

I have confessed before that I am not a cleaning diva. I belong to that middle group of ladies who certainly want clean homes, but don’t sterilise. That large unnamed group who are not what you would call eco-warriors, but who certainly think and care deeply about the impact they make. I am one of the faceless sea of women who dream of a magazine worthy house, then get up to clean the kitchen again, mentally calculating that the windows would have to wait (and the carpets too, for that matter.) 

But I do think I am slightly more ‘crunchy’ than most.  I allow my kids to make messes in the name of learning, and I survive without ironing because, well, something had to give.

I also do not bleach my towels

As I described in this post, laundry day is about cleaning to me. If I know my laundry is clean, I do not need it to be smelling overpoweringly of floral fantasies. I also prefer knowing my towels are clean, to knowing my towels are white.

And that is not necessarily the same thing. I thought the article How Does Bleach Work at Wonderopolis.org explains well how bleach changes the colour of stains. 

When I discovered that bleach does not actually do anything to remove dirt from the textile, but only changes it chemically so that our eyes no longer see it, it simply fell off my to-do list.

Bleach is not so safe...

Bleach is very volatile and rather large amounts land in your lungs when you clean, especially the thick liquid and gel forms of chlorine bleach. This problem becomes ten times worse when you mix bleach with other cleaners such as ammonia. Bleach is harmful when swallowed so it should be stored well out of reach of children. And it can hurt your skin upon contact. 

So in a household like mine where microbes have right of way and where honest cleanness is prized, bleach is a complete foreigner. 

If you do use bleach, it might be well to follow the safety guidelines of the Centre for Disease Control

It is critical to read and follow the safety instructions on any product you use. Below are the most important safety guidelines when using sanitizing products:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.
  • Wear rubber or other non-porous boots, gloves, and eye protection.
  • Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.

I would love to hear your take on bleach. Drop me a line?

Best regards