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.”

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/illusion-chasers/no-women-cant-multitask-either/

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.

https://www.sciencealert.com/women-aren-t-better-multitaskers-than-men-they-re-just-doing-more-work

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.+

https://jonesdesigncompany.com/get-clean-start-free-mrs-meyers-gift-set/

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

A Super Simple Greywater in the Suburbs Plan

A Super Simple Greywater In The Suburbs Plan

Pretty watering cans?

After researching greywater do’s and don’ts (as summarised in this post) I discovered I could possibly heat our house a teeny bit, and save water, at the same time. The thought thrilled me. You know that I love to be efficient. You know that I love to save the earth and my money all at once. A super simple plan was beginning to form in my mind. But I needed watering cans. Four of them.

The creator of our beautiful caddies were contacted.

After a lengthy search on the internet I realised watering cans that were pretty and large and affordable at the same time were not to be found in South Africa. So I contacted Pascal, the creator of our clever caddies (unfortunately we do not sell them anymore…). Pascal and his co-workers make just about anything from tin and he once again did not disappoint. Four beautiful 10l watering cans arrived on my doorstep and we were ready to go.

Pascal did not disappoint!

And manpower of course

The super simple plan is this: You remember that hubby has us all bath in the same tub of water? We still do that. But here’s the change: instead of the last bather pulling the plug and having all that lovely warm greywater run down the drain, we leave it in the tub. Viola! The heat of the water gets transferred to the air, as well as much needed moisture. Granted, it is not much heat or moisture, but because we have all our bedrooms together with doors that can be closed between us and the rest of the house, the area that needs heat and higher humidity is small. We have not put a heater on once this winter! And our youngest did not once suffer from croup as he used to every winter. Perhaps it was a warm winter and perhaps our son is outgrowing his croupiness, but perhaps our primitive plan DID have something to do with it. At no cost. Yeeehaaa! Besides, greywater has to cool down before you can use it in the garden.

Labour intensive.... yes

Next morning, my three darling children and I all take our watering cans, fill it from the bath and water the garden! As easy as that! No pumps! No electricity! And a shared chore is fun.

A shared chore is fun!

Greywater that is fresher and does not harm our plants

We also use our very own BODY to wash bodies and hair. All our ingredients fully biodegrade in less than 28 days. This way we know nothing in the water will hurt our plants or the soil in our garden. Also, the microbes needed to keep the organic material in the greywater from rotting fast, are the same microbes in all our soap. So we know the greywater will not stink quite so soon.

To be honest I don’t think we would go to the trouble in a wet summer. But during a very dry winter such as this, it works like a dream. Our roses really needed the extra water. And it would otherwise just have gone down the drain! Teaming with life makes sense.

Cheerio!