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First things first...

Women's ability to multi-task is not something we learn once we realise we won't make it as far as tea-time without it. It is a skill we are born with, as was confirmed by watching my friend's two-year-old daughter Gloria at church hall playgroup this week.

As my son spent his time bashing the bejesus out of bits of plastic, we mums sat and observed while drinking stewed cups of tea (it's like the 1970s in there, all sugary orange squash, ladies in tabards, and Rich Tea biscuits. Far preferable to all that yummy mummy malarkey: once I took my boy to a dance class where he had to float around making shapes with ribbons to Little Fluffy Clouds by The Orb).

Anyway, Gloria spent the class driving around in a toy car, talking on a toy phone and hoovering with a plastic vacuum cleaner, all at the same time. Clearly prepared for the years ahead.

She would have been unfazed by the week I've just had. My husband was away and the troops were drafted in so I could get on with working without being asked 376 times why the sun is round; my son recently mastered the art of chat and hasn't stopped talking since. But Raffi was not in agreement with being palmed off to the care of others and during a visit to my next-door neighbour, chocolate muffins and back-to-back Fireman Sam weren't sufficient to stop him sobbing so loudly behind their front door that I had to rescue him from his terrible fate.

So there it was - childcare and work at the actual same time. This involved a lot of letting him watch people unwrap Kinder Eggs on YouTube (a favourite pastime) and a lot of eating things that the ribbon-wielding mummies would never allow past their precious's lips.

Still then, I'd get a 10-minute burst of activity before he'd come over, shut my laptop and instruct me it was time to play cars. A Peppa Pig DVD would give me further respite, until that got boring and he'd come over again, desperate for his mother's love.

So I sent emails and wrote features with him jumping on my head and shouting, 'Dinosaur. Rah!' over and over and over. I didn't manage to do the hoovering at the same time, mind, so maybe I do need lessons, after all. Perhaps Gloria could set up a multi-tasking workshop in the church hall. I'll bring the squash and biscuits.

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Multi-tasking means working while my son watches people unwrapping Kinder eggs on youtube
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2013
Words:427
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