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DADDY DIARIES: Who said men can't multitask?

Tuesday January 28 2020
DD2801

Somehow, his demands are met, meals are prepared on time, the house is kept clean and I am still able to work, write and review books, push client products in the market and still deliver Daddy Diaries every week. ILLUSTRATION | IGAH

By HILLARY LISIMBA

One of the most widely sold belief the world over is that women can comfortably multitask, but that the male brain struggles to switch between more than one task simultaneously.
Like it is with every theory, there is always a clique of people with evidence both for and against, sometimes leaving us wondering which side of the scientific divide to believe.

So some, like myself, go the way we solved such quagmires in the village; put a bit of water or saliva on the palm then hit it hard.

The direction it splashes towards wins. But I have to add that sometimes it went in both directions, throwing us right back into that initial stalemate.
MANSPLAINING
If (and I’m emphasising on the ‘if’) that theory is true, it could be the reason men are believed to struggle raising children; that God specifically gave women a brain to handle a lot at the same time because He knew they would need to run households, raise multiple children and still remain sane.

Well, I am here to burst that bubble; IT'S A LIE OOH! (say it with that Nigerian accent).

Having singlehandedly raised a boy from the age of one, I can, without batting an eyelid, confirm that men who tell you their brain is not wired for multitasking are just mansplaining (explaining something by a man to a woman with a heavy leaning towards patronising).

In other words, men have basically held onto that narrative, like a dying man clutching at a straw, and continued to use it to their advantage so that they are not given too many roles in households.

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However, with benefit of hindsight, coupled with my years of hands-on experience, I will tell you for free that when push comes to shove every man is capable of handling twice as much as a woman can.

ALONE

The year is 2017, the month of June. I had just let go of my house help who was having separation issues, so she would text or call out of the blues to either insult or inform me of better job offers in the pipeline.

I had also stopped going to the office and requested my business partner to let me script and edit our projects from a little workstation I had erected in my sitting room.

The result was that I had client work to do, a house to run and a one-year-old baby to parent ALONE. Being in that position made me learn that innately, I was sufficiently equipped to do multiple things, only that I had been in a comfort zone because there was always female help by my side.
Countless times I would be on the machine editing, shoving food in a young man’s mouth, going through Facebook insults from Kilimani Moms on my phone and watching Air crash Investigation on National Geographic all at the same time.

After that I would move to the kitchen and replicate the order of business; wash utensils, watch over the boy in his walker, keep tabs on two burners (one for the starch and another the stew) and even squeeze in a minute or two to wipe the kitchen surfaces.

You have no idea how many times I would be on phone quarrelling with my mom (codenamed Thatcher), shaking myself around to sooth the boy to sleep and seamlessly having supper.

PERFECTED THE ART

Even in my bed at night I would be going through a series of parallel thoughts; questioning my decision to let my wife go abroad, wondering whether she is okay among those Arabs, planning baby's routine the following day, listening to whether his heartbeat was still normal and toying around with new ideas to infuse into the impending edit. Now, if that is not multitasking then I do not know what it is.

I perfected the art so well that plans to get a replacement house help were quickly shelved . . . And they have remained so since 2017 to date.

My earlier expectation that things would get easier as the years went by have also been squashed. You see, at five years he knows how to demand attention, nag, shout and remain awake the whole day to stress me.

That he walks, talks and gets curious means he now has potential to burn everything around, flood the house, smash the TV with his football and feed my aquarium fish on beef stew.

I am still the go-to person for reference, insight and approval in the little things he creates with ink, pen, paper and building blocks.

Somehow, his demands are met, meals are prepared on time, the house is kept clean and I am still able to work, write and review books, push client products in the market and still deliver Daddy Diaries every week.

As a matter of fact, I recently added myself more work through an initiative called Project Hand-Over, where I collect used textbooks from people and distribute them to needy students.

So, who said we cannot multitask?

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