Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mommy Mode – The Top-Secret Super Sonic Gear

Sometimes there is just a lot to do and a very short time in which to do it all. For instance, when my mother was grocery shopping with three young children and there was a neurotic dog at home with separation anxiety and an affinity for jumping through screen windows and chewing on door frames. Or when she was teaching piano, while watching her kids, while entertaining the clients’ parents and half-babysitting the clients’ siblings. Or while she was making a batch of wontons whilst doing the dishes, as well as entertaining a neighbourhood singing group and simultaneously acting as a piano accompanist for their feature number “The Rose”.

My grandma used to tell tales about how the day my mother returned from the hospital after having her third child, my youngest brother, she went immediately grocery shopping. It baffles most people to think that someone could have so much energy after squeezing forth life from their loins, but my mother just shrugs at the story and explains, “We needed groceries.”

My mother is a miraculous woman who can multi-task like it’s nobody’s business. And my sister and I used to secretly joke about how she’d get into a trance-like state when there was a lot to accomplish, she’d get tunnel vision and there wasn’t a force in the world that could stop our mother when she got efficient like that. We called it “Mommy Mode”.

For instance, when we occasionally stopped at the grocery store to “just pick up some eggs”, we had two choices. The first choice involved sitting in the car while mom ran inside to “just pick up some eggs”. We’d bet on how many bags of groceries she’d have when she returned, literally, HOURS later. The second choice wasn’t a lot better. We could go inside the grocery store, and RUN next to our mother as she dashed here and there in a seemingly haphazard pattern. Whenever I think Mommy Mode, this is what I envision: the grocery store.

So Mary and I joked about it. However, as we grew older, we’d find ourselves occasionally falling into that crazy mystical super-sonic gear in which the rest of the world seemed to slip into slow motion and we whirred around accomplishing many great feats at lightning speed. It was funny to suddenly realize that we were so much like our mother. But it was also glorious. We realized that we reveled in this new-found efficiency. Suddenly we appreciated the demands a woman has on her and how Mommy Mode is sometimes the most logical and safe answer.

I admit that I am not as good, yet, as my mom. I can go fast (good GOD can I ever go FAST), but I’m not truly convinced that I’m being efficient. For instance, say it’s Saturday and I’m trying to clean the house. I start one task, like clearing off my desk, and get distracted, say, by all the paperwork that needs filing. Then I’ll leave my unfinished desk to file paperwork, only to notice, as I’m sitting on the carpet, that I need to vacuum. So I’ll begin to vacuum and arrive in the living room and notice that the dishes in the kitchen need cleaning. I’ll leave the vacuum cleaner, begin to do the dishes and see a pair of scissors that belongs in my room, on my desk……
It seems completely ridiculous unless you’re there at the end of the day when I can kick it into high gear just long enough to quickly finish all the little tasks I’ve begun earlier, in quick succession. It’s a satisfaction like no other. (Well, it ranks pretty high anyway).

It’s during those moments that I feel like I am imitating my mother’s admired efficiency. And admire her I do. She might just be Wonder Woman.

Disclaimer: The preceding blog is meant to gently tease my mother but mostly to poke fun at my own idiosyncrasies. I am proud to have learned the things I have from my mom, I love her dearly and mean her no disrespect.

COMMENTS -- Please feel free to share your Mommy Mode Moments.


jay said...

For the past few years, when I get home for Christmas I put up the tree and lights and a million other chores in the first couple of days. Mommy-mode, boys can catch it too!

Ben & Maryann Roebuck said...

It's a gift. I do believe Jay has it too. The best is waking up early on a Saturday morning - going running, shopping, cleaning, baking... and being able to tell Ben everything I've done before he's woken up. Sleep in for him - Mommy mode for me.

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