Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quite the multi-tasker?

Reps for Jennifer Lopez claim the Hollywood star is exactly that:

"Lopez, who doesn’t have a nanny for infant twins Max and Emme, has been quite busy lately. She's vacationing in Spain, preparing for the launch of a new fashion line, has a reality show in the works, and now comes news that she’s training for a triathlon, too....Lopez is working out two hours a day, running, swimming and cycling, according to OK! magazine, who talked to her longtime trainer, Gunna Peterson. “The workouts change daily, depending on the day, the time and freedom,” Peterson told the magazine. The trainer sheds light on how Lopez pulls it off: “She may be the most efficient multitasker I know. She literally has every aspect of her life in check,” he says. “She doesn’t have a nanny, a chef, or a nutritionist. She makes time for the kids. Family comes first.”

Uh-huh. Sure. I'm sure Lopez believes this, and needs to believe it; same for her friends. But the fact is, studies show that multi-tasking really doesn't work that well. One can't be doing several different things at once, and give one's full attention to all of them. Something has to suffer. I'm someone who spends a lot of time with his young son (his name is Ethan, and he's a little over 5 months old), and I know from experience that one can only do many things at once. A baby needs one's full attention. And deserves it. I hope Ms. Lopez is being fully honest with herself, and giving her children all the love and attention they deserve.

This also, of course, says something about our media and culture. Because, let's face it, the tendency among many is to say: wow, J-Lo multi-tasks like that; how impressive. But what if we look at it another way? Ms. Lopez has everything--fame, tons of money, accomplishments. So why does she need to multi-task and do everything right now? She has two very young children who need love and support. Given all she has and all she's already done, why not devote her full attention to her children? Should we automatically see multi-tasking as something to be proud of, to strive for? Fundamental: your children should come first. Right?

(And here, by the way, is a place where you can see my wonderful son.) Who's perfect, of course; not that I'm biased or anything.