When it has come to multitasking around the workplace, down the years I have generally been pretty efficient at getting things done. Prioritising and careful time management are key ingredients needed to achieve this. You can methodically think things through, meticulously tick items from your to-do list whilst sipping a delightful latte from the comfort of your desk.
But that was when my workplace was an international pharmaceutical company four years ago.
A different workplace
My current workplace is in a house looking after a nappy-wearing 1-year-old and a 4-year-old pre-schooler who has more energy than the sun. My current desk is the breakfast table and the dishwasher.
Methodical thinking and meticulous planning now join the banana stained wet wipes in the bin. You run on instinct. You are basically an ape. You have suddenly de-evolved millions of years and are looking around your jungle - I mean house - to help you survive.
Being three years apart obviously means that the boys are worlds apart in terms of needs and development. I can safely say that scooping porridge in to a 1-year-old's mouth whilst supervising the buttering of the 4-year-old's toast is more challenging than arranging multiple £100,000 shipments of medication to Australia.
New set of challenges
The multitasking does not cease. If anything, it steps up a notch. The eldest wants to fend off soldiers with his sword outside in the garden, and the baby has just done a poo.
"I have just gotta change your brother's nappy," I say.
"But I wanna look for soldiers," he demands.
Cue meltdown. Or he simply follows me to where I change his brother's nappy - as if he is my protector from the approaching army of soldiers. And boy, did his little brother have an army of soldiers inside his nappy. Jeez!
It's worth it
I have my own daughter and I have also worked in a children's home - both of which mean that I look after one child at a time. Looking after two - especially two at totally different stages - is a whole new ball game.
It's the equivalent of going from playing Pokémon Go in your neighbour's front garden to running for gold at the 100m Olympic final. But being a manny to these two boys has certainly given me potentially valuable experience should my wife and I consider a second child; and what it has taught me is that it's all worth it.
FYI: We managed to safely fend off the soldiers... after I cleared up the category 4 poo. Then I had a latte.
Andy Robinson, Working Dad and Tinies Manny
Find more child and parenting related articles on Andy's Huffington Post page.