Friday, January 21, 2011

Burnt out but blessed enough

As at last Tuesday, I have written 70 (or maybe a few more than that) parenting-related articles for a local daily on a fortnightly basis. I will be completing three years with this column come mid-2011. It's been getting harder in the past year to stockpile articles and I'm down to churning out one, or at the most two, every two weeks, just enough to keep up with the deadline.

I know there are still so many parenting-related topics I can write about but somehow the motivation seems to be missing. The ideas are not as forthcoming as before, and if they do come, the dopamine-inducing part of my brain seems to have fallen asleep. I'm sure I'm burnt out, I lack inspiration and I have this tendency of being easily bored with routine. 

Juggling a myriad of responsibilities as a SAHM/WAHM is not as fun as it used to be. While I cannot quit being a SAHM till kingdom come (well, I'm exaggerating here for effect!), I would like to take a break from writing a piece every two weeks. I don't mind the other adhoc writing or publishing-related jobs but having to stick and commit to a fortnightly one is becoming quite a drag. If only it can be as easy as having to brush your teeth everyday.

But what's holding me back from taking this break is the regular monthly cheque I get at the end of the month. The amount is nothing to shout about but it still counts for something. It could pay for our trip to Hong Kong last year. It could help subsidise our monthly grocery bill. It's a pathetic sum in fact, compared to what I used to get as a FTWM (fulltime working mom), but of course, that's comparing an apple with an orange. But simply for comparison's sake in terms of monetary rewards, it amounts in one year, to what I used to get in one month or less....

So what should I do with this dilemma? I'm afraid that if I take a break, I might never want to return (if they still want me that is), and not having something regular to keep me 'grounded' is also something not very good. Can I find a different activity that does not cost me any more time than I can ill afford, something that pays (even if not much), and something that can activate my dopamines and give me a thrilling rollercoaster ride?

Is this just a passing phase, mid-life crisis, prolonged boredom, or worse depression? I sure sound rather manic with all this griping and self-analysis. I wish my responsibilities cover only cooking, chauffering (I can live with this I guess) and childminding (no choice for this one), unless I can afford a housekeeper, cook, private tutor/governess and driver. I dislike cleaning, tidying, laundry and ironing. And as much as I love my dog and garden, I sometimes wish someone else could feed, bathe, groom the furry boy and water, pluck and trim the plants and weeds etc. Then I'd have time to exercise more, get facials, massages, watch movies, take up a hobby! Oh, but all those require a fair bit of dollars which a SAHM like me does not have.

Nevertheless, I should count my blessings that I have enough food to eat, a roof over my head, an old car to drive, caring family members and a loving but strong-willed kid to hug (and nag at!) and I believe, a God who knows what's good for me.

And now, I must gather some bits of grey matter, spice them up with dopamine and start writing a piece for that parenting column!

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