“Because, you see, I do have a job. It concentrates the mind.”

For some reason, this line in a dialogue in Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children, jumped out to me this morning as I was enjoying a little alone time in the can (a rarity. Lokes had the kids downstairs, breakfasting).

If I were to name one of the things that I miss most about giving up my career to become a stay-at-home mom, was the focus I used to have, to make sure I did my job well.

I may not have been an award-winning journalist, perhaps not even a winning one (how life-altering can a piece about the future of pro-gaming in Malaysia be, pray tell?), but at the very least, I had focus. If we truly use only ten per cent of our brains, then I had perhaps used 110 per cent of that ten per cent.

Not so easy when it comes to kids, is it?

While we women, experts believe, may be by and large better multitaskers than men, it is no less strenous an activity, one that scatters the focus like no tomorrow. The logic is there. The ‘job’ of raising children is really a million mini jobs (feed them, keep them warm, keep them from breaking their fingers on drawers, keep them from becoming losers).

More importantly, it also lacks one key factor in KEEPING that focus: motivation. You don’t get days off. There are no promotions. Very rarely do you get sufficient thanks for it (yea, try taking all the hugs and kisses and I love yous to the bank). And boy, does your world shrink quickly, to suddenly become just a series of The Little Mermaid, The Little Mermaid, the extended version, The Little Mermaid soundtrack. Making breakfast, making lunch, making dinner. Trips to school, trips from school, trips to the supermarket, trips to the park, trips to the bathroom. Your mind and body racing from one place to another just to get things DONE.

Focus? Yeaahhaa right. What’s in it FOR ME?

One of my New Year resolutions this year was to read more, and that at least, is giving me some focus these days. Blogging helps too, although that is turning out to be more of an obsession than a hobby. Having moved to the US, reading, which was back home, an expensive pastime because the library was too far away and I could never return the books I rented from those Rent a Book outfits so I’d end up buying them) is turning out very nicely. ‘Coz, you know, Barnes and Noble does not accept hugs or I love yous either, the bastards.

So my dear SAHMS, tell me. What are you doing these days, to concentrate the mind? Scrapbooking? Bakin’ muffins? Making wine charms? Blogging to save the world? Come share!

 

 

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