Thursday, October 15, 2009

Motivational Swings

Warning: This post may be whiny and self-indulgent. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's either the weather or the hormones, but I've struggled the last couple of days to do anything productive. Just Tuesday, as I was walking back from Starbucks, I was feeling quite proud of myself. I was thinking, damn, I finished a writing a section of a book and started the next section, and no one paid me to do it. There was a real spring in my step.

But then Wednesday, for some reason, I couldn't get up the motivation to do anything. I wrote a couple of blog posts, one for another venue I'm experimenting with. And then I felt kind of sapped.

As is my usual habit, I've been analyzing the reasons behind the lack of motivation in order to figure out what to do about it. I could just blow it off, go play WoW and return to working when the mood strikes again. But my protestant work ethic won't let me do that. There's writing to be done! There's laundry to do, floors to vacuum! You're not making any money, you have to do something productive to contribute to the family! And there's the rub. It's not the only rub, but it's a big one.

While we're able to cover our necessities, there are some things we want to do that we can't really afford right now, but that we could easily afford if I were working. Both Mr. Geeky and I have acknowledged this. And I'm torn in multiple directions on the career front. On the one hand, I could put considerably more effort into my consulting work. On the other hand, I could hold out hope for the writing to pay off, but that's very long term. On still another hand, I could just get another job. My worry is that doing either option one or option three would detract substantially from the writing and it would never get done. Because that's where I'd sacrifice the time, not on the family side of things, which are mostly positive right now and I'm getting a lot out of being with my kids more.

And then there's this reality. I am doing 80-90% of the housework. And I really hate housework. I actually had the kids clean the bathrooms yesterday, but I folded 4 loads of laundry and made dinner. Mr. Geeky cleaned up and this morning took the garbage out. But I'm picking up socks off the floor, school papers off the coffee table and dining room table, and generally keeping in my head the various chores that need to be done. It sounds more even when I type it out here, but it doesn't feel even and that's the problem. And I've discussed this problem with the family, and well, no one's really got a solution yet. And frankly, I kind of feel like no one but me cares about the house.

And there's the kid activities, which I really am glad I'm able to let them do, but which is more work on my part also. Yesterday, I went to the farmer's market at 2:30, came home, unloaded, then went to Geeky Girl's field hockey game. I didn't go to the last one and just picked her up from school afterward and GG complained that she was the only one whose mom wasn't there and could I please come to her next game. For the record, I was at Geeky Boy's soccer game. Sigh.

Yesterday, I was overwhelmed with the feeling, once again, of being completely disconnected from my community. When I got to the game, there was a group of moms standing watching the game. I walked toward them and stood near them, but didn't say hi or anything. I only knew a few of them and just didn't feel comfortable just walking up to them. They were kind of huddled together talking and they either never saw me or chose to ignore me. And I know this is more my problem than theirs, but still, I just felt awkward. A majority of my social interactions are coming through the Internet, which is not a good thing, but I have few ideas about how to fix that, at least on a regular basis. We are having people over later this month and going to a party next week, but day-to-day or weekly at least, I think I need more face-to-face connections. I miss that about work.

And then there's the walking/exercising, which has slowed down considerably. The weather has been uncooperative and it takes a lot of time. I might have to work on a better schedule for it at least. I'm sure it would help with the mood issues. Geeky Girl has promised to go on a longer walk with me on Sunday if the weather holds out. It's a nice show of support.

I'm feeling pulled in too many different directions and none of them feel comfortable for different reasons. I like writing the best, but worry about its financial viability. Playing the role of sahm is rewarding for the time I have with my kids, but isolating, lonely, and somewhat thankless (especially on the housework side of things). Starting a new business is liberating and exciting, but proving difficult in a down economy in an industry that doesn't tend to look outside its walls for support. And thinking about a regular job feels like giving up, but would bring in much appreciated income. I know I will work through all of this eventually, but it's a lot to process. Thanks for giving me the space to process it in. If you made it this far, you deserve a gold star.