Thursday, March 14, 2013

How To Burn Out

Have a to-do list like this:

  1. Cook all meals from scratch and never eat out, buy in or use a boxed dinner.
  2. Sew all the kids' clothes on account of "not being able to find store-bought that fit".
  3. Sign the kids up for swimming, gymnastics, art class, ballet, jazz-tap, soccer, piano/violin/both, volleyball, karate/aikido and drama. Personally drive them to and from all of those classes. While also doing 1.
  4. Publish a book while doing 1 and 2.
  5. Design patterns for sale while doing 4, so as to pay for 3.
  6. Exercise at least 4 days a week.
  7. Do home tuition/remediation lessons with the kids (what we do in Singapore to supplement actual school lessons, but which I never did as a kid and till this day refuse to do with my kids).
  8. Organize and/or accept playdates with each of the kids' 100 friends on regular rotation. Bake cookies and other healthful snacks while hosting playdates.

Alternatively, here's how to not burn out, at the expense of being heinously unproductive as far as "involved parenting" goes: have a to-do list like the one that often drifts in and out of my head:
  1. Employ elves to cook meals and clean the house. Eat out on the days when the elves are out sick. 
  2. Give the kids sacks to wear when they complain about store-bought clothes. Say: "Sacks are one-size fits all!" Invest in fabric markers so kids can personalize their own sack-outfits. Screen results before kids actually wear them out, to eliminate incorrect spelling, unwittingly-coined rude words and (worse) poor color choices. Personally buy and wear store-bought clothes yourself, even if they don't fit at all, just to set a good example and avoid being accused of hypocrisy.
  3. Sign the kids up for cooking lessons and driving class. Then enlist them to help with all the chores that normally consume all your time by slotting them into the elves' roster (see 1) when the elves are on sick leave. Pay them (the kids, not the elves - elves usually choose telepathy over technology when communicating) in cellphone minutes, which you can also take advantage of by texting them links to recipe websites containing dishes you like to eat.
  4. Only buy books that are about world history, politics, outer space conquest or improving personal financing, knowing that they aren't written by anyone you know who has a creative blog, thereby avoiding comparing and feeling inferior to people who write creative blogs and who have published books on crocheting dinosaur-shaped oven mitts.
  5. Hit "delete" when people email you demanding free patterns and tutorials.
  6. Attach weights to your feet (or let the smaller children cling to your leg) and walk around and up and down the house carrying large loads of laundry for natural and incidental calorie-burning. Punch fist in air at regular intervals for sense of solidarity with other equally-resourceful home-exercising SAHMs everywhere. Feel extra encouraged that fist-punching counts for extra calorie-burning because of action against gravity. 
  7. Believe that kids learn best by playing. Then give them an old electric appliance (minus CR tube because dangerous) and tell them to extract all the resistors and stick them on a card in order of increasing value. Offer prizes to everyone who collects resistors whose total value (in parallel for older kids; in series for younger kids) exceeds 50 megaohms.
  8. Tell the kids that school counts as one big playdate; snacks optional.

Of course my real to-do list looks nothing at all like either of those. It only has stuff like, "Buy cereal", "Wash K's snow pants" or "Replenish toilet paper in upstairs toilet if you know what's good for you". Charmingly repetitive.  

Boy, is it hard to come back to real life after a vacation. I'm getting there. Real life, I mean. 


  1. Ha ha. I'm not a SAHM, but I have 3 kids and work full time. I've been burnt out and it's not a good place to be.
    We limit the amount of extra stuff the kids do to 2 a week, where possible they walk there themselves. I don't get hung up about the state of the house (unless someone is coming over). We do cook from scratch, but then the kids are expected to wash up afterwards.
    take time just to chill in front of the TV.
    Oh and work stays at work - it does not come home!

  2. Oooohh... I think you've had an overdose of sunshine! ;) (After a too-long stretch of cloudiness, that is.)

  3. Wait - are you writing a book? One can hope! :)

  4. I just had to tell you that I think you're my twin at times, or at least a sister.:o) You are hilarious...thanks for the lighthearted moment!

  5. It's been a long week at my house. Thank you, thank you for this delightful bit of humor!

  6. This is totally hilarious and was giggling the whole time. thank you for sharing. And if you manage to do the 1st list...I'm totally impressed.

  7. oh yeah, thanks for sharing your camera strap tutorial. mine turned out really well and i am super proud!

  8. Oh ! I thought for a while that you were writing a book. I would buy it as soon as it's out !
    I hope you are getting there... and I'm sure all that snow and more snow does not help.

  9. Oh, I must tell you how fun it is to read your blog! Sometimes (like today), I think you're reading my mind (did you already know that?!). Other times, I am amazed at your creativity and talent...and energy!

  10. #7 on your alternative list made my mind spin!

  11. As kids in Chicago, we often tore apart old radios and such for fun, as we found them in the alley, thrown away. Free toys! My hubby wants me to cook and hand wash dishes every day and after 5 1/2 months straight of this I am burned out. Fasting is looking so doable when he goes on the road to work in June. Well, okay. I'll eat a peanut butter sandwich and milk.

  12. You better add "shovel snow" to that first list.

  13. You're a funny lady! I'm delighted to have stumbled upon your blog via pinterest (cardboard handbags - great idea for 6 yo party next month!). I'm looking forward to more reading. X


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