Four years ago, in between breastfeeding my then one-year old son and conducting lectures in a college, my mother said to me, “Ah Yen, I really need to return home to Malacca. I can’t take care of your son forever.”
I looked into the tired face and weary eyes of my mother, and knew I had to make an important decision: to entrust a stranger to care for my baby or to quit my full-time lecturing job and be an income-less homemaker. Not an easy choice.
I turned to my colleagues for guidance; I called up friends for advice, and I scouted around for babysitters nearest to the college. That was, until I found the book Working@Home. A Guidebook for Working Women and Homemakers. Suddenly, I was given another option: running a home-based business.
I remembered asking myself, “Could this be possible? Being here, at home with my son and at the same time build my own home-based business?” I thought long and hard, all the time turning to Working@Home for guidance. One important paragraph from the book jumped at me, “Develop those skills you do not have. Get training. Learn from those you know. Practice by doing them more often. Read, listen and observe.”
And so, I developed new skills. I started writing Buddhist children stories and even did some simple illustrations. I referred to the book to find out what it meant to run a sole proprietorship and read up on invoices, marketing and promotion, and accounts!
Six months after I bought the book, I courageously resigned from my job and plunged into the unknown. As for my mother, she happily returned to her homeland.
I continue learning everyday and I am still learning how to handle criticisms and rejections, and who my true friends really are. I learnt so many new skills that, instead of just selling my Buddhist children’s books, I now conduct Metamorphosis (a form of energy bodywork that releases stress and energy block patterns from our body/mind) workshops at home!
Although I do not make much money (there are many months when I do not get anything at all), yet I am happy and contented because I’m now creating the work and life that I truly love. My books are sold in some Buddhist bookstores in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka; I find time to do my gardening together with the endless household chores; I experiment with wholesome Macrobiotics and Ayurvedic cooking styles; I find time to meditate, to read and write, to practice my Qi Gong and at the same time, teach and guide women to heal themselves and their families through Metamorphosis and Reiki.
And the one most important thing is: I am here, at home, with my son. I am his nurse, his playmate, (was) his milk bottle, his chanting master, his teacher, his storyteller, his mummy-at-home. What more can I ask?
Although sometimes I feel overwhelmed with work and household responsibilities, I am living a full life. And I thank the authors of Working@Home for writing a book that showed me the path to many possibilities. For, it is a book that empowers women to be all that they can be. Buy the book, it is truly a book that changes lives.
Ng Yen Yen (not the politician!) lives in PJ with her husband and son. Besides selling her Buddhist children’s books, Yen Yen devotes her time and energy to help people, especially women, to reclaim their personal power to heal their lives through Metamorphosis and Reiki. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org