Things We Should Do

A letter to myself to read in times of struggle

Dear Miranda,

If you’re reading this, it means that this has not been your finest day or week as a mother.

Your children probably haven’t slept. No amount of concealer can adequately cover the bags under your eyes. All of you are tired. You and Dan find yourselves snapping at each other over silly things thanks to the lack of sleep in your lives.

Showering every other day seems to have become your new normal and four-day hair is your friend. Getting dressed every day is more about function than form. And if Emmas still an infant there’s a good chance that something you’re wearing reeks of dried spit-up. If she’s older, well, there’s probably some disgusting bodily fluid that doesn’t belong to you crushed somewhere.

You’ve probably used your angry voice. You know the one where your teeth don’t separate when you speak? That one. Your words were probably harsh. Harsher than you intended.

Your children have probably cried and as a result, you probably have, too.

You have no doubt been worn thin meeting the demands of the two small people entrusted to your care.

The days may have been long. They may have seemed never ending.

But you persevered. And you survived them. You all did. Even when you thought you wouldn’t.

And those long days? They aren’t forever.

In your Mama Heart, you know just how quickly time passes. That children grow too swiftly. That you will long for the quiet moments with one or both of them snuggled on your lap. You will ache for the feeling of their tiny hands in yours. You will wish you could read them just one more story, tuck them in one more time.

In your Mama Heart you know those days are just choppy waves in the giant sea of motherhood.

Your children? They’ve thrived in spite of all that you have perceived as a failure.

times of struggle

They are thriving.

You have not failed them.

You are not a failure.

Be more kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for what you see to fault. Give yourself grace for the days when you feel less-than.

Look at these children whose lives have enriched your own and let your heart be happy. They love you when you cannot love yourself. Even with four-day hair.

Love,

Me…

Things We Should Do

Sleep is a thing people still do, right?

The Universe is a crotchety little turd sometimes, yall. See, I thought I had a good baby in Emma. A baby who sleeps. Anywhere! Anytime! Swaddled! Unswaddled! White noise! No white noise! SLEEP!

And then the 4 months wakeful and this newfound love of go-go-going happened and things just haven’t been right since.

Emma MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS all the time. And I love her curiosity and how exploratory she is. But she’s incredibly overtired as a result of all this knowing and growing she’s doing and the fact that I can’t get her to sleep regularly is helping the fall upon my head.

To say it’s causing me a great deal of stress is an understatement. Because it’s causing me a great great great deal of stress and sleeplessness. I am not very pretty when I don’t get sleep. Or nice. Or patient. Or any of the things being a mother requires of me 25 hours a day.

Friday, I was a complete zombie when Dan got home. Did he keep saying Whats wrong? And I kept muttering So sleepy and just sort of flopped around the house all sadsack-like.

Saturday, Emma barely napped despite our best efforts to make that happen. Sunday was more of the same. I tried to drink a glass of wine and have myself a good old cry about my baby and how she won’t sleep and I was too tired to even produce tears. Last night she was up every hour from 11 to 6:30.

Sleep is a thing people still do, right?

We’ve got a host of issues happening right now and I’m not sure what to tackle first.

For starters, she’s getting too strong to swaddle. Then there’s the issue of auto-flipping to her hands and knees and completely losing her mind. Because she can flip over, and does, with gusto, it’s really time to start losing the swaddle. Because she’s up on hands and knees were nearing the point where she needs to be in her crib instead of her cosleeper. (Which means I’m going to lose my lovely side-lying nursing, which blows and is a whole other topic for discussion.)

Here’s where momming two is hard. Just like I’ve said before. I never know whose needs come first. When both of their needs are physical, who gets dibs?

This weekend and the issue I run into more often than not throughout the week is that Joshua needs activity. Emma needs sleep. They need these things at the same time.

I can tell him well do whatever it is we’re going to do when Emma wakes up but he has to be quiet while she naps. Either he doesn’t understand the concept of the inside voice and being quiet or he’s a pre-sociopath and just doesn’t care.

And then there’s the issue of her bedtime. If I can get her swaddled and start nursing her at 6:30, I have the best luck of having a decent nights sleep. Except it’s a crapshoot as to whether or not Dan will be home from work by 6:30 and Joshua won’t stay in the living room while I’m nursing her and needs to eat dinner then and there’s the issue of feeding the adults in the house and it’s like everything happens at 6:30.

Sleep is a thing people still do, right? Pic 2

So, words of wisdom, please? HOW do I DO this?

Or better yet, one of yall just come do this for me and Ill check into the HoJo for a rest and a continental breakfast.…

Things We Should Do

Gratitude is the best therapy

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that yesterday got off to a rough start. I was touched out before 9:00 a.m. thanks to a teething baby who wouldn’t take a nap and a preschooler who wanted ALL THE THINGS. And when I finally got her to sleep and took a shower, Joshua woke her up because he HAD to play blocks when he almost never plays blocks.

(Why do they pick the noisy toys when you need them to be quiet and the quiet toys when it’s okay to be noisy? What kind of law is that Murphy?)

It was one of those mornings where I wanted to just run away screaming and never look back. At least for a few hours.

So, to get out of the house, we went to Target. At the very least, it would just be a change of scenery. And then, while in a drive-thru picking up lunch, I saw this:

Gratitude is the best Therapy
Thanks for the reminder, Universe.

Thanks for the reminder, Universe.

It’s like the Universe knew what I needed to see and showed it to me. Right on time. Like all the life lessons the Universe teaches.

I started thinking about all the things in my life for which I am grateful.

My family is healthy. We have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. We both have jobs, one of which allows me to work part-time from home.

It all felt so trite. So Have vs. Have-not. I mean, I’m grateful for all of those things, yes. But if those are the things I’m grateful for, that means I’m grateful for having them because someone else doesn’t have them. Which just made me feel worse instead of better.

So while I waited to place my order and waffled between a cheeseburger or a chicken sandwich, I thought a little harder.

I replayed our trip through Target. I smiled at the conversation Id had with a former student about the night’s football game and how he was happy for me in my new adventure outside the classroom. I felt the weight of Emma asleep on my chest in the sling. I felt Joshua’s small hand in mine as we walked across the parking lot. I envisioned Emma’s gummy smile. I heard Joshua say, Mama! Wook at dis! I can get dis tomorrow!

I grew lighter and happier with every image and feeling that flashed across my heart. Id did it. Id pushed the reset button on our day. I was grateful for that car and its bumper sticker.

I’m grateful for do-overs.

I’m grateful that even when we have a bad morning or a bad day, there is grace for better moments.

There is always grace.…

Things We Should Do

A blog about blogging: Part Two

I blogged about blogging and yall didn’t run away! Winning!

(Is anyone else still saying that or just me? I admit to being notoriously behind when it comes to proper slang words. But winning is maybe the first good thing Charlie Sheen gave us since Major League.)

First, yall are flattering. Truly. I didn’t write that post as a way to fish for compliments. I don’t ever expect compliments. (Except for maybe about Emma and Joshua because good GOD I grow cute kids and I’m not ashamed to say that out loud.) But really, thank you for your kindness and for telling me that you like what you read here. I don’t ever want to get to the point where it feels like my voice isn’t coming through on this page. It’s a voice I’ve worked hard to develop, and while I don’t doubt it will adapt and grow, it’s my voice and I’m proud of it.

Your comments about growing and blogging, in general, were so helpful in so many ways. And also slightly internally confusing. But mostly incredibly reassuring.

In the beginning, blogging was just for me to talk about being pregnant and then to talk about Joshua and what it was like to be a new mom. It was a place to come and throw my words out to the world. And then things changed and yall helped me realize that that’s more than okay.

It’s comforting to know that it’s okay to want people to read my words and to want to find ways to have more people read my words. I’m happy to know that it’s not selfish and stupid to want to grow.

And then in the comments, the issue of sponsorship and selling out came up and that’s where things get internally confusing.

Take product reviews for instance. There are those who say that if a blogger chooses to publish only positive product reviews of items she genuinely loves, that blogger is being dishonest by handling negative reviews of items she does not love via email with the company instead of publishing them.

There are some readers, not necessarily mine, who believe that monetizing in any way, through selling ads or joining ad networks, makes that blogger a sell-out. And there are others who believe that if a blogger runs a sponsored post, then anything said in that sponsored post is false.

And people can’t even seem to agree on what exactly a sponsored post is. There’s the camp who writes a blog post about something like going to the grocery store and helping an old lady load her car and then at the bottom says this post brought to you by Acme Handbags. The handbag has nothing to do with the grocery store or the old lady but that company bought ad space on that blog and that’s how that blogger chooses to recognize that advertiser. There are others, the kind you’ve seen here, where a company hires bloggers to write about a given topic, advertorials, like my recipe for Cheaters Mousse. It’s an advertisement for a product but it fits within the framework of something I might already be blogging about.

Blogging

In the spirit of honesty, here’s the thing.

Blogging costs money.

And it costs time.

And despite the fact that I’ve quit my day job, I like being compensated for my time.

So if I can write and share my heart and grow my blog and occasionally get paid for that, in either money or products that I love and genuinely use in my home, why is that a bad thing? If people believe me when I talk about the good and bad days of motherhood, why would they not believe me when I say this _____ is awesome and I think you love it?

I’m not looking for a book deal or a billion dollars, but I would like for this to be a self-sustaining hobby that maybe affords me a sitter and a date night once in a while.

If accepting sponsors (which I do) is something that helps generate more traffic for both of us and is a mutually beneficial relationship, is that wrong? A disservice to my readers and the community I’m building here?

What’s the point at which things go from wow, this is an awesome blog to wow, shes a sellout? Where is that line? Is that line different for every blogger and every reader?

Where is that balance?

Save-on-Blogging-Costs

Things We Should Do

Breaking the rules- Blogging About Blogging

Please allow me to be a rebel and break some rules, yall. I need to blog about blogging. Specifically this blog. Because writing commentary about anyone else would be in bad taste.

Basically, I need to say that this is hard.

Sometimes, really hard.

Before going to BlogHer last year, I thought I was on the verge of something big. Huge. I didn’t know what that something was, but I felt it. I knew that greatness was out there, waiting for me. I was incredibly hopeful for the next step. Whatever that next step was supposed to be.

And then I found out I was Surprise Pregnant and got all locked up inside my own mind for a time and weeks would go by before I’d open the dashboard and sit down to clickety-clack on my keyboard and talk to yall. All of my hope was gone? Dormant? Buried under a metric ton of FREAKING THE FREAKOUT.

This year, I went to BlogHer with virtually no expectations for my blog. I really went to see my people and New York City and if I learned a thing or two, cool. And now I’ve been home for almost a month and what I realized I learned is that I want to take this seriously. And I want to be taken seriously.

The trouble is I don’t know how and I’m finding out that there’s a whole lot I don’t know about this blogging thing that I thought I knew. But beyond that, I want this place to grow and I don’t know how to make that happen.

I want people to read what I have to write here on this blog of mine.

It feels wrong somehow to admit that, but I have a desire to have people read my words. But I do.

But I don’t want people community all to think I’ve somehow sold myself out to grow in this space. But I feel like I need to grow. I need to challenge myself to be better. To see what I can be.

I want to tell stories here. I want to get up on my soapbox here. I want to use my voice for good here.

I want to share my life here.

And the word share means that there are two (or more) parties involved. If I’m sharing, someone’s receiving, right?

Here I am. Where are you?

I want to grow this blog without losing my readers. Is that even possible?

Blogging About Blogging