I’m not quitting my day job

Pop Quiz.  I am a:

A.  Domestic goddess
B.  Top chef
C.  Candidate for mother of the year
D.  Master handywoman

If your answer was “E,” none of the above, you would be right indeed.

Nevertheless, I’m doing a guest post today for one of my very first bloggy friends, Sandra, over at Sawdust and Paper Scraps.  Sandra is a busy mom who somehow finds time to do some amazing DIY projects around her house, like this one.  Even if you don’t read my post, I encourage you to check out her blog, because she does some truly inspirational projects!

Sadly, even though my guest post allows me to brandish this button…

Sawdust and Paper Scraps

… it’s pretty obvious that what I should be displaying is this…

Sawdust and Paper Scraps

So I’ve decided not to quit my day job in favor of becoming a handywoman… yet, at least.  Off to work I go, after a week of glorious vacation.  Poo.

PS:  If you know of anyone looking to hire a full time popsicle stick yurt maker, please send them my way.  Salary requirements:  $100K/year, or an unlimited supply of grape popsicles.

Oh, snap!

I suck at snappy comebacks.

When I find myself in a conversation that gets my panties in a bunch, I get so emotionally caught up in the moment, my tongue gets tied.  I freeze.  I walk away feeling like there are so many words left unsaid.  Then I stew, fret and obsess.

And finally, hours or days later, I come up with the perfect comeback.  I find the words that are witty, insightful and poignant (to me, at least).  And, of course, by that time, it’s too late.  The only one who even remembers what initially prompted the comeback is me.

Verbal comebacks are not my thing.

But apparently, I’m good at the other type of snappy comeback.

You know, the kind when you vow to quit something (like, say, blogging), decide after a whopping four days in that you really can’t stay away, and then reappear on the scene like a teenage drama queen.  That kind of comeback.

Last week, I wrote about taking time off from blogging.  About feeling overwhelmed by too many pots on the stove.  About needing a break and simplifying.  I decided to put writing temporarily on hold.

I was thinking about taking anywhere from 3-6 weeks off.  I did.  Turns out, those weeks were just measured in dog years.

In retrospect, the whole withdrawal thing probably would have gone over a lot better if I would have removed Google Reader as my homepage.  Do you know any recovering shopaholics that spend their day hanging out at the mall?  I do.  They’re the well dressed ones who found all the best deals.

The truth is, after about 48 hours, I started to miss it.  Maybe it’s the forbidden apple syndrome, but seeing the blog and not being able to use it suddenly made me really how much I like having it in my life.  And, in my own little melodramatic way, I think I’ve grown to actually need it.

What else has changed in seven days?  Lots.  And nothing.

I haven’t been on Blog Frog or Twitter for a whole week.  I think I’ve been on Facebook two times since then, which is a record for me.  I’ve suddenly found some missing hours from every day I forgot I had. 

I’m also learning to accept the fact that I will never, in this lifetime, see the bottom of my Google Reader box.  I actually deleted everything in it, and started from scratch.  It was a little sad, seeing all of those not-yet-discovered little gems disappear.  But it also felt cleansing.

I can’t read the entire internet every night.  And I can’t reply to all comments or visit every commenter’s blog like I want to.  I have to be okay with that.

This past week, I’ve come to realize just how much time I spent in the evenings (after the kids had gone down for bed) commenting, writing, networking, or just dinking around aimlessly on the internet.  I would sit down for a few minutes, and it would turn into hours without me realizing it.  I’ve been able to physically turn off the computer, back slowly away, and go spend some time doing something meaningful with my better half.

This week, our meaningful activity has been to have Jay whomp me at Frogger on the Playstation.  I’ve discovered I like getting whomped.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I hate losing.  But I’d rather be trounced by Jay than anyone else.

And so, I’m tentatively venturing back in to something I really like.  I’m going to take it one day at a time, and try not to lose sight of why I’m doing this.  I’m going to attempt not to change things I have no control over.  I’m going to try to not stew, or fret or obsess.

Maybe, by doing that, I’ll find the right words.  Maybe, this snappy comeback will be a meaningful one.

Mama's Losin' It

Motherhood is a club. And I don’t mean the whapping kind.

There is a club I never knew existed five years ago.  It’s called motherhood.  It is the instant bond I feel with another woman, simply because there is someone in the world that refers to them as “momma.”

To say it’s unique would be an understatement.  I know of no other group where the initiation rites were so different for each member.

You may have adopted, gained a child by marriage or surrogacy, or carried a little one around for months.  How you made your way into the club  is irrelevant.  If you’re a mom, you’re in.  We all paid our initiation dues in some form, and are still paying them daily.  

Undoubtedly, there is no other club as diverse as motherhood.

Some are mothers to one, or a to whole brood.  There are mothers who spank, mothers who emphasize “positive discipline,” and mothers who appear to appear to have no discipline strategy whatsoever.  Career moms, stay at home moms, work from home moms.  There are moms in the club who are single, married, in a relationship, or are raising their kids with a domestic partner.

Not surprisingly, like any group comprised solely of women of such diversity, it’s never boring.  There is camaraderie, support and connection.

But there is also drama.  And cattiness.  And judgment. 

I know this word well.  I judge myself every day.  As a mother, wife and person.  Not a day goes by when I don’t question or reaffirm:  Am I making the right choices?  Am I giving enough?  Am I truly a good mother?

But honestly?  The judgment I feel at times from other mothers is way harsher.  Sometimes I feel myself being emotionally whapped by members of the very club I love. 

Whapped for letting my first child cry it out.  For not letting my second child cry it out, and spoiling them.  Whapped for daring to choose a career and children.  Whapped for bringing in a nanny while I worked from home, because I couldn’t do it all.  Or, later, for putting my kids in daycare.  Whapped for wanting, as much as I love my children and being a mother, to sometimes throw in the towel and pretend, even for one hour, that I am not someone’s “mom.”

I’ve felt whapped by judgmental words directed to me, at me, and in my general direction as a reader.  I’m a big girl.  I try to suck it up, take a deep breath and shake it off.  But still, I struggle to not take offense or internalize those words.  Sometimes, it is hard not to immediately hit the reply button and leave them a nasty note telling them to take their opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Everyone has their own viewpoints.  Thank God for that.  A world where everyone thought or parented the same as me would be boring as hell and frankly, on Type-A overload.

I have my own opinions.  A plethora of them, in fact.

I strongly believe Tofurkey is a lame excuse for meat, and belongs in the “cardboard” section of the food pyramid.  I think thongs are evil, and there is nothing wrong with showing a little visible panty line.  I believe Bud Light Lime is the best thing since, well, regular Bud Light.

Those opinions are easy to voice.

And I have opinions about important stuff as well, like motherhood and parenting.  Very strong opinions.  Sometimes I voice those, too.

But I choose my words carefully. 

It’s not that I’m afraid of saying something controversial.  I love healthy debate.  I love reading about different opinions, choices and experiences, even when I don’t understand or relate to them.  I sometimes disagree with other people’s opinions, and if I feel strongly enough about it, I occasionally say so. 

But I choose my words carefully, because I firmly believe it’s not what I say, but how I say it.  I can voice an opinion – and a strong one at that – but try to say it in a way that doesn’t shred someone else’s beliefs or lifestyle.  As adults, we should be able to articulate our differing opinions without snark, mudslinging, finger pointing, or passing judgment on someone else’s choices as a parent. 

I choose my words carefully, because I respect the club.  I respect any woman who would venture into motherhood.  I respect their sacrifices, their love for their families, and the fact they would lay down in front of a bus for their children.  And, yes, I even respect the fact that some mothers feed their families Tofurkey.

I honestly believe there isn’t a right way to parent.   The choices I make when raising my kids are the right choices… for me and my family.  I make mistakes every day, and I still believe they are the right decisions… for me.

There isn’t a damn manual for how to be a good mother, partner or person.  We all write our own.

And we are all in the club.

NOTE:  If you read my last post, you know I am taking a self-imposed break from blogging.  Obviously, that lasted all of four whole days.  Hey, no one ever said breaking up was easy.  Actually, this post has been clanging around in my drafted items for weeks.  For various reasons, I was motivated to finally finish it today.  And because inspiration is hard to come by for me these days, and the timing is right, I’m also linking this up to these sites:

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I need to break up with you.

Dear Blog,

I’m breaking up with you.

Please understand.  It’s not you, it’s me.

Actually, it is you.  Truth be told, you’re not the same blog I used to know.

I remember the first time we met.  You were mine.  All mine. You were special, and quirky, and a bad dresser.  No one knew about you, and I loved you anyway.  In fact, not even my husband knew about our affair in the beginning.

And then one day a few months ago, a stranger came up and complimented you.  I took notice, and beamed with pride.  I decided to “come out” about our relationship.  I gave you a blog makeover and made you wear different clothes.  I started talking about you more to other people.

That’s when things started to change.  I had no idea the can of worms I’d inadvertently opened.

I quickly realized:  Anyone can blog.  But being a blogger is about making connections.

And I admit, I got caught up in the connections.

I loved connecting with some fantastic women, and feeling like they “got” me.  I loved the “ding” in my email box and reading the subject line: “New comment on…!”   I loved reading another blog and thinking, “Wow, they completely nailed what I was feeling.”  I loved finding inspiration from a kindred spirit after I had a crappy day.  Or reading a post and laughing so hard I blew beer out my nose. 

I actually don’t love that last part… it really hurts and makes a big boogery mess all over the computer.

But connect I did.  And I lost sight of the fact that it was no longer just you and me.

I also had no idea that when I started my public relationship with you, all of your in-laws, second cousins, and a few of your college drinking buddies would come a-callin’.  Sometimes it seemed like I spent more time with them than I did you.  And while Google Reader, Blog Frog and Twitter really are nice folks, they are really more your friends than mine.

I started to miss you.  And the old days.

I haven’t been completely honest with you either, Blog.  What I should have told you when I first met is that I have a life of my own.  A life that includes two beautiful kids, a husband, a full time job, 2 side businesses, a tabby cat, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Our relationship was platonic at first, and it seemed harmless enough.  But lately, it seems to have morphed into a full-blown affair.  Keeping up two relationships is hard.  It’s stressful as hell.

You may not have noticed, but my family has.

Maybe this is all just me.  I honestly don’t know how other people do this whole blogging thing and find balance.  Screw balance.  How do they find time to have a life??  Because I know I don’t have much of one lately.

Theta Mom is doing a little meme on her site called “What makes you a Theta Mom?”  I thought about submitting this post there.  But then I realized…

I honestly can’t call myself a Theta Mom.

Lately, I’m more like a Zeta Mom.  Zeta business woman.  Zeta domestic goddess.  Zeta wife.  Zeta blogger (even though, ironically, you are on the D-list).

I started my relationship with you as a path to self-discovery.  Instead, I found that you were just one of the many things getting in my way of being who I want to be seen as.

Alpha Mom.  Alpha Wife.  Alpha Me.

I’ve been doing too many things, and none of them well.   Something’s had to give.  And I’ve decided to start with you.

I don’t know where we went wrong, but I do know this about you, Blog:

You can’t cuddle in bed with me while watching Disney princess movies.  You can’t give me slobbery, Cheerio-laced kisses.  And you can’t spoon with me at night.

Goodbye, Blog.  It’s been a fun, yet hectic ride, and I will miss you.  I’m hoping that we can once again resume our relationship, be it days, weeks or months from now.

But you can bet your ass that when or if I do come back to you, I’ll know where my priorities are.

In the meantime, we’ll always be friends.  Right?

Martha Stewart redesigned my blog. No, not really.

Were you fooled, even for a second?

Last week, I did a mini blog makeover for my cyberspace pal, Sandra over at Sawdust and Paper Scraps. Her blog is a great inspiration website for do-it-yourselfers (and wanna be DIYs like myself); I only wish I had enough motivation, know-how and time to try to tackle some of the cool projects she takes on.

Sandra contacted me about creating a button for her site, and before either of us knew it, we ended up redesigning her entire site.  Poor Sandra…my not-so-inner Type A couldn’t leave it well enough alone with just a simple button.

I admit I got a little blog envy as I watched Sandra’s site come together.  My own blog?  I threw it together in about an hour and, since there were about 2 readers at the time (one of those being me), I wasn’t too concerned with the overall look.

Kind of ironic that I don’t spend much time designing my own sites, since that’s what I DO.  It makes me wonder if Martha Stewart’s house is really a mess.  Okay, bad analogy; I’m sure Martha’s house is meticulous.

Anyway, this week, I decided to give my own little blogdom a makeover.  If you’re wondering what’s up with the new logo, there is indeed a method to my madness

I’m liking the new look, if I don’t say so myself.  And hey, while I’m shamelessly tooting my own horn, I might as well mention I’m running a giveaway for custom nursery artwork over here.  If you know of anyone who might want to enter my giveaway, it would make my day.

Enough about me.  Really, who wants to hear me toot?  (Okay, that came out wrong).

My next post will be about my kids, as this blog was intended.  And, as Martha would say, that’s “a good thing.”