Observations

Observations

It’s one of those hot and sticky days.

The advertisements in my inbox assure me that this is the last weekend of summer, but the weather feels like it has other plans. I’m sitting outside with a floppy crocheted sunhat, freshly washed hair spilling everywhere, and a bunch of kids completely ignoring their new splash pad.

Smells like cats.

Crows are cawing in the distance, cutting over the music I have playing on a bluetooth speaker. The neighbor’s door slams as they let their dog out. A semi truck rattles by. The baby starts to fuss as she achieves a death grip on my hair, and the two-year-old informs me that she needs a new diaper.

The air conditioning inside feels nice and cool. The baby is settling down to nap as the kids beg for ice cream.

Sounds like a great idea.

About Me

School Lunch

We were part of the free lunch program with our school district this summer. Normally it’s not something I participate in since we’re homeschooling, but this year I figured it would help ease the burden of feeding the horde of monsters that fill my life, with having a new baby and all.

Honestly, we won’t be participating again.

While I appreciate the idea of nutritionally balanced, it functionally doesn’t mean much when the kids refuse to eat their whole grain oatmeal raisin bars. I mean, that’s really asking a lot of them.

ANYway, my main complaint is actually the fact that absolutely everything is ‘fat free’. Like, hey I really don’t approve of the assumptions that you’re making.

I, for one, do not believe that,”eating fat makes you fat,” I do not think that drinking 8 ounces of whole milk a day is going to cause childhood obesity. Maybe the insane amount of juice and soda pop that I’ve seen parents give to their kids, but not things like milk, ranch dressing, and mayonnaise.

I do, however, believe that fat is essential for physical development. I don’t appreciate feeling like I need to supplement meals that are supposed to be nutritionally balanced, because they go out of their way to eliminate such an important element.

And seriously, what sort of person actually thinks that children are going to wash down their whole grain oatmeal raisin bars with skim milk?

The end result has me feeling guilty about the amount of food we’ve thrown away, and I’m grateful that homeschooling is an option for us so my children aren’t stuck eating like that all year round.

 

About Me

Even Moms

I sat down to work on writing my story.

I had the 1.5-year-old solidly in my lap, flailing a balloon around and giggling.

The 8-year-old was listening to her favorite song on repeat.

The 4-year-old and 6-year-old were running around the darkened living room with a flashlight.

When all of a sudden it hit me that I was actually pulling it off.

Oh sure, my story wasn’t exactly progressing quickly, considering that I had to periodically move a balloon out of my face and all, but it was progressing. Despite all the chaos, I was actually getting some writing done.

And all I can feel is an awestruck sense of, “Wow.”

Once upon a time, I used to pray for the planets to align with nap times and quiet hours, then struggled with frustration when day after day refused to turn out the way I wanted it to. Finally, while my third was still a baby, I decided that I had enough and set my mind on writing Light Eternal, rain or shine.

That was late 2016. I finished the second draft a year later, then hung on to it for awhile out of indecision before officially publishing it in 2019. Phew.

In 2018 I had my fourth baby, and shortly afterwards started telling The Black Magus to myself during all the hours and hours and hours that I spent nursing. It wasn’t long before I figured out how to keep baby propped up on the pillow so I could write it down while the other children played video games. I am currently finishing the final proofread.

Some days, I have a harder time tuning out the noise and distractions, and having all the kids around probably isn’t helping me produce the highest quality of writing, but I have become a strong believer in persistence (and editing). It may take me forever to finish a novel, but progress is progress.

I’m blogging about this because I want other moms with small children to know that they can still have hobbies, without hiring a nanny or enlisting an army of babysitters. Guess what? You can still feel like a person with hopes and dreams, even with all the vacuuming and diaper changes.

You just need to find your zen, so to speak. Honestly evaluate what you’ve got to work with, and let go of the perfect scenarios that just aren’t going to happen. Find the spare time in between activities, and utilize it instead of killing it.

And I know: it’s hard. It took me eight years to get to this point, but I did it. Don’t ever give up.

About Me

Conformity

In the past, I used to try to socialize more. My oldest is very outgoing, and when she was 4-years-old, I felt guilty about being such a retiring introvert. Unfortunately, at that age, her social circle was my social circle, so I decided to put myself out there and see about those mom groups. The neighbor who was heavily involved in them seemed to be an okay person (I found out later that she was duplicitous AF), so I thought it would be a safe bet with at least one other “friend” already there.

At 22, I had danced naked in a forest during a thunderstorm (there was no chance of anyone else being around to see me), and I had felt magnificently connected to all of the elements of the Earth. I can still vividly remember the dark clouds overhead, the pink flash of lightning, the prickle of goosebumps in the cold rain, and the elation of nature and magic. I felt that I could never be struck down.

At 28, I was shrinking into myself, feeling hopelessly like an outsider around my peers, small and insignificant in their eyes. In turn, I found them to be boring, controlling, and generally unpleasant, and I was miserable around them. I hated being there. Hated being the only mom who carried my baby in my arms instead of hauling around a car seat, and the defensive reactions I got when I simply commented that it was because I thought car seats were cumbersome. Seemingly, everything about me was not only wrong, but actively offensive.

As much as I admire the stereotype of the self-sacrificing mother, there’s a huge difference between sharing my last bite of brownie and selling my soul to fit in. I have my limits.

Shortly after I quit, it filtered back to me that they had all been calling me a “doormat” behind my back. Um, what? I’m supposed to prove that I’m not a doormat by . . . abandoning my natural personality to become what someone else thinks I should be instead? No thank you, I’d much rather be a doormat; there’s more dignity in it.

No matter how others try to cajole or criticize me, I stubbornly stick to what I am. Why? Because I remember how it felt to dance with the wind and rain as the thunder kept the beat. Because I actually look at my peers, dressed in unflattering leggings with their hair tied on the very top of their heads like Teletubbies, and I know that I could never in a million years take myself seriously if I looked like that. Because my Jupiter is in Aries, so I need to be an uncompromising individualist in everything I do. Because I know what makes me happy, and what doesn’t.

As for my oldest, I adore the way she naturally is, and I don’t want her to learn to sacrifice her personality to have fake friends. It would break my heart if I lost her like that.

As a writer, experiences like that always get filed away in the back of my mind, along with all of the emotion and aftermath, to reappear as overarching themes in my stories.