blogging

Sunshine Blogger

I realized this month marks 8 (!!) years of this blog’s existence which is so crazy to me. I can hardly believe how much has changed and what this space has brought me. I haven’t been spending as much time here, but that is largely just because this time of the semester is crazy, and it’s also because I’m working on other projects taking up my creative energy right now.

So when Elizabeth forwarded this Sunshine Blogger recognition to me, I decided to play along. The “rules” are simply to choose a fellow blogger who inspires positivity and creativity in the online community. Then send them some questions and be sure to answer the ones sent to you. It’s a fun way to honor a fellow writer and to introduce readers to new spaces.

Untitled

Here were Elizabeth’s questions for me. I had fun answering them!

  • Is it difficult to write about true stories from your life?

Sometimes, yes it is. It’s weird for me because sometimes things just pour out – almost without my permission. (In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert refers to it as feeling like you are on a moving sidewalk.) And other times, a little essay can be so slow going and really just downright difficult to get out. Right now I have an outline for a book, and I am plowing my way through chapter by chapter. Some of these stories fly right out, and others take a while to shape.

  • When writing, how much attention do you pay to your audience?

For blog posts, I think I imagine my audience as a good friend. I’ve interacted with readers here and there over the years, so it’s become this safe and soft space where I can sit down and spit something out without judgment like I would with a friend over coffee. I know there are naysayers or haters or whatever lurking somewhere, and I’ve received some spiky comments here and there, but they are few and far between, and I throw that audience way out of my head when I am writing. If I didn’t do that, then I’d never write at all.

  • What do you avoid writing about at all costs, if anything?

I guess in a practical sense, I am careful to never write about anyone else’s challenges or motivations for their actions. I might mention how someone’s actions (as a statement of fact) affect me, but I don’t tread on the ownership of their perspective. I’m actually not sure that I have a good answer for this question though. I am of Hemingway’s belief that you have to “write hard and clear about what hurts.” I’m writing harder and clearer for my book than I do for my blog. But I firmly believe that place where it gets uncomfortable for me is that place where the magic happens.

  • What’s your favorite post from your own blog?

Oh this is a hard one! I love re-reading the birthday letters I write my kids. I’ve stopped doing that publicly with my son, and I soon will with Norah as well. I still write them, but I don’t share as much here because of privacy as they grow older. The post where I came clean about my divorce is on my list of favorites because now when I read that, it has such a prophetic tone. I had no idea the beauty that was waiting, and I was writing that through tears and shaky hands, right in the middle of the searing pain.  This post when my grandmother passed is also on the list – no doubt. That one was a moving sidewalk for sure. It came from somewhere else, and I wrote it so quickly. Lastly, I’d say “Sinking the Ship” is up there. That one came out like a manifesto that I didn’t expect when I sat down to write.

  • Do you have a favorite post from someone else’s blog?

I don’t know that I have one favorite, most memorable post. There are certain writers that have been really influential for me for lots of reasons — Dooce’s honesty was my first introduction to the idea that blogs can be powerful. I was obsessed with her blog back in maybe 2007-2010 or so. I used to read Lecia Phinney pretty regularly too, but she stopped blogging as she began working on her book. Glennon Doyle circa 2012-2016 or so probably put out the most powerful and memorable posts that stand alone for me. Her do-I-stay-or-do-I-go post was written after I left, but I loved that one so much.  She speaks my language. Anne Lamott “blogs” through Facebook posts every now and then, and every single time, I am nodding in agreement. She is incredible.

  • Do you ever wish you could take back one of your posts that perhaps an earlier version of yourself had written?

Well, ahem, this blog chronicles a totally normal, totally happy little family from 2010 when I started writing here until 2015 when it blew up. That is super weird to look back on. I’ve considered removing those posts because this blog became something else… because I became something else. But that seems weird — to strike years from my record like that. So I’ve left it. I also think, in general, that my early posts are boring because I am not at all writing about what hurts. When I got real is when this blog got better, and that’s when my audience began to grow as well.

  • Do you write more for personal or professional reasons?

Personal for sure. Even when working on this book lately, I’ve really had to look at it that way for it to feel true. Maybe only 20 people will read it one day, but who cares? I write to explain things to my own self that I otherwise might never understand.

  • What’s the most amazing thing about you?

Oh, yikes. I get weird imposter syndrome about everything in my life, so this is hard to answer. I guess that I stay open and that I have softened instead of hardened when some really terrible and scary things have happened to me. I think my very best days are ahead, and I always keep the faith that a larger thread is pulling my life every minute. I am very good at finding the sacred in the mundane. It keeps me going.

  • What is your greatest aspiration as a writer?

To write a book that more than a handful of people will read. To leave my children with my story.

  • What do you wish you knew about blogging before you began?

That it doesn’t matter if 10 people read or 10,000. Just write. The readers meant to find you will find you, and sometimes cozy is better. I’ve had days where my stats soared to 15,000 or higher in response to something on Huffington Post or Scary Mommy, but those are not my best blogging experiences at all. The times I poured something out here and heard a small chorus of “me too” are far better moments than tons of page views. Just write what you know. It’s your journal.

  • Do you ever get tired of the whole thing and want to throw in the towel (speaking of your blog here)? 🙂

I do throw in the towel from time to time in that I will go a month or two without a peep. But I know that it’s always here waiting for me when I get to it. It’s my little corner of the internet (for 8 solid years now!) and my happy place.

I nominate For the Love of Wonderlust because she inspires for sure, and I also nominate Memory Box Mom whom I’m lucky enough to call a close friend.

Questions – if you want to give them a try:

  • Why did you start blogging?
  • Why do you keep doing it? Why you keep coming back to it with so many other social media forms?
  • How has blogging changed for you since you began? Has your site somehow taken a different shape than you expected?
  • Do you envision a certain audience when you write?
  • Do you have a favorite post of yours?
  • What’s your best writing advice?
  • Describe your ideal day? Is writing part of the equation?
Advertisements
blogging, Books

springtime (and a present for you!)

It’s officially the spring equinox today. The sun is out, the grass is getting greener, and new things await for all of us.

The rhythm of changing seasons is such a comfort, isn’t it? No matter how cold and bleak something is looking in the present moment or what little annoyances are speaking loudly in your ear, it will come and go and eventually make way for something new. Nature mirrors everything else for us if we pay attention.

March brings my own birthday, and it also brings the “birthday” of this little journal – one I began late at night in a chair at my kitchen desk in a house that is now two houses past with a baby who is now a growing boy and a life that is now a million lifetimes ago. I never in a million years – never ever ever, I cannot stress that enough – saw this tiny space as becoming what is has been for me in my past year and a half. I chose a blog title somewhat hurriedly and randomly when I knew that I’d be writing mostly about motherhood and a little about books. I had no idea that it would become about so much more than that. A journal of pain and heartache but also one of light and gladness and immeasurable personal revelations born in moments I never foresaw.

And here we are, six years later, I’m still writing and still recording details of my days that may or may not be of interest to anyone but me. But sometimes they are, and sometimes they have led to moments of clarified purpose that propel me forward even now to some place new.

I think words have a way of healing us like nothing else can. They have a way of shedding light on confusion when nothing else makes sense. I often write about someone else’s words and how they changed me, and it is my very favorite thing to get emails from readers – during this past year they came from as nearby as Atlanta and as far away as Germany – telling me that my words have done the same for them. Personal purpose and a burning need to record my own experiences is why I sit down to write in the first place, but it’s the circle of influence and the ripples that result that keep me showing up again and again.

In celebration of the 6th birthday of this little journal, and in appreciation for every one of you who reads here, I put together a little giveaway with the help of some amazing Etsy artists to pass on to a lucky winner. I’m starting with a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s Brave Enough, which is a compilation of quotes from her earlier works. I got my hands on it last fall when it was initially published, and it’s hard to choose a favorite passage. It’s a handy little guidebook when I’m feeling overwhelmed or lost, and Strayed’s usual no-nonsense wisdom shines on every page. The title stems from her passage in an essay on The Rumpus when she tells a reader to “be brave enough to break your own heart,” and that concept echoes on every page. It astounds me how many times in the past year of my life someone has called me “brave” when anyone who knows me knows that I am, in many ways, the opposite of brave. I am scared and cautious and careful at almost every moment of every day, but I’m realizing real bravery stems from the insistence to stand in your own truth and show your real heart. There’s nothing that requires more courage, and there’s nothing that provides those same feelings of peace and power.

To add to my bookish gift, Brianna over at BBeadazzled is giving this beauty. It seemed like the perfect accompaniment to Strayed’s work and a reminder to be brave and show up in the truest way every single day.

Untitled

And Lovewell Handlettering added this sweet little journal as well. Gratitude as a general concept and gratitude as a daily practice are two totally different things, and I cannot overestimate the ways my life has grown and changed by my persistence in recording the beauty of everyday moments in this space. It opens my eyes everyday to see the good in what’s around me. I’d love to pass on an encouragement to you to do the same.

Untitled

I have passed on quote after quote and underlined paragraphs and scribbled marginalia in so many books in the past few years and then shared those words with you here. What I’d like for this bloggy birthday is for you to do the same thing in return. What quote sets you on fire? What line have you underlined or scribbled somewhere in hopes you wouldn’t forget it? It’s hard to choose just one favorite passage, but I’d love to hear one that rings true for you right now. Pass it on and share it with the rest of us.

You are welcome to leave a comment here, or if you are reading from your phone, click on over to Facebook and leave one there if that’s easier. (This post is pinned at the top.) This Friday, the 25th, I’ll number the comments, let a number generator choose the winner, and then check in with the winner to ship your goodies!

Sharing words is my very favorite thing to do, and I can’t wait to see what bits of wisdom you scatter here. I’ll go first with a passage that has guided me immeasurably in the past year and continues to do so when I read it again and again.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

So many times in recent months I have repeated live the questions now again and again in my head, and it still amazes me that words written in 1929 by someone I will never meet can do what they do in my own life. Pretty incredible, isn’t it?

So now it’s your turn. Tell us below or over on Facebook. What words shine like a light for you? I’ll choose a winner on Friday.

Happy birthday, little blog.

blogging, writing

delayed introduction

Hi! I’ve acquired a few new ears around here since Scary Mommy ran my essay a few days ago, so I thought it might be a good time to tell you more about myself if you’re a new visitor here. There’s a bit on my About Me page if you haven’t been there yet. But as with most of us, the full picture is a little larger.

I’m Katie, and I live with my sensitive and curious six-year-old son and his sweet but very spunky three-year-old sister in northern Georgia. Life is never boring with these two, and they are hands down the very best thing that has ever happened to me. Motherhood pulls away the veil like no other experience (for me at least), and they push me to be better and stronger each and every day. They are the center that holds me together on most days. And the mess that makes me come completely unglued sometimes, too. Funny how parenthood works that way. We are never perfect and almost always messy, but they are my saving grace nonetheless.

Untitled

I’ve had this little blog for almost 6 years, and it used to be full of musings about how much I loved motherhood and my simple stay-at-home mom life. Truthfully, it really did bring me so much happiness. I cloth diapered and had a passion for natural birth and made my own baby food like one of those moms (haha!) and perfected all kinds of yummy recipes and pretty much found peace in all the little details of my day. I had a husband I loved and a life I loved. We traveled a lot with our kids (Costa Rica! Paris! Aruba!) as a result of my then-husband’s job, and I love to explore. It was a charmed life, and I loved it.

But something was stirring in the world at large and in my own heart. I have a Masters in English and taught literature to loads of high school students before I became a SAHM, and I received an offer to teach at my beloved alma mater, a liberal arts college in northern Georgia, in the summer of 2013. I had a 3-year-old, a 14-month-old and an unsure head, but my heart said TAKE IT in a loud and clear voice, and so I did. I teach written composition courses now, and I love it. Teaching satisfies my calling in a way nothing else can, and literature is a lifeline for me.

My life blew up in November of 2014, and that is the part everyone knows by now. I was the girl who behaved in school, pushed myself for good grades, demanded perfection of myself, and made all the “right” decisions. What happened when it all fell apart is that it left me with new eyes to see that I don’t have to be perfect, and I shed the heavy armor that, in hindsight, I was wearing to survive the final months and years of my former marriage. I now believe that grace is better than guilt. It’s hard to summarize the growth that has happened since then or the ways that I am still growing, but one of the greatest treasures of my life is that I have every step chronicled here. From the moment I shakily typed through tears at 2am to the moments the light began to return for me and even now as I continue to grow and move forward. It’s all here in words and pictures.

I penned “Enough” in July of 2015 for a Sweatpants and Coffee call for submissions entitled “Right Place, Right Time” about the time when someone said just the right thing to you at just the right time. I felt proud that it was chosen and immense relief at having written down the heavy lesson I’d learned.  I unleashed it into the wide world, but I didn’t know just how far it would travel. It has since been re-posted on Role Reboot, Alternet, and Scary Mommy’s Club Mid – all of which have widened the readership of this tiny journal that I’ve held closely for so long.

I’m honored it has resonated with so many people, and I still get chills every single time I receive an email or comment from a reader explaining why she relates to it. I’m forever grateful for what that little essay has done for me, and it’s amazing to watch it make its own way in the world at large and connect me with so many wonderful readers.

That said, I have grown in leaps and bounds since I wrote that 6 months ago, and I hope to continue moving forward and writing, writing, writing as long as I have something to say. That experience was the catalyst that pushed my life in a new direction, but it doesn’t define me. It feels like it defines you for a portion of time, (and those of you who have lived through any kind of unexpected trauma know what I mean) but as you heal, you see that experience in your rearview mirror as a piece that you will always carry with you but only a small picture of what else there is to you. I am currently 14 months out from those early moments, and I see it getting smaller in my rearview. I hope it will continue to get blurrier as my years roll by.

I have written a lot here, but I don’t give much space to the specific horrifying details of my divorce. I allude to clear and basic facts only when they are necessary to understand the context of my own growth. I was married almost ten years; I found email letters between him and a coworker; I begged and competed for a few weeks before a switch flipped inside of me and I heard the clearest voice imaginable telling me to get out and close that door. They got engaged five weeks later, got married seven months after that. The rest is my own story, my own progress. I made a decision as I began a life on my own that I would not grow smaller and more bitter as a result of what happened but that I would grow softer and more fearless. You can’t fake motivation, and I think readers can see in my writing that I have no desire to punish anyone, and I believe that people are complicated beings. As Charles Bukowski says, “Nobody can save you but yourself– and you’re worth saving. It’s a war not easily won but if anything is worth winning– this is it.” 

Though I have written in this space for 6 years, I’m just beginning to reach more to the outside world. My one and only resolution for 2016 was to write more, submit more, reach more. I’m vowing to create more space in my life for writing and just see where it goes and what the universe has in store for me.

I believe in God, and you can see that spirituality weaves itself in my writing often because it is central to how I understand the world around me. I simply believe, with every ounce of me, that there is a greater plan at work. That bad things don’t happen to you as a punishment but they happen for you as an agent of growth. That every single experience I’ve had is there to shape and mold me and prepare me for what is ahead. We can find meaning in even the worst moments of our lives as we put the pieces together in reflection.

I never once prayed for the pain to stop, never once asked God to soothe my heart even in the early, raw moments. My only prayer for about four months was help me, show me. And that happened. I sincerely think that human connection is the most incredible way that God reveals what we need to know and learn, and I’ve watched a handful of invaluable teachers show up for me when I needed guidance. Rob Bell, Pema Chodron, Jen Pastiloff, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Cheryl Strayed have been the main ones for me in this season. I have faith that I find the words I am meant to find in the wide world at exactly the time I am meant to hear them. We learn from each other and find comfort in each other, and now I see so clearly that it is the raft that will carry us when we’d otherwise drown. The way I have survived the past year of my life is through the words of others, my tight circle of girlfriends who are my restoration, and a stubborn practice of gratitude that shapes the way I see the world.

I am not done yet. I don’t have it all figured out. I do the best I can with every day, and sometimes the best I can do is just breathe deeply and vow to try again tomorrow. I think “balance” is a myth in the life of a mom, or at least the traditional way of seeking balance. I think balance means that sometimes I’m less prepared for my class than I’d like to be because my kids needed extra attention the night before. Or my kids get too much screen time one Sunday afternoon because I have books to read and papers to grade. My house is a wreck sometimes often because I spent time preparing a healthy dinner instead. And sometimes I feed my kids cheap pizza or curl up in a blanket and binge on Netflix to hide from the world when I have the house to myself because my sanity is important to me, and it often hangs by a thread. Balance means prioritizing and doing the best you can. My best is good enough.

So that is me in a long-winded summary. I am so honored that new readers are finding me across the crowded internet. If you feel like speaking up, I’d love a little roll call in the comments – whether you are a familiar friend or new.

Where are you from? What brings you here? And do you have a blog link or Instagram handle you’d like to pass along? Community is the very best thing words can offer, and I’d love to know more about you.

 

 

 

blogging

pause button

Today has been hard. Really hard. There is so much I want to say, but let it suffice that I’ve spent the better part of the past five hours crying. Parenting is hard. Parenting a sensitive six year old in the aftermath of his parents’ unexpected divorce is even harder.

I am exhausted and overwhelmed. I try so hard, and I just don’t know if I’m doing the right things. I left the pediatrician’s office in tears this afternoon and have hardly stopped crying since.

We walked in for a regular well-check, and I can’t even explain the bizarre behavior and tantrum that came from my child. Punching, hitting, and biting me. The nurses were completely shocked, as was I. I’ve been taking him to this same small office since his birth, and they’ve never seen this from him. They weren’t giving a shot. There was no threat. I asked him to pee in a cup, and next thing I knew, we were leaving the office without the exam because he was so beside himself, there was no way it would happen. He was delirious with fear and anger.

I walk a fine line here – and in my everyday conversations with those I’m close to – a fine line between being honest and trying to focus on the good around me. I’m trying so hard to follow the smallest sliver of light toward wherever it will lead. And I want to see that good emerge, so I look for it when I can.

But some days just suck. Sometimes it’s just hard. I get chided a lot from their father that everything I write is designed to make me look “like a martyr,” and I pray that is not true because I do not see myself that way at all. I am not a martyr. I am not persecuted and suffering. I am strong and resilient, and in most moments I am happy. But I refuse to gloss over the hard stuff all the time.

There are three people in this house who are all aching with growing pains, and some days it is really painful to feel and to watch.

I want every single person reading here to be honest and call me out if you see me as trying to appear like a persecuted saint. It is not my intention, but I fear it is what people might think sometimes.

I am not. I mess up everyday, and I take full responsibility for my actions. I’m trudging through some really messy territory right now, and it is not always pretty. There are days when I feel like nothing I could do will mend what has happened. My swollen eyes are evidence of that right now. It is hard – and that is not because I am a saint; that’s because it’s life. Life is messy and sometimes full of shit that I frankly don’t want to deal with, but I am expected to guide these two kids through this patch in front of us, so I have to deal with it whether I want to or not.

This space is really important to me. It is more than a website to me, and I want it to continue to feel sacred. I feel that I’ve written myself through some dark moments, and I can see the thread of my own expanding consciousness, my own growing character, as I read posts from the past few months.

And 99% of you offer so much support and a sense of community that I need badly. But sometimes I wonder if it is worth it when anything I write here is dissected by a few people, and some of you who leave encouraging comments or dare to click a “like” button even receive unsolicited personal messages educating you on all the million ways that I am a terrible person and the multitude of reasons you shouldn’t show me love or respect.

How do you do it, fellow bloggers? How do you feel free to write in spite of the nay-sayers? It’s the one in one hundred complex….  If 100 people in the room love you and one doesn’t, you focus on the one. It leaves me so frustrated with myself, but I can’t help it. Sometimes the one is so loud and so close to your own ear that it begins to steal the joy from the other 100.

I intend to take a break from this space for the rest of the year. Rest assured that I am still writing somewhere – in half-finished documents I hurriedly type or in scattered bedside notebooks. But I am taking a break from posting here until I can gain some strength and resolve to hear my own voice strong enough that others can’t drown it out.

I want this to be my space again, that small and quiet room where I can come to reflect and refresh. I don’t want to let a small few bully me into silence or steal it from me. But to be totally honest, right now it feels a little stolen. I just need to find a way to claim it back again without feeling like I am under a microscope. Especially at a time when I have fought so hard and for so long to sound my own voice.

It’s just a pause button. I’ll be back in 2016 to gain some strength again from all of you. Wishing you peace and gratitude in the last weeks of the year.

 

 

blogging, Life and Randomness

year in review, 2012

I’ve got some goals and ideas for the upcoming year, and I hope to get a minute to write about those sometime soon – if for no other reason than to clear my own head and hold myself a little more accountable.  Looking back on the past year has its merits too though, and I love to reminisce.

My favorite adventure: our trip to Paris in January.  I can’t believe it’s been a year.  I was 23 weeks pregnant and had a 2 year old in tow.  Plus a working husband for half the trip.  And freezing temperatures. Adventure doesn’t really do it justice.  But in the end, it was a really wonderful trip with some of my most favorite memories.
YIP January 2012

My favorite completed project:  the blanket I knit for Norah last spring.

My favorite moment:  this one.  hands down.
Norah

My favorite photo:  The one above is pretty awesome, but this one holds a special place for me as well.  (Thanks, Andrew Thomas Lee Photography.)
IMG_7163

Favorite party:  I loved the black and white themed bridal shower I threw for my cousin, but this Mickey party was super fun, too.  (even though I did neglect to write a post on it!)
737664_10151323936932365_1438016652_o

My favorite blog post:  This letter.  Of course.

I did not post here as often as I would have liked in 2012.  But I miss this space and the clarity that writing gives.  I hope to remedy that in 2013 as we settle in to a routine with two little ones, and I work to make time for all the things I love.

Cheers, friends!  Happy New Year.  Wishing you health and happiness for you and yours.

blogging, In the Kitchen, Life and Randomness

just writing

I’m trying to get back in the swing of this since posting has been slow lately.  I used to write even if I didn’t really have anything to say, and lately I feel like I have to have a real reason to sit here, so I’m just writing today.  There are no transitions here, reader.

I think Jude looked at a calendar and saw that he is turning two this week and decided to start the real tantrums  Because I thought I knew what a tantrum was, but as it turns out, I didn’t.  And yesterday he showed me what it really means when you pitch a fit over something like not wanting to get out of your car seat in the garage which is something we all could get passionate about, I suppose.  The terrible twos have really arrived, I think.  And I am telling myself that I want him to have an independent spirit and that all of this is perfectly developmentally appropriate.  But it’s still hard.

I think it’s the combination of so many new birthday toys and some stale things that need to change around here, but my house is driving me insane this week.  Everyday I have a to-do list of things that should be crossed off, and everyday I fall short.  I’m thinking I need to make a list with one thing on it, and then I can feel accomplished.

My kitchen is also a bit stale.  I’m realizing I make the same fifteen or so dishes over and over and over and that I am really bad at side dishes, as in 99% of what I make these days seems to be a one-pot meal.  So I signed up for Relish Relish with a Mamapedia deal this week.  I’m ready for it to bring something new here in my kitchen.  I think I’ll start today with some iced pumpkin cookies. 

Working on bringing my mojo back at home, in the kitchen, and on this blog.  If I say it aloud here, it will happen right?

blogging, motherhood

Mother’s Day. And calling a truce.

I read a lot of blogs.  The internet is like one huge magazine I don’t have to pay for, and at night after Jude has gone to bed, it’s often the way I choose to wind down and relax.  I’ve received so many ideas I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise and some valuable inspiration in the kitchen and the home. So earlier this week, I was thinking about what I wanted to spend my monthly budgeted “me money” on, and I remembered a book that was recommended on a high-profile blog that I read often.  So I googled, and in the process of looking for an answer to my book question, I discovered a host of hater blogs out there devoted to certain bloggers.  These are women who write entries slamming other women and explaining why xyz blogger is terrible.   This was a new phenomenon to me as I usually just head straight to a site or find something through another site’s blogroll, etc.  But really.  They’re out there.  Women who spend time and energy posting about how much they hate other people they don’t even know who have web journals of their own lives that don’t even affect anyone else.  And among the things these women loathe and make fun of excessively is the mother who posts lots of photos and writes about how surprisingly fulfilling motherhood is and how much she loves and cherishes this role.

Oops.

That pretty much describes this little journal.

I’m sappy at times.  I’m emotional at moments.  But I’m honest as well, and I like my job.  I really do.  I fully understand that this is a season of my life that doesn’t last forever, and that I will be moving on to other moments and other challenges sooner than I realize, but for now, I love my daily life.  And I sometimes write about it and take photos of it and share it with some of you, and you can read it or not read it.  I love the sense of community the internet offers which is why I’m not scribbling all of this in some handwritten journal somewhere, but I’m just not really interested in the pointless negativity.

And truth be told, this is just one more facet of The Mommy Wars.  She doesn’t do things they way I do?  Let me tell you why she sucks and I am so much better.  I don’t even have to go through the list of controversial motherhood topics because we all know what they are.  But just for today can we put all that aside?  (Hater bloggers and competitors in the Mommy Olympics, I’m talking to you.)

I think last Mother’s Day was the first time I really got it, the first time I really understood what the day was about.  For me, it’s a time to celebrate with my little family and feel grateful for the precious role I have and what I get to learn in that life.  But it’s also a time to say to other mamas, “I get it.”  It’s hard and it’s lovely and it’s lonely and it’s beautiful and it’s scary, and it’s all those things at the same time.  And every step of the way, you are just praying that you make the right decisions.  I get it, and we are the same.  Because whether you use breast or bottle, whether you co-sleep or sleep train, whether you spank or not, whether you openly gush about your personal fulfillment or count down the minutes to bedtime (who hasn’t done that one?), you love a little person with a crazy fierce, gut-pulling, bigger-than-anything kind of emotion, and that’s where we are all the same.

It’s not always fun.  It’s often messy.  And it’s never easy.  But when you look past the rough patches, it’s a good gig.  Am I right mamas?

365#idk:  Thirty.  And happy.

Happy Mother’s Day!  And to my own Mom and my sweet Grandmother, every time my heart swells with love for Jude, it swells with gratitude for you as well.  I get it now.  And I love it.