Tag Archives: blogging

The Power of Self-Awareness

The difference between the Jen today and the Jen a couple of  years ago is pretty simple. I lacked self-awareness. I was walking around functioning at minimum capacity. I may have had direction and motivation to better myself, but I lacked a firm grip on my own reality.

I was cocky, though. Cocky about my credentials, my talents, my paycheck… which is funny to me now. None of those things really matter to me.

I had a tendency to mold myself to others. People I admired or people I wanted to like me. I found a pattern of hiding behind the people I hung out with in order to avoid really giving my life any real thought. I would do what they liked doing, talk about what they liked talking about and eventually I would continuously trick myself into believing this version was the version that ‘fit’.

Then one day I snapped. Too much was happening at once, the walls crashed in and I gave in to the emotional breakdown that was years in the making. It lasted days. During those days there was ugly crying, deep thoughts, long baths and long periods alone. I can tell you from my experience, everything in my life suffered when I was in this state of mind. My relationships, my self-esteem and my mental and physical health.

During that time I finally developed some self-awareness. Being away from all those people you hid behind and sobering up in order to create a life does that to a person, maybe. I realized that I was living my life for other people and have been doing it since I left the nest.

For Example, I became a photographer to impress my dad, because it was his current hobby… that he gave up while I was in boot camp when he took the camera back to Costco.

I got caught up making self-destructive decisions. Hanging out with partiers and heavy drinkers (ie: all Sailors). In the Navy, you are prone to being in situations where tying one on is normal and when you have no tolerance to alcohol disaster will ensue. It is inevitable. I met my husband at the tail end of that decade-long shit-show. The party girl reeled him in and the sober chick with goals and a good soul sealed the deal.

During this process, the minute I became self-aware of a few facts about myself, I started using that information to rebuild myself. I realized I am not a good drinker. I do not know my limit, I have no clue when to stop, I get sloppy, make terrible decisions and then owe apologies that are covered in embarrassment and self-loathing.

I also realized that I was working toward goals that were not really important to me. I wasn’t putting in the real effort it takes to adult properly. I also wasn’t doing things that make me happy, (because I still hadn’t figured out what those things were). I realized that because of my stubborn and superiority complex, I had missed out on too many years with my mom to admit to.

I became aware of my over-analyzing, my anxious feelings, my tendency to blow-up and the fact that what I was putting my time and energy into bullshit.

Self-awareness is a magical thing. Just admitting to yourself where you need to make improvements and realizing what is holding you back starts a journey to a happier existence.

The next step is action; that’s a difference post for another day though!

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The Year I Took for Myself

This will be known as the year I took for myself. I really started this over-due and difficult journey last year, but I am making it my official goal this year. Yes I set goals, and yes I stick to them. It is how my brain is wired. Now before you say, “I wish I was like that” read through a few recent post and then decide.

I am the person who wakes up and really enjoys writing out the days plans with her morning cups of joe. Yes you read that correctly, it takes multiple cups and I enjoy making list.

Anyway, I am taking this year to work on myself, do what makes me happy and find out what else makes me happy.

To accomplish this goal, I have to let go of a few things and change the way I think. For example, for some reason I have put people liking me really high on my list of importance. I must have,  because I really do care if people like me. Way too much. I over analyze every relationship I have ever had, nightly. Ok, not really nightly, but I do it far more than I would like.

I am the person who really wishes Facebook required a reason before they allowed you to use the unfriend option. It’s fucked up Facebook, really, it is. I need to know why this person who has requested or accepted a social media friendship contract and has abruptly ended it without my permission. I have to know WHY!

I digress…

I do know that in order for me to keep myself sane and moving forward I need to stop wasting the energy it takes giving a shit whether or not people like me. I need to stop working on this facade of perfection I have built. It’s wearing me the fuck down. I can’t keep all my ‘friendships’ afloat by myself and I need to recognize a dead friendship when I see one.

During our 6-month apartment stay, I was on a low. Let’s call it that. During that time I was forced to deal with some real mental health type issues. After losing too much weight, having a couple panic attacks and bickering day and night with Chris, I knew it was time to get my ass in gear and deal with this issue I knew would surface one day.

Let’s be real for a second. The odds have always been stacked against me in the mental health department. What I mean by this is that I am genetically predisposed to anxiety and depression, and I have enough childhood trauma to fill a two-day Dr. Phil episode.

Let’s not ignore the other elephant in the room. Having a child really pushes you to the edge sometimes. Having a tiny two-year old who knows everything and loves to hide really really well is tough you guys. With the sleep deprivation, constant mini-heart attacks and putting yourself on the back-burner (or what you perceive as the back-burner) can really begin to wear even the sanest person down.

So, in 2016 I have made it my point to get mentally strong, physically strong and emotionally strong. The plan to get myself there is pretty simple. Stop putting other people first, say no when I really want to, no more one-sided friendships, simplify my life (more to follow there) and spend time doing things that feed my soul like working out, going on dates with my husband and learning how to garden. And read, I remember enjoying that too.

My mom would be proud of me and that makes me feel good. So far my confidence is returning, my marriage is stronger for it and damn it feels good to sit in traffic and not want to take my skin off and walk home.

So join in my journey, take some time for you, and maybe learn a thing or two.

 

That was totally an accident and totally lame.

 

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Month 2 and 3

Not many things have actually taken place since the last post, yet here I am writing my planned update post later than I should have.

The part-time job waiting tables is going well. I mean it’s going out pretty much as soon as it comes in. So I would say it is successful.

Still nowhere to hide. Which in turn leaves just about no time for me to be alone long enough to stream in full thoughts, let alone get in down on paper or type it out. Which is the excuse I hide behind, but truthfully I feel like I am also experiencing writers block or lack of inspiration. There is a definite funk.

I don’t feel like arranging playdates on the few hours I have off and have free time. I can barely find the energy or mindset to get my always full list of things-to-do complete. Rather, I have been finding myself letting my mind wander and fantasize about the future far more often than I ever did before.

My husband must feel the same way, because we have taken a very large step-backward in our relationship recently. He has decided that he doesn’t mind the nagging and has decided that for now, he would be perfectly fine with me just telling him what needs to be done. How fun for me, guys. He has thrown in the towel and is fine with the nagging after all and has coined it “giving direction.” He doesn’t care to learn where I keep things, what chores need to be done, what needs to be bought, and so on. This is all temporary for him and he is not feeling motivated in the least to be here. Or happy or comfortable.

I get it.

He has secretly been visiting the house more than a couple of times a week. To watch the progress. I say secretly because for some reason at first I would get pissed if he talked about being over at “the new neighborhood.” I couldn’t really articulate why it annoyed me, but it did. And it did to a high degree.

After I saw some of the pictures he had been taking and sharing with other people, I was amazed at the progress. I realized quickly that I was only annoyed because I was jealous. Jealous that he had the time to drive over there multiple times a week. He would tell me to go by there and look at it, trying to get me to get excited with him. But I don’t have the extra time during the week, and if I did have time to get over there it would take about an hour or so to drive it, and with a toddler who is not napping that can be a pretty much terrible experience. I have errands to run on my days off, and it is already hard enough to shop with a toddler, adding an hour drive to that day sounds like a real treat. I also felt like I was missing out on part of the process.

So I let all that go, and now make him send me all the photos he takes immediately so I can feel like I am there and I can watch it grow with him. Problem solved.

Oh, and he got a really really sweet deal on fridge! So that is taken care of.

Let’s see what happens the rest of this month! We have a planned Thanksgiving trip that we always look forward to. More to come…

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The Part of Blogging I am Struggling with…

I have to start with the admission that I am very new to this blogging lifestyle. And yes, I would call it a lifestyle. For one, it is not something you automatically earn revenue from. It is definitely not as easy as most people think it is; you will not succeed if you do not devote time and energy into it. And similar to other careers, it requires you to stay relevant. Relevant with media and in the media.

I am only about a quarter of my first year into it and I am realizing quickly that I am going to have to bump up game. I may have underestimated my ability to juggle. It is not going to be as easy as I may have initially allowed myself to think it would be.

And thank goodness. I already have enough easy shit in my life, I just simply cannot add another easy task to my already full plate of other easy shit I am skating through.

Currently my plate consist of a one-year old, my sort of part-time gig, husband, two dogs, trying to sell our house (which means keeping it as clean as possible 24/7 and being kicked out at a moments notice so a stranger can snoop around my house), building a new home and finding invisible money to help with it all. Somewhere on that plate are my needs. But those aren’t really important for this post.

Once I realized that if I want to make a space for myself in the blogger-mom world, I better carve out 2-20 hours a week to invest in that dream. Which in 7 days, as a stay-at-home mom, anyone would see this as totally possible.

Still, I struggle to carve out that many hours since my child likes to be glued to me most hours of the day. Even with my husband usually available to over, it is hard to ignore the murderous screams from a couple of rooms over and stay on track. I would love the be able to tone out the “mom” cries and stay in the ‘zone’ or maybe sit in a Starbucks and avoid the drama all together, but some how it never ends up in my favor. At least not for long.

But all of that is not what I am  struggling with.

The part I struggle with is mirroring the exact behavior my husband and I said we would not do. I am constantly on my laptop and my phone. Capturing, captioning, posting, tweeting, sharing, reading, writing, planning, responding… all the things bloggers are constantly doing in order to stay relevant and to succeed.

The childhood I wanted for my daughter was the one I remember. Playing with kids, playing outside, reading books, pretend play mixed in with cartoons and snuggles. I by no means am going to pretend that she won’t be in front of that t.v her fair share. I mean, I do have to get shit done like the rest of you, but I desperately do not want her to grow up in front of a screen.

She is only one and she is the only child, so I do most of the entertaining and serve as her number one playmate.  She already spends more time than I anticipated watching cartoons because I had no idea how attached she would be to me and it’s literally the only thing during the day that allows me get anything done.

She already pretends my old iPod is her phone and carries it around with her most of the day. She knows how to take a selfie. At first it was cute. Now it just makes me feel guilty.

As a blogger, it is virtually impossible for your kids not to see you working. At some point during the day, your tiny human will catch you tweeting or posting or reading. No way around it. Because blogging is a lifestyle. I am trying to find balance within blogging and mommying, and it is difficult. I am struggling.

Me and Baby

How do you make it work?

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I Guess I’m That Mom

Finding a snarky post or two about helicopter moms that spend too much time on Pinterest and in cleaning gloves is pretty easy. I can appreciate the overwhelming feeling of destain for the mom who seems to have her shit together and ducks in a row while you feel like you are drowning in dirty laundry and haven’t had a good night sleep in weeks.

Organized and efficient often translates to uptight and controlling. Someone who keeps a clean house and home cooked meals on the table is described as a Martha Stewart type or a Stepford wife. A mom with a parenting plan is viewed as a know-it-all.

So, after reading enough post that describe all the way moms can be annoying and all the things they should quit doing I can only come to one conclusion; I am that mom.

Moms who post way too many pictures of their kids on Facebook. I am that mom.

Moms who go nuts on Pinterest and actually do what they pin. I am that mom.

Moms who post pictures of food they have prepared. Guilty again.

Moms who make over-the-top meals for their toddler even though they hate food. You betcha.

I am certain I will also be guilty of making cute bento box lunches with notes for Charlotte when she starts school and be a member of the PTA as soon as I can.

I was a very organized, tidy individual before my child arrived, only makes sense I would carry that on. Spending my time cooking, cleaning and taking care of my daughter isn’t enough for me. I never planned for this gig, nor did apply for it (but I am happy to have it). I was a happy, hard-working professional before hand, so I simply cannot just stop the hard-working aspect of my personality just because I multiplied. Well, I could, but my husband might object.

I need hobbies and projects, I need to set goals and accomplish them, I need a focus for my day or my week. It’s how I cope with the challenges of motherhood and being a stay-at-home mom. Not to mention the constant struggle to feel like myself. And it’s how I help manage my anxiety. When the house is dirty, the fridge is bare and I have nothing on my to-do list I feel out of whack. I spiral. That’s no good.

 

It’s ok to be Grateful and Miserable at the Same Time

One of the first things everyone tells you when you have your first baby is to enjoy every minute because it goes quickly. You get tired of hearing it before the baby comes and then after they are here it is the one piece of advice that you try the hardest to remember. It does go by fast, but it can also feel Groundhog’s Day. You know what I mean.

Some days it is so hard to find the energy or the patience to mother. Babies require constant around-the-clock hands-on care and on some days you can’t even muster the will power to put big girl pants on. On those days, you especially feel the pressure to enjoy all the moments, dammit.

Right now we are in the midst of teething, so when she is clinging to my leg like a dryer sheet while I try to do the dishes and I feel absolutely miserable I can’t fix it, I have to remind myself it is all a phase and will pass. For some reason her little face from that angle, all pouty, gets me in the gut every time. And she must know it, because when she is in a mood, her to go-to method is to cling to mom for dear life. Especially if I am at the sink. Or stove. Or standing, ok, more like if I am standing. You get the point. It is easy to feel miserable in the moment. You can’t help it. Those are the times the guilt of feeling miserable can get to you.

After all, what do I have to complain about? I have a healthy, happy, smart one-year old and our needs are met and then some. If you are like me, sometimes I struggle with being grateful and miserable. It breaks my heart to watch people I know well struggle with even conceiving a baby; yet, some days I can’t get out the door and away from the house fast enough.

Mothering is hard work. And I only have the one kid, so kudos the those with multiples! It is easy to get overwhelmed by it all and fall into the miserable category a time or two, we are all human. Being grateful and miserable go hand-in-hand in the world of parenting.

 

 

 

Why my ‘Little Blog’ Means so Much to me…

My interest with blogging started when I decided I was going to stay home when out daughter was born. Blogging almost seemed like it was the most logical decision. If I am staying home, the least I can I do is start blogging so I can earn a little money. Easy peasy.

I looked into it a little bit, but I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing. I eventually put enough time into it that I figured out how to generate a blogspot page. That took me a while because I really have a pretty basic skill set when it comes to technology. I will put off installing an update on my phone if it means I have to delete or transfer anything to get it done. I guess I would say, it can be overwhelming.

With the help of others and more time to dedicate I am finally up and running. Hopefully the readers will follow. I can see why most folks throw in the towel within the first 6 months.

When you tell people that you’re blogging I am pretty sure you get the same blank stare which is usually then followed with forced support.

“Oh really, that’s great. I will have to check it out!”

And I totally get that. I am pretty sure 95% of new stay-at-home mom’s have dabbled with the idea of blogging when they stumble across a success story or see a post floating around that looks like something anyone can write.  Like my sister-in-law ninasays told me once the realization of the work it takes and time it takes people often give up on it.

I am not going to pretend my story is any different, either. Once worker bee turned boo boo kisser. College graduate who now stores her once treasured diploma in the same closet as the gift wrapping supplies.

None-the-less, I put together a short list of reasons my ‘little blog’ means so much to me:

1. If I don’t get out how I feel, I am convinced my once pretty little head, now tired and slightly older head, will explode.

2. I need to feel productive in something other than mothering and wifeing.

3. I am not sure if it is my personality, past life as a professional or need for validation, but blogging allows me to set goals, work on something that is my own, be creative and write. All ingredients that help me to feel fulfilled.

4. Boredom. I tote my kid around pretty much every where I go. Everywhere. But somehow having a 14-month old pretty much means being home a lot. Also, my house doesn’t clean itself and the meals certainly don’t magically appear three times a day, so we are home a lot. I get bored with some of the mindless labor that goes into running a household (cleaning, laundry, meal prep) and having this creative outlet is important to my sanity and working brain cells.

5. The thought of being able to help out financially really gets my motor revving.

6. I know by reading blogs by some of the popular mom bloggers that my perspective is unique and my two-cents might resonate with another mom. I get a great feeling when I read a post I relate to. Mothering is hard and it can be isolating, so the internet is a great way to stay connected to other moms. Our village is different now. I want to be a part of that village.

With the amount of blogs out there, I get it. Finding a new brand or niche is nearly impossible. I have a TON of things to learn. Just spending 5 minutes on someone else’s sight I find 10 things I need to do to mine. So much to learn for someone who is not very ‘techy’. I expect to be fine-tuning my site years to come. One thing is sure though, I am determined to find a place in the blogging world!