Momming

It seems to be the trend with my fellow bloggers today, to talk about the condition of their “Momming” or “Wifing” or “Womaning” in general. Although I do a pretty darn good job at juggling, I am not satisfied with about 40% of what makes me, Me. Please walk with me, I’m sure you’ll recognize the scenery.

  1. I’m a working mom. I work full time and it makes me feel like a jerk to my kids and husband. But once I tried being a stay at home mom, and I hated it. Part-Time is not an option, as my husband’s job on the rail, though it makes very good money, is inconsistent. We were once furloughed (a temporary lay-off) for almost a year. The grass is always greener, but it often makes me unsettled. I am a hyper-performer at work and feel validated by the product I am able to present. But I get home and my sitter has put a hairband in my teeny baby daughters hair. I am thankful but it broke my heart that her mama wasn’t the first person to do her hair. Or when my son says or does something amazing and new or learns a new joke, my husband will say “Oh I taught him that.” or “He’s been doing that for a while.”
  2. Working 5 days a week, I feel guilty for wanting to be alone because I have been away from my family for so long. But my sanity is worn so thin. I get resentful of my husband who will take a train to another state and sit in a hotel for a day, IN SILENCE! With no responsibility, no one to clean up after or cook for or feed. I have been begging for this since before Mother’s Day. Just a day off. But then for all the reasons of #1, I take both kids out somewhere by myself so that my mister can get some sleep.
  3. I am fat. I’m so damn fat. I am not attracted to me and it makes me unhappy. I’m going to leave it at that. I have lost weight in the past but baby #2 and my aging metabolism has changed and now I must as well to get this under control. That’s all I’ll say about the subject.
  4. MY HOUSE IS ALWAYS FREAKING DIRTY!!! I cannot stand it. My freaking dog cannot hold his pee, my base boards haven’t been touched in over a year I am sure, and I could bake a cake with the amount of dust is on my ceiling fan. But Working 5 days a week away from my family, the last thing I want to do is ignore them to address these things.

But then there are the things I love about my life

5. My husband does his share of chores, and watching of children. He stays home and cleans, does dishes and laundry and doesn’t complain about playing all day with our babies. I am extremely fortunate to have this man.

6. I have a hobby that I love and have the opportunity to escape to this writing world pretty regularly, if not daily.

7. I have good, easy kids that I don’t feel ashamed for finding a sitter for. My son is so sweet and loving. He is still learning to navigate social interactions with peers, but he has learned so much and come so far. Just this morning, although I desperately needed to sleep in, he woke up and came to my room to snuggle. I could not pass up the opportunity. My daughter’s face when I come home from work is probably the single most rewarding thing I have ever experienced in my life.

8. I have an awesome steady job that pays well for what I do. I have my own office and a lunch break that I can spend with readers. My benefits are awesome and I truly believe in the organization I work for. They do amazing things and create honest miracles for the people in our community. I’m humbled daily by the strength and diligence of the people I work with.

9. I like me. I really do. I think I am funny, and fair, and just, and nice. I would want to be my friend. I have big strong feelings and am passionate about the people in my life. I am cannot stay angry for too long. I absolutely have to work things out in order to get back to the happy me that I am. Even if that means telling hard truths, but only in constructive ways. Even though what I see in the mirror is not how I feel inside, at least my insides are pretty.

10. I can say that I have made the most of every opportunity that I have ever been handed. This is in regards to ever aspect of my life. I never let the horrible, terrible things that I have seen and experienced get me down. I might cry with my head up, but I have never stopped moving forward to better myself for me and my family.

 

So all that being said, I will leave you with this. Last night I attended a comedy show put on by a couple of Nebraskan ladies who are hilarious. It was a late night show an hour away. I had planned the trip, bought the tickets, and I drove to and from the venue. Stone.Sober. All I could think about was how cute all these skinny moms looked, how tired I would be for work, and how much more funny it would have been if I had maybe even one glass of wine. Instead I felt awkward, uncomfortable, and wanted no more than to be home with my two booger factories. But there were somethings that I needed to hear last night. I needed to know that other women had my back. The two ladies that came with me did not drink either out of solidarity. My sitter(s) who are my dear good friends at work had unloaded my dishwasher and washed all the baby bottles (a task the husband and I both hate.. Dr Brown’s bottles are completely ¬†impractical to wash). I was floored. The woman who usually watches my kids while I work, was on vacation this week and took it upon herself to find a back up rather than leaving me to figure it out on my own. I could go on and on and on. (Happy Birthday, Swamp Witch). My network of help is endless even though I live an hour and a half from family and moved to Denver three years ago knowing absolutely no one.

Women really do have each other’s backs. All my railroad wives stick together. No one “gets it” but us. All my Veteran friends stick together. No one “gets it” but us. Moms stick together. No one “gets it” but us. So find your tribe and hold on. It will save you. ūüėČ

Blogger-versary!

Thanks to social media, I realized I began my blog, two years ago! My Very first blog post was about writing my book, which was super fun to revisit.

I wake up each morning and check my stats on my blog, book, Twitter and all my notifications on FaceBook. Understand that my mood for the day is not based on numbers, but I do use them to gauge my relevance in the literary world. Lately, I have been reaching more people and slowly adding to my following. And because I am a huge nerd, numbers really get me going. Seeing a measurable increase gets me motivated to do more. With my book steady at #1, and my blog views as high as they have ever been, I am feeling a little more accomplished as a writer.

SO…. In honor of my 2 year anniversary, I’d like to do a give away. This time there will be 5 winners! The winners will receive a personalized Christmas present from me. A FREE SIGNED COPY OF APPARENT POWER, the novel I’ve been working on for over 2 years!!!!

The give away will go on for about 5 weeks, I’ll pick a winner every Friday until the end of July. Here is how to enter:

  1. Follow my blog!! by clicking +Follow at the bottom right of your screen.
    1. You can also follow my Author Page on FaceBook
    2. My Book Page on FaceBook
    3. Follow me on Twitter @daciaauthor
    4. And Follow me on Pinterest @britestfyrefly
    5. And for about 7 more days you can read a very rough draft of Apparent Power at ChapterBuzz

2. Share/ Reblog/ Retweet/ Pin your favorite Britestfyrefly blog post on your chosen social platform and tag me so I know you’ve entered the drawing.

You can enter every week as many times as you’d like, but you can only win once. Happy sharing!!!

 

What I Learned Writing My First Draft

I have spent 26 months, off and on, writing my novel. So many things happened in my life in those two years: a new baby, a ton of loss, a new job, a promotion, a couple personal crisis, a bout of postpartum depression, a year of college, and ultimately growth.

Though I really want to rest on my laurels, I know that it is not finished. I know that there is sooooo much editing to do and it is killing me to take a break from it. One piece of editing advice I received which was by far the most discouraging but made the most sense, was to rewrite the entire thing from scratch. To print out my existing content, finger paint all over the pages, and type it from there. Only then can I ensure that I did not lazily skip over details that need to be added (Writer friends: thoughts on this process. It makes me want to cry but I am also seeing where I need to do this).

So onto what I have learned:

  1. Keep writing when you are stuck. If it’s too hard, then you need to go back and change something to help you move the story along. I killed someone and was stuck writing for MONTHS! So I brought him back to life and that was that. It added a dynamic to the universe that I built and was helpful down the road.
  2. Have a writing routine. Whether you spend every Sunday morning writing, an hour a day, or a specific word count per day, week, etc, just have some sort of consistent and sustainable goal to write. Once you set these goals, make them a priority.
  3. Join a network of follow writers.¬†I personally enjoy the fellowship and talents at ChapterBuzz¬†. Run by a self-publishing coach, it gives you encouragement, monthly challenges to help you create writing routines (See #2) and also comes with a social network on FaceBook. You can also follow Tim Pike’s blog at What Inspires Your Writing.
  4. Do NOT edit.¬†Lawd. Some days, in the very early stages when I was not feeling motivated or otherwise creative, I would go back and edit previous chapters. Now I can see that even then, and probably less now, I had no idea what I was doing. Before it fully developed into what it is now, my writing sucked. Just wait til it’s over to edit.
  5. You can have a¬†working¬†title, but chances are it wont stick.¬†I created a word to describe a main puzzle piece in my book, but after much thought I knew that if I saw a book on the shelf with that title, I’d never pick it up. It was awkward, was made up, and no one could relate to it. So thank you, Google, for helping me brush up on electrical vocabulary. I stumbled on something ironic, easy to pronounce, and relevant to the story.
  6. There is absolutely¬†NO reason to pursue¬†representation from an agent before your word is D.U.N. DONE!¬†Thinking about it is going to stress you out. Instead create a realistic timeline to completely complete your work. And then MAYBE you’d be brave enough to begin the query process. So if there is less than a week from the time you type THE END, until your dream agency hosts a Twitter Query Session, you should just patiently and painfully stick to your REASONABLE timeline. Do not try to edit your first 50 pages in a week. It’s unrealistic and will not be your best work. Then you run the risk of being rejected by your dream agency. No one wants that.
  7. TAKE A BREAK WHEN YOU ARE DONE!! I had planned to finish writing on June 30th then jump right into editing on July 1st. Little did I know, the book would be done two weeks early and 15,000 words short. But the story is written. I have given myself a month and a half to edit and bring up the word count. I need a break anyway to focus on things that have been neglected like my blog, and every other social media account I have as a writer.

 

So there you have it. Wednesday is that twitter pitch for my dream agency, in case you wondered. I’m chewing my nails wanting to try my queries, but I’m scared of what happens if they love it and want more. Should I ignore them and just rest assured that they would at least want to hear it at some point? Like August 15th when I had planned on being done? Or should I just watch and see what kind of pitches they picked to check out. ¬†UGH!!!

Hope you enjoyed. Do you have any advice to add?

The End!!!

I wrote it! The outcome is set (well as set as a first draft can be). And I will not give it away! I am still waiting to hear what my beta readers have to say. But I am pretty darn proud of myself considering I had no idea what it would even look like until last week.

I have, for the first time in my writing career, penned the words “THE END”! How did this even come to be? I plan on taking a much needed break from the book, as many professionals suggest. My original timeline was to begin editing in July.

So, hurray for huge victories. Thank you for everyone that has took time to listen to me about “my book” and even asking what it’s about so I can practice my elevator speech. There is still a long road ahead to publishing. My crap writing needs some tweaking and then I have to look for an agent. (I have an agency in mind and a particular agent, but of course I know as a writer the odds of getting traditionally published are close to 1%).

That will not discourage me from trying. December 6th (my birthday) is my goal for publishing. *Deep Breath* I can do this!!!

I am announcing that now that I am down to working the final product, I am removing my work from Chapter Buzz on July 1st. Thank you to everyone that supported my journey and offered feedback on my very very rough first draft. We started from the bottom, now we a little above the bottom. ūüėČ CHEERS!

Three Underrated Baby Items Mama Doesn’t know She Needs

As I sit in my garage selling things my family has grown out of, I can’t help but to reflect on some items that have saved my sanity the past 8 months. Things that before my second child, I had no idea existed. It would be a terrible injustice not to share them with everyone.

  1. The Silicone Breast Pump.

I bought this little doo-hicky on Amazon for about $15. Basically it’s a suction cup that catches your let down milk on the side that you are not nursing. I hated wasting this liquid gold into a nursing pad. It was also helpful in draining after babe was finished nursing if I was not completely empty. This device helped me extend my BF journey 4 more months.

2. The Infant Positioner.

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They recommend this gadget for safely side-sleeping your infant with reflux or flat head. I used this nice little cushioned divider for co-sleeping. It kept her pretty contained for the first few months and offered a snug and comfy portable sleeping mat that I literally could take anywhere. Napping in strange places or friend’s homes was so easy. And to think I paid $3 on a yard sale page for this.. (She was only asking for $1. I left her $3)

UPDATE: While this product was helpful for me and my family, studies show that anything in an infant’s crib is a potential suffocation hazard. The FDA urges to not use infant positioners because of the risk of SIDS. This was ideal for our family, but please be diligent in choosing any item for your child.

3. DIAPER STRAPS!!!!!

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If I were to get a new mama a gift, it would be about 4 of these bad boys. A local woman sells these on her Etsy page, in which I will shamelessly tag now. Sew Darn Cute¬†where my friend Molly sells some pretty awesome mom things like door silencers and crinkle paper teething toys (which is my chunky monkey’s favorite toy). But all joking aside, these straps keep my diaper bag together and organized. I don’t have to search for a burp clothe, socks, and I don’t have diapers just floating willy-nilly in the bottomless pit of diaper bag. A good friend of mine is having triplets… I bought her 10 of these. She’s gonna need em!

 

I’m sure other items saved my life but these are just the immediate ones I can think really made a difference. What was your saving grace??

The Generation That Built Us

Having a daughter has completely derailed me. Things that I have kept high on a shelf, have come down to tiny hands that don’t understand the frailty of the memories they hold.

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This bunny has a good 25 years on her new owner.

My father being in the military, we rarely lived close to family. When we did go “home” to visit, we stayed with my grandmother; my father’s mother. I only just recently found out my own mother hated it. But my brother, sister and I loved everything about it. The cookie jar that held snack cakes instead of just plain ole cookies, the “haunted barn” we’d explore only supervised by my aunt, who would later in life become my roommate, the smell of coffee and cigarettes at all hours of the day, and Grandma. Her cooking, her gifts, her love, and her pride in us: the grandkids.

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Always so proud of us (I’m the bottom left of the main photo.. My cousin is the innocent by-standard. Her blog can be found HERE).

My Grandmother was the face of everything that the subsequent generations wanted to be to their family: the Matriarch. There was not a get together that she was not in the center of. Her cooking alone is enough for its own post.  It was never ever about what she bought us. What she gave us, she made with her own two hands. I am happy that even at a young age, I recognized the prize that was handed to me that Christmas.

Hand sewn bunnies, like the one gifted to me in the first photo, were given to all the granddaughters she had at the time. Many MANY more came later, but as her eye sight went, and her arthritis worsened, fewer things were sewn and less gifts were made.

And now as a mother, I treasure more the things my mother makes for me and my children. I want her to be proud of my children like my grandmother was proud of us. I want my daughter to know the line of strong women that she comes from. I also want her to know the value and worth behind taking a few abstract materials, a little bit of finesse and a lot of love and transforming it into an heirloom; a token of love and life that will transcend her own if treated delicately.

Grandma, thank you for sharing your gifts with us. I hope I do well to teach my kiddos of your diligence, your love and your pride in them. Even my littlest little who did not get to meet you. We love and miss you dearly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hold the Phone, I am an Author!!

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OMG Mom, You’re AMAZING!!

My writing and novel are being show cased!! Please hop over to What Inspires Your Writing¬†to check it out!! Follow the links to my novel and make it #1 on the charts (I’m currently #2!!)