Wednesday, March 4, 2015

There is no balance

At the start of this year, I took on some work from home responsibilities. It was something that I have wanted for years, the ability to work from home. But it hasn't quite been what I envisioned. And some days it's left me feeling like I have no time just to focus on Jack. While I make my own hours and can work as much or as little as I want, I'm still having trouble balancing it.

So on Thursday as I was finishing up at the office, the song Cats in the Cradle came on. I've never really thought one way or another about the song until a friend had told me the song always makes her cry. And as I sat there listening to a song about a father who is always telling his son he's too busy, all the times that I had said those words the past few months replayed in my mind.

Soon he won't want to play with me or hug me endlessly or snuggle with me. That feeling that this is all rushing by so fast and before I know it he might not have time for me.

So on Friday I left my lap top shut. I logged zero hours of work. I didn't blog, I didn't check my email. I just played with Jack.

These days are long, especially in the winter when I feel like we are on top of each other and cooped up. But these years are also short and I don't want to look back and feel like I missed something. I don't want to feel like I was "too busy" or wasn't paying attention.

And yet I still want a career and I still want to blog, I still want something that's just for me. And I don't believe there is a perfect answer. I don't believe there is a balance in any of this. Being a SAHM was not for me, I needed more. Being a working mom was not for me, I needed less. Being a WAHM is for me and was my ultimate goal. I should feel fullfilled. I should feel grateful, and most days I am. But some days I'm left feeling like I'm falling short.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

5 Reasons I Hate Kids Birthday Parties

It is the colorful envelope hanging on my sons hook at school, that fills me with a sense of dread. A sure sign that we've been invited to a birthday party and that a weekend day will be lost to the hell that is a children's gym playing the Frozen soundtrack on am endless loop. 

It's not that I don't like your kid. Or that I don't want my son to go to the birthday party. But my first thought is "no" when I see that invitation . And I get it. I've thrown kids parties, knowing the supreme level of suck that is attending them. But I still don't want to go and here's why. 

5 Reasons I hate Kids Birthday parties

It's in the Middle of the Day

Having a birthday party in the middle of the day is a great idea, except that it sucks up the whole damn day. Between work and school, family time is a commodity at my house. So if I have to choose between valuable family time and watching little Timmy bash a piƱata with his friends, then I'm choosing my family. Like I said it's not that I don't like your kid, I just prefer to spend my limited family time doing something we all enjoy. 

Room Full of Strangers

I hate walking into a room full of people I don't know or barely know. I hate having to make small talk with a pack of Moms who have already split off into their own little groups; while I stand around on the fringes checking Facebook and wondering when the hell this party ends. 

No Alcohol

New people and crowds usually require I have a drink or two. Plus alcohol makes everything more entertaining . And makes me less likely to shoot you a dirty look when you offer my kid a second cupcake. 

Wrapping Presents

I'm just awful at it. I never have the appropriate paper. If it's a girls party it's likely that the only wrapping paper I have is red with superheros on it. And don't get me started on cards, I never have one, the kids don't read them and they are a waste of money.  I'm always running into CVS when I'm already late for the party in search of a $3 piece of paper that will be trashed.

Favor Bags

These little bags filled with cheap plastic crap and candy are a thorn in my side. I have enough trouble stopping the flow of junk that comes in my door via school parties, fast food restaurants and my in-laws that another bag of junk toys just drives me nuts. 

I get that birthday parties are a big part of the parenting package. I get that they are a great way to make friends with other parents. But I really think that I'll enjoy birthday parties a lot more when we reach the age where I can drop my son off and head to the nearest Starbucks. Or better yet lets all drop the kids off and head to the nearest bar for a glass of wine and snacks that don't involve fish shaped crackers. 

How do you feel about kids parties, love them, hate them?

And of course we still go to them even though I'm not a fan, because I'm not that mean of a mom. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What I've Learned in 4 Years of Blogging

Last month marked four years of blogging for me, I know craziness, right? When I started writing in this space, there was so much I did not know. But I guess that is what happens when you start a blog on an idle Tuesday while running on 3 hours of sleep and the hope that your child might just stop crying for 10 minutes. That's always the way you want to start something that matters to you.

And in four years I've learned a lot about blogging and what it means to be a blogger.

Learned from blogging

1. Bloggers are everywhere. Seriously there are a few who live just a couple of blocks away from me and one at my sons preschool. When I started I swore I must be the only blogger in all of South Jersey and that is so not the case.

2. The friendships are real. When I started blogging I would see all these online friendships and think they can't be real. But they are, I have made so many wonderful friendships through blogging.

3. Who you are is only about 10% of your blog. While my blog is about my life, it isn't about my whole life. The stories, pictures and moments I share are only a small part of my life. And when I write something sad on my blog, it doesn't mean that all of my life is sad, just that at that moment in that piece that is what I"m working through.

4. Friends who aren't bloggers will ask "are you promoting that" when you talk about a brand you love or mention something on Facebook.

5. "Work" will be hard to define. Yes blogging is work. Is every minute paid, well no. And does it always look like work, no. Sure I'm at a big event with toys and cocktails and it's fun but it's also work. Even if that work is tweeting and updating Facebook and making contacts.

6. But it is work. Being at a blogger event or promoting an event or product means that you are constantly thinking of creative ways to talk about what you are doing. Like at an event I don't want to say what everyone else is saying about a toy, I want to say something different, something that will get noticed. Your creativity always needs to be on.

7. It's a fun world to be apart of. I love getting to meet other bloggers, I love the being in a room full of people who "get" what blogging is all about. I love the fun events that I get to go to and the opportunities that come my way.

8. Though it isn't always glamorous. I once did a travel event that was just draining but because I was "working" I had to keep digging deeper and deeper to make it look like I was having a blast. When in reality I wanted to be home curled up on my couch in yoga pants.

9. Most bloggers are introverts. At a blog conference this fall they had assigned seating, let me tell you 8 people who are used to communicating via a laptop don't always make the most exciting tablemates. But I get it cause, I'm one of them.

10. You will field tons of random questions about blogging. What you do on a day to day basis will confuse your non-blogger friends. You will get asked why you do it, how you get paid, and what is a blog more times than you care to answer. And not matter how many times you explain it your friends eyes will start to glaze over when you start talking social media.

11. You will be intimidated by other bloggers. I admit at my first blog conference, I was totally intimidated by some of the big name bloggers who I had been reading for years.

12. Take yourself seriously. Seriously. I started this as a hobby, that grew into something more and for the longest time I had trouble declaring myself a blogger, owning this space and valuing the work I do. This is the year that changes.

If you are a blogger what have you learned? If you're not a blogger have you ever thought of starting a blog?

And a special "thank you" to those of you who have been reading since the beginning and those of you who have found this place along the way, and those of you who have only just found my little corner of the Internet. I appreciate each and every one of you.