Hey, I’m back! And I don’t care what you want to read!

I occasionally read other blogs. If you looked at my Bloglovin’ feed, you’d think I spent my entire day reading them. Nope – I actually probably read other blogs maybe a few times a week.

Even though I don’t read them much, one thing I often see is the blog writer asking readers what they want to see. What do you want me to write about? Do you want funny, fluff stuff? Do you want heartwarming, deeply convicted pieces? Do you want pictures of cats wearing stupid costumes?

Questions like that crack me up, and also made me realize something very important about my own blog experiences: I don’t give a shit what my readers want to see.

Here’s the thing. I write because I have things swirling around in my head, and because there is limited space in my head already I need to get those things out. So I spew them out onto the Internet. Well, I’m going to start spewing them out onto the Internet, anyway.

I stopped blogging several months ago. Part of the reason was because it started to feel more like a chore than a fun diversion. I was too concerned about page views and reader comments, obsessed with writing that one piece that would go viral and net me some online popularity. It was exhausting and took up way more of my time than I wanted. So I walked away from all of it.

Recently, I’ve felt the call to write again. Life has stabilized a bit, which may  have something to do with it. Or maybe pregnancy hormones are causing traffic jams of thoughts in my head and I want them out. Either way, if I write something, it will be for me, not you. If you enjoy it – cool! If you don’t – that’s cool too!

My new blogging mantra is this:

If you write it, they will come. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, it’s a win because I’m writing again.

I’m Auditioning For Idol!

I’m Auditioning For Idol!

…Blogger Idol, that is. I don’t want to be the next William Hung.

It’s a little scary to put myself out there like that. It’s one thing to do blog hops and link-ups, which bring great exposure. This is putting my stuff out there for the specific purpose of being judged. I’m already pretty sure I’m not going to get picked for the Top 12, but I’m going to do it anyway. I’m scared to death of being rejected, but even if I don’t make it, I figure I can learn something from it. More people will see my words, which is awesome. I’ll probably get to find some other great blogs (I never would have found Momastery if I hadn’t gotten to know some other bloggers from the Honest Voices link-up). And who knows – maybe I’ll make it into the Top 12 and get the chance to hone my writing skills and get solid feedback from other writers.

There are some great prizes involved: $300 gift certificate to Marware, $300 gift certificate to Bullet Designs, One Free Month of Intermediate Level Blog Management Services from Bloom Blogs ($249 value), 1 Week of Full Service Pinterest Management from Little Birdie Social Media ($50 value), One Year of PicMonkey Royale ($33 value), $25 Gift Certificate to Baconery (mmm, bacon) and a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. I’m uber-duber excited about the PicMonkey Royale prize – I love making buttons for my posts on PicMonkey and I’m dying to try out the Royale features (but I’m too cheap to buy them). And who doesn’t love free money at Amazon?

If I make the Top 12, you may see me begging for votes. I’ll try to keep it to a minimum, pinky swear. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter and, if you feel so inclined, support me in going for Blogger Idol 2013! Check out http://www.facebook.com/bloggeridol and let them know you want ME to make it to the Top 12! You can also find the list of judges and let them know how awesome I am (and read their stuff ’cause it’s good).

BloggerIdol2013YouAreAGoodMamadotcom

 

A post about nothing

So, I have been both unable and unwilling to write for quite some time.

I could blame it on circumstances. I have been busy, after all. We moved into a new apartment. We received our household goods out of storage. We’ve been downsizing our stuff in an attempt to fit a 2-bedroom townhouse into a 1-bedroom apartment (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t really happen). Our family has been doing fun stuff in the evenings and weekends, which was practically unheard of at my husband’s last base. I’ve been trying to find my housewife/SAHM routine so that the house stays (somewhat) organized, healthy food is on the table, the toddler is clothed, fed and entertained and I get my fill of The Sims 3 (don’t be so jelly of my glamorous life). We had a failed attempt at potty training. Oh and I started working out again, too (Thank Jeebus, so tired of feeling like a lardass). So yeah, there’s a lot going on.

But normally, I’d write about all that stuff. So what’s my deal now? I don’t know, it just seems like every time I think about writing, my brain goes, “Hey! SQUIRREL!” and I wander off, distracted by something random. Even now as I write this, I start daydreaming about my Sim’s career or when I should start dinner and kind of have to force myself to finish sentences.

I think I’m getting in my own way. I need this blog for my outlet, but sometimes I get intimidated. I’m part of an amazing group of bloggers who share information and support each other. Some are newbies like me, and some make money and go to blogging conferences. I guess I feel like I need to be up to that caliber. I don’t know if I’ll ever be up there; it takes a lot of time and energy to build a blog like that. I just don’t think I have the desire, but somehow think I have to do it anyway…

Hmm, I’m trying to force myself to strive for something I don’t really want because I think I “have to” for some reason? Hello compulsive behaviors, I wondered where you’d pop up next. I used to do a lot of things compulsively – things I didn’t really want to do or knew were bad, but felt that I “had to” because “someone” thought I should. I’ve weeded out my most harmful compulsive behaviors. However, the compulsive, addictive part of me is going to always be looking out for something to latch on to. Right now it’s writing. Sometimes I get so caught up in whether I’m writing the “right” stuff or if this post will go viral or get published on a bigger blog, that I forget why I write: for me. I don’t write to please people; I write to keep myself sane. Maybe I should get that tattooed on me somewhere.

Or better yet, just get the word THINK tattooed somewhere to remind me to be on the lookout for that sneaky bastard compulsive thinking.

Well, I managed a lot of words about how I can’t write words lately. That’s pretty good. I have some ideas for theme days on the blog, to help me focus my thoughts better. We’ll see how that goes. This blog, like my life, is a perpetual work-in-progress.

Finish The Sentence Friday

I love having some outside inspiration for writing. It makes me get outside my comfort zone and write about something that I might not have thought about. I also love link-ups because I meet so many great people!

I’m trying out a new Friday link up: Finish the Sentence Friday. The hostesses are Stephanie from Mommy, for Real, Janine from Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine? and Dawn from Dawn’s Disaster. This week’s topic is “When I was younger…”

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Circa 1999

When I was younger, I lacked self esteem. I remember a nervous girl, wanting so badly to fit in and be one of the “cool kids” but feeling like I’d never be good enough. In high school, I floated between different groups, hoping to find my niche. I was in the advanced placement classes, but felt inadequate because I wasn’t the smartest. I played varsity volleyball, but felt ineffective because I wasn’t one of the stars. I had plenty of boyfriends, but felt ugly because certain boys weren’t interested in me. Drinking alcohol helped me break out of my shell, because when you’re buzzed and blacked out, you don’t care what other people are thinking. Alcohol really was liquid courage for me, but it ended up being my worst enemy (2 sexual assaults while blacked out before graduating high school is not a proud achievement). I didn’t know who I was, so I tried on many identities in my search for the “right one.” None of them fit and I ended up with what felt like a split personality: the smart, hardworking, good girl who turned into the loud, smoking, crazy party girl when the alcohol hit her lips.

Senior picture
Senior picture

I made so many bad decisions when I was younger because I was afraid. Afraid of ridicule, afraid of being disliked, afraid of being alone. This is one thing that terrifies me as a mother: that my child might grow up to make decisions based on fear. My parents did the best they could for me; I don’t blame them for my problems. I know that there are marked differences between my childhood and my son’s childhood so far, but still I worry that I won’t do the “right things” to help nurture a strong sense of self in him. I want him to know who he is and not be afraid to make decisions that honor that – even if those decisions don’t go with the popular opinion.

There are so many things I wish I could tell that girl. If I could sit down with my younger self, I’d tell her:

  • Don’t straighten your hair. Your curls are gorgeous if you just leave them alone. YOU are beautiful without changing what you look like.
  • Don’t sleep with that guy. He doesn’t love you and you will not love yourself for doing it. You will not find your self worth in the arms of random men. Respect your body and don’t be afraid to say no. If he does leave you because you said no, he didn’t deserve you in the first place.
  • Don’t strive for perfection. It’s not possible. Be happy with where you are and what you have accomplished. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being strong doesn’t mean suffering silently. Tell someone how much it hurts before it’s too late.
  • Don’t stop writing. It saved your life once and will keep wounds from festering. Writing is your voice in this world; don’t let your pain silence you.

Liebster? WTF is that?

Liebster? WTF is that?

liebster-blog-awardI was nominated for an award. These things are pretty awesome, because it means someone else looked at my blog and thought, that blog deserves an award. And that someone else wasn’t my mom, so double win. My new friend Julie at Next Life No Kids nominated me, which I think is pretty frickin’ awesome considering our first conversation was an argument that ended in a mutual agreement that cheese is awesome (cheese was unrelated to the original argument). All arguments should end that way.

queen cheese

*Note: for once, Google failed me. I typed in “queen cheese” and no pictures of cheese with a crown came up (though a surprising number of girls in dumb trucker hats did pop up). So, I made the above masterpiece myself. All hail the queen.

Since I have found myself with a plethora of free time since finishing my CNA course (CNA standing for Certified Nurse Assistant or Chuck Norris Approved, depending on my mood), I’m diving right into this. Because there are strings with this award. I can’t just put a sweet badge on my blog, I gotta work for this thing (Whomp, whomp)! Who am I kidding – I love writing about myself so of course I don’t mind. Though some would say I have a problem being told what to do, so we’ll see how this goes…

Dem rulezLiebster

  1. List 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  3. Ask 11 new questions to the bloggers you nominate
  4. Choose 11 bloggers (with 200 or less followers) to nominate.
  5. Visit each bloggers page and tell them about the award.
  6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them
  7. No track backs (so we’re clear, I still have no idea what this means) <—- Julie had this in her rules and I left it because I, too have no idea what this means

I wonder what the deal is with all the 11’s? I suddenly realize that I have a thing for even, round numbers because this emphasis on 11 vaguely bothers me. Does that count as my first fact? Nah, just consider it a bonus.

11 Facts about MEEEEEE

  1. I was the Coos County (Oregon) Spelling Bee Champion in 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades. 4th and 6th grades, I lost 1st place to some d-bag whose name I totally don’t still remember (bitter, much?).
  2. I was the Forum Editor for my community college newspaper. I was nominated for this position because it’s been said I like to complain about things. Strangely, the position suited me.
  3. I flunked out of sailing school when I was 10 or 11. I crashed one of the small boats into my best friend and decided that was enough sailing for me.
  4. I love Disney movies. One of the best fringe benefits of having a kid is getting to watch all those classic movies. NOTE: Home on the Range is not in this category; please don’t ever make the mistake of exposing your child to this particular Disney movie. He will want to watch it incessantly and it does, in fact, suck.
  5. I’m slightly obsessed with playing bingo. Senior years, I’m ready for you!
  6. I just discovered the other day that my favorite type of pizza is sausage and banana peppers. Wonder if that will still taste good on a cauliflower crust?
  7. ^^I ask that question because I try to eat somewhat Paleo. I did a 21 day sugar detox a while ago and felt fantastic afterward.
  8. I am addicted to caffeine and I am ok with that.
  9. I quit smoking cigarettes a few years ago. I’ve had a few lapses since officially quitting, but have never fully gone into a relapse. It’s been almost a year since my last cigarette and I’m pretty stoked on that.
  10. I really miss my cat, Lola. She passed away 2 years ago. I was there, stroking her head and telling her how much I loved her when she passed. It still hurts because I still blame myself for not seeing her sickness until it was too late.
  11. I am an only child, but my parents have since adopted two Pomeranians who are very annoying little brothers.

Whew! Now for some more fascinating information about me as I answer the questions Julie wrote:

  1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Probably Israel and the Middle East. I’m fascinated by the Bible as a historical document and it would be crazy amazing to see some of those places in person.
  2. Who in your life has had the most influence on you or your writing? My son, no doubt. He inspires most of my writing (since I write primarily about motherhood and breastfeeding). He also makes me want to be a better person.
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how attractive do you think you are? Please explain. 🙂 Ack! Shoot, I guess I’d say I’m a 6? I’m trying to love and accept my body for what it is and not be angry at it for what it isn’t. I like my blue eyes, I like my dimples and I’m learning to like my curly hair.
  4. Horror film or chic flick? If it’s a horror film from the 80s, count me in. I love all those super cheesy horror films that still make me crap my pants – Monkey Shines, Ghoulies, Pumpkinhead, Child’s Play, Puppet Master, Freddie movies, Jason movies. The 80s sure knew how to scare and entertain at the same time.
  5. How long have you been blogging? I launched www.youareagoodmama.com in September 2012. This is the first time I’ve consistently blogged. I’ve started other blogs (I have like 9 WordPress addresses) but have never gotten past one or two posts.
  6. What is your biggest pet peeve? People who drive with their blinker on. OMG, are you turning or are you not??? MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!!
  7. Do you have any bad habits we should know about? Yes – I have several character defects that I’m working on! Stay tuned for a future post about those 🙂
  8. What’s your favorite blog to follow? Why? Hmm, depends on the reason. For humor, I love Martinis or Diaper Genies and Baby Sideburns. Seriously hysterical. For levelheaded parenting stuff, I like PhD in Parenting. For everything breastfeeding, I adore The Leaky Boob.
  9. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Forgive yourself.
  10. What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve been given? A wedge haircut would look great on you.
  11. What is the first thing you would do if I gifted you a million dollars? Look at you suspiciously, then grab the money and run, laughing maniacally. Then when I’d come to my senses, I’d do something awesome for you to say, Hey thanks for the million dollars, buddy! After that, I’d give the rest to my husband to manage because he is so much better at managing money than I am.

And here are my nominees!Liebster2

Jennifer at Half Crunchy Mom

Aprille at Beautiful in His Time

Arielle at Their World We Live In

Kristen at it.started.with.a.bump

Nikki at Thirty Something Mom

Meredith at From Meredith to Mommy

Michiko at There’s Something About Michiko

Sara at I Choose Joy (she recently posted she’s taking a much-needed break from blogging. But mark her for the future!)

*Yes, I realize there are only 8 when the instructions said 11. I’m new, I don’t know that many bloggers yet! Plus, slipping in an even number is calming me down.

My questions for the lovely nominees:

  1. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
  2. If you could do any job in the world (money/education no object), what would you do and why?
  3. You’re stuck on a desert island that has food, water and shelter (your basic survival needs are met). What 3 things would you wish to have with you and why?
  4. What person, dead or alive, is your hero?
  5. What’s your favorite animal?
  6. What’s your go-to snack?
  7. What inspired you to start your blog?
  8. What’s your favorite type of music?
  9. Which cartoon character would you most want to hang out with?
  10. Is there anything that makes you giggle uncontrollably?
  11. What’s your favorite flower?

5 Minute Friday

In an effort to cut my teeth as a blogger, so to speak, I’m challenging myself to join different link-ups. This one is simple: write for 5 minutes on a topic – no editing, no thinking, just writing. Then share it and check out what others have written! 5 Minute Friday does this every week. So, here goes nothing…

This week’s topic: Friend.

Why is it so hard to put words to this topic? Why does my heart ache and feel heavy when I try to think about what friend means to me? What do you do when you are so confident that someone will be in your life forever, and then they start slipping away? What do you do when you realize that you are the one slipping away? What do you do when it feels like the only glue holding you together are the memories of bygone fun? What if you’re trying to figure out how much of that past fun was good, and how much of it was part of the unhealthy you’re trying to get rid of? What do you do when you aren’t sure what friend means? What do you do when you’re so unsure, you’re stuck in one place? Why don’t you fight the sadness?

END.

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Thanks to From Meredith to Mommy, I discovered the Ultimate Blog Party 2013 at 5 Minutes for Mom.

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It’s a way to share your blog with a wider audience while discovering new blogs along the way. I’m pretty excited to take part in it. I love finding new blogs and learning from others’ experiences, plus I think it’ll help me grow as a blogger/writer to put myself out there. So, here goes with the intro post!

My name is Sara. I’ve loved writing since I was a little girl and kept journals and notebooks full of poems (mostly ones about whoever my crush was that month). I’ve attempted blogging many times, but never found my groove. This blog has had a few hiccups since I started it last fall, but I think I’ve found my niche.

I write about my experiences as a mama. I don’t really fit any label (plus, labels are so restricting!). I’m a little bit crunchy, a little bit funny, a little bit sarcastic and (hopefully) a little bit entertaining. A lot of my posts will involve breastfeeding, healthy lifestyles and mother -to-mother support. Like many moms, I’m constantly plagued by Mommy Guilt, that uneasy feeling that I’m doing it all wrong and my child will end up scarred for life because of the choices I’ve made. Getting my feelings down on paper (or screen) reminds me that I’m doing the best that I can, I’m acting from a place of love, and that’s all my child needs.

imageSpeaking of said child…I have one son, Colt, who is currently 2.5. He is independent, strong-willed, fearless, curious and full of energy. I love it when he wraps his arms around my neck and plays with my hair (something he’s done since infancy). I’m constantly in awe of this beautiful boy I helped create.

At this moment in time, I am a stay at home mom. My husband is in the Air Force and we recently moved back to the states after 3.5 years in England. After a brief spell with relatives in Oregon, we will be settling in Texas this summer (until the Air Force sees fit to move us again). In England, I worked in health/fitness and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I also have degrees in public health and interests in crafts/creative endeavours.

Find me on Facebook if you want to keep tabs on what happens here!

I’m glad you gave my blog a chance and read through to the end! If you like what you see, subscribe and share. 🙂

Take care!