Okay, so . . .
1) That title and photo are only funny if you’re familiar with “A Christmas Story.”
2) I don’t know about “major,” but I really did win an award!
Irina Musuc, fellow mom blogger at Good to Be Mom has so kindly chose me for a Liebster Award. Isn’t that sweet? (I know you have no idea what a Liebster award is, so you can just nod your head.)
Here’s the skinny: The Liebster Award is assigned by other bloggers who want to support your blog and think it’s worth being awarded. The person who nominates you asks you 11 questions. You answer them and then you nominate another 11 bloggers and ask them your own 11 questions and you notify them of the nomination. And the award goes on.
Kind of fun, and a nice way to get introduced to other bloggers.
Here are my answers to Irina’s 11 questions. (You’ll find the bloggers I nominated and the 11 questions I chose for them at the end.)
1) What has inspired you to start your blog?
I started writing about motherhood in earnest when our eldest was having a nasty bout of insomnia, and I was in a rough state. I’d have to sit in her dark room until she fell asleep, so I’d bring in my computer and write blog posts for therapy. As more and more moms wrote back to say, “Thank you! Me, too!” I realized that blogging was a natural way for me to serve other moms, as well as give myself a much-needed emotional and creative outlet.
2) What blog post was the most challenging for you and why?
Probably this post about the reality and responsibility of fighting racism as a white American. Writing about race and racism is always a sticky business, and while it’s really important to me, it was a little scary to publish those thoughts. The Internet can be a great place for intelligent discussion, but it can also be a cesspool of cruelty and ignorance. I’m glad I wrote it, though. And thankfully, it was well-received for the most part.
3) How do you cope with the writer’s block, if you happened to have one?
I can’t say I struggle with writer’s block. My writing challenges are more akin to traffic jams. I have too many ideas and not enough time to get them all written. I could (and would) write all day long if I had no other life. (I’d probably get writer’s block then. :)) But living out life with three kids, there’s definitely no shortage of things to write about.
4) What, in your opinion, are the ingredients of a really successful blog?
The blogs I really enjoy are smart, honest, heartfelt, and regularly incorporate humor. My most successful posts have been ones in which I reason through a controversial topic (What’s So Hard about Covering up to Breastfeed in Public) or pour out my mothering heart (Sometimes I Cry) or present an honest reality in way that other moms can relate (Please Take My Messy House as a Compliment), or present a parenting reality in a funny way (10 Things Parents Should Never Do). So at least for parenting blogs, my favorite recipe is honesty, heart, and humor.
5) Do you believe in inspiration or in hard work?
Both. For sure. I have all kinds of inspiration, but without sitting my butt down and doing the work of blogging—which, unfortunately, is actually quite a bit more than just writing—inspiration is fruitless.
6) If you had a chance to interview a super star, whom would you choose and what would you talk about?
Oh, man. I’d like to say something really interesting or deep here, but I think I’d choose Johnny Depp, because, well, Johnny Depp. If I was able to bring myself to speak, I’d probably ask him what it’s like to be essentially worshipped by a good portion of humanity, because that’s got to be an enormous headtrip.
7) Name three things that can drive you crazy.
1. Right now, as I’m typing this sentence, my 5-year-old is making annoying noises and randomly hitting my arm. Not actually wanting my attention for anything specific, just poking me for the sake of poking me and noises for the sake of noises. GAH.
2. My own inability to keep to a schedule or routine.
3. When the house is a mess. Which is pretty much always.
8) Name three simple things that make you genuinely happy.
1. Climbing into bed. Every night, when I climb into bed, I feel giddy. I tell my husband, “I LOVE my jammies. I LOVE going to bed. I’m so thankful for a warm bed and soft blankets.” I overflow with gratitude for that one comfort.
2. My children’s laughter. Definitely. (Shoot, I probably should have put that one first. Toss another quarter in the kids’ therapy jar.)
3. Sunrises and sunsets. I’ll go out of my way to experience and try to photograph them. That beauty never gets old.
9) Do you have a motto or a credo which helps you in the difficult times of your life?
Yep. It might seem kind of lame, but one of my favorite mantras is IT’S ALL GOOD. It’s basically a distilled way of saying that tests and challenges ultimately lead to spiritual growth, that cold and darkness can help us understand and appreciate heat and light, that “Every cloud has a silver lining,” and the old favorite, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Almost every difficulty can be spun into something positive in the end, depending on how you approach it and what you choose to learn from it. “It’s all good” helps me keep a positive outlook on negative things.
10) Please, name the people who motivated or encouraged you to be who you are now.
That’s tough. I really feel like every person who’s been part of my life has motivated or encouraged me in some way. Even people who have undesirable traits have motivated me, by making me want to not be like them. 🙂 It kind of goes back to the “It’s all good” philosophy. I look for things to learn or be inspired by in each person I meet. Of course, there are some who have had more influence in my life than others, but I worry I’d be leaving out important people if I tried to name names, so I’ll leave it at that.
11) Describe one life changing moment of your life.
When I was in labor with our first daughter, I got to a point during the pushing phase where I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. She was posterior (face up), and every time I pushed, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the lower back with a hot knife. Just when I wanted to give up (which obviously wasn’t a choice, but that’s where I was mentally, emotionally, and physically), I had a vision. Like, an actual, honest-to-God vision. I’d never had one before, and I’ve never had one since, but that’s definitely what this was.
The actual people in the room at the birth center were the midwife, the nurse, and my husband. But suddenly I saw a line of women standing shoulder to shoulder, starting near the foot of the bed and trailing off into the distance, beyond the walls, as far as I could see. For a split second, I didn’t understand, but then I knew. These were my ancestors—every woman in my lineage, going back through the centuries, who’d gone through this same experience in order for me to be there, in that moment, giving birth to my own daughter. They didn’t say anything. They just stood there, silently smiling, but I heard the message loud and clear: “We’ve all been through this. Look what strength you have in you, in your blood, in your bones, in your spirit. Of course you can do this.” And I did.
After that, I literally felt I could do anything. I was superwoman. And that feeling—that knowing that I am strong and capable—as well as the bone-deep understanding that women can move mountains together, has carried me since then.
Whew! That was fun.
Okay, here are the bloggers I’m nominating for the Liebster. I chose these lovely ladies and gents because they are also parent bloggers, I haven’t seen them on anyone else’s Liebster list, they aren’t all kinds of crazy famous (yet), I’ve been following them for a bit, and I’ve enjoyed reading their work.
My 11 Fabulous Nominees
Paula at Mommy Means It
Deva at My Life Suckers
Kara at Quill and Camera
Toni at Is it Bedtime Yet?
Roo at SemiProper
Mike at Puzzling Posts
Kristen at Abandoning Pretense
Pete at Dadmissions
Lynn at The Nomad Mom Diary
Joelle at Running From Mountain Lions
Susan at Pecked to Death by Chickens
My 11 Questions for Them
1. What’s the most awesome aspect of blogging for you?
2. What do you find not-so-awesome about blogging?
3. Do you have a writing routine or process, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
4. What is one super helpful resource you’ve found that other bloggers might benefit from?
5. Describe a typical weekday in four sentences.
6. Of all the posts you’ve written, what’s your favorite (or one of your favorites) and why?
7. What’s the most exciting experience you’ve had as a writer?
8. Do you think of your blog as a job or as a hobby?
9. Describe yourself in six words.
10. Tell us about a life-changing experience you’ve had.
11. Let’s go easy after that one. Top two favorite ice cream flavors?
Featured photo credit: Kevin Dooley