In Good Company

I have friends that run marathons (not me), or half marathons (nope), or 10Ks (still incredibly not likely). I have friends training to be triathletes and body builders and equestrians(no thanks, way too much work). And I say to you ladies, how do you do it?

Some of you love camping with your family so much, that in the summer, you spend Thurday and Friday packing and Monday and Tuesday unpacking. That's hard work, and lots of it. And I know you do it because the reward of spending that kind of quality time with your family is totally worth it. And yet still, I'm thinking, how do you do it?

Some of you keep a beautiful house and somehow know how to clean up and stay organized despite little people that drag their crap all over place 24-7. Yet, your house is spotless (not mine). So again, I say, how on earth do you do it?

Or maybe you cook all of your meals from scratch, or you NEVER go to McDonalds, or you even sew your kids their clothes. OR even grow your own food! I mean, hello!

Or maybe you are in the PTA, you volunteer in the classrooms, at church, you coach your kid's team, you're always treat mom, and you sub on days the school is desperate. I don't do hardly any of that, at least not right now!

And you 9-5er moms, who come home to empty mouths and hungry stomachs and homework and messes and likely a whole heck of a lot stress and stuff on your mind. Or maybe you've gone back to school? Or maybe you do both! My goodness, I bow to you. How do you do it?

And you that have husbands who are deployed, or work on business out of town, or who do not have a hint of family around, or who home school!!!!! How do you do it?

So, I guess my point is. I wrote a book. Because I love telling stories. And I have a whole bunch of them in my head, and they really need to come out. This past winter, I didn't do much else. Every free moment I could possibly find, I ran to my computer. And after a while, I realized that it was what I wanted to do (besides mothering) and that I needed to just go for it. So, like my friends who are runners, and they wake up some days thinking, 'I really don't want to run today', but they do anyway, and afterwards are so glad they did. That is how writing is for me. Somedays, baby goes for a nap and I am thinking of all the things I should be doing, or maybe the words just aren't there right away, but I make myself sit down, and I just do it. And eventually, the words come. And when I have to stop mid-sentence in the middle of some super emotional scene that I just think there is no way I can make it until tomorrow, I close my computer, and get my baby, and then, of course, I can't lie, I try to sneak in a few shots at the keyboard to finish up a scene! And when I think about the fact that I almost didn't write that day, I can't even believe the thought crossed mind, because afterwards, similar to the runners-high, I am exhilerated.

But when people say 'How does she do it?', I am of course grateful that you understand how difficult it is for a mother to do anything beyond keeping her own family fed. But I also feel like writing my novel has not been hard. And following this journey to publish my book has not felt hard. Frustrating, yes, because I need more time, a LOT more time (don't we all?). But maybe it's because I have a business and marketing background, and I tend to be an entrepreneur, and I am insanely driven, and have super supportive family and friends, but I really think that when we are doing something we love, something that we find value in, something that we think can be something good in the world, something that might inspire another person, or at the very least show my daughters that they can achieve their own dreams, then it's worth doing at any cost.

As a writer, when you move past the idea that authors have to be megastars, or be bestsellers, or that everyone just has to love your story (good, thick rhino-type skin is key, you can't please everybody!), or that you have to see your book in lights, and instead look at what you might have to offer the world, it really changes things, and it allows you to look deep inside and explore your options and your opportunities. I figure if I enterain even one lonely heart, or inspire even one Indie writer who is considering taking this trek on their own, or even just make my family proud, then I've done my job. And have had a heck of a good time doing it!

So, for all of you that wonder how I do it, you can be assured that whatever it is you do in your life that is affecting others, or giving you joy, or changing the world, I am equally wondering how do you? And for those of you that have a dream, I can only say that the best investment you will ever make is in yourself. Go for it. Go big! I'm totally behind you, the way so many have been behind me. There is this super cute sign I have above my desk that reads "The best way to predict your future is to create it." The grass just has to be greener when you do. So I say, go. Create. And enjoy this life we are so blessed to have. :)

"Whatever You're doing inside of me, it feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace. You're up to something bigger than than me, larger than life, something heavenly." --Sanctus Real

The Mommy Spa

I love the spa. Seriously, I'd live there. For real. Forever. But it just doesn't happen.

It's intensely rare that I get manicures or pedicures, and maybe one massage every six months or so thaI can remember from a gal that now just comes to my house. But that whole spa experience where you feel like you are a queen and have absolutely no worries in the world? Yeah, doesn't happen.

So, I guess things have come down to the at-home Mommy Spa. Or at least that's what I call it, because in this chapter of life, it's about as close as I get. In case you're in need of one, here's how it goes.

Mommy makes the bath water super extra uber hot, because then maybe no one else will want to get in for awhile. That hopefully buys you about 10 minutes, until everyone has found where you tried to hide out, and is begging you to make it cooler so they can get in. Eventually, the whining wins, and suddenly your leisurely solitary soak turns into a tub of splashing chaos. (YOu're totally relaxed already, right?)

So, spas are all about those lovely aromas, right? Make sure you buy some really good (sample size) spa shampoo. Even Aveda works, they've got some great scents. Just lie back, close your eyes (only open them every other second so the baby doesn't drown), open the top, and take in a big whif. Ahhhhhhhhhh. Try to get about three big inhales before some little person nails an elbow to your boob.

When the small bottle of mood enhancing smelly stuffy gets swiped from you too, try throwing in some bath salts, lavender maybe. THis again is good for at least two minutes, until the baby tries to eat them, or screams because you won't let him put the top on and off repeatedly.

Finally, when you get out and wrap the tiny towel around you (because all of the small people stole the big ones), and get ready for bed, forget brushing your teeth, or smoothing some lucious nighttime wrinkle cream on your face, because little people are 'cold' and 'thirsty' and once you get them in bed, you all just fall asleep.

So, as you see, it actually does work. Because if nothing else, you are either so relaxed, or so friggin exhausted that you collaspe, and end up getting your beauty sleep.

Hopefully for all of you that don't get to the spa, you'll find some solace in the opportunity here. :)

The So Totally Cool Mom

We all know the opposite of the totally cool mom. They're the ones that give you that look when your kid is the one melting down at the grocery store, spinning around in circles on her head and then protesting by laying in the isle refusing to move. 'That look' is the one that gives off the aura that their child would never do such a thing. That you must be so much of a mess of a mom that you would allow it, first of all, and second of all, how wrong you must be doing in every mom department that your child could even conceive of the idea to behave so badly.

These so totally not cool moms also feel the need to openly whisper to their friend or husband, loudly enough for you to hear of course, about how much they would so NOT do what you're doing. They also make it clear by their expression that 1) They don't seem to particularly like everyone else's children, and 2) They probably don't even really enjoy their own.

If the so totally not cool mom knows you, then the situation is one gazillion times worse, because then they are fueled with some great new gossip, about how they so totally have it all together and you so totally do not. And if you know her, you try to be brave and act like you don't care, but instead, you are humiliated, you know there will be social circle backlash and plenty of backstabbing about your so not perfect children, and all you want to do is tell everyone to go away so you can sulk with your own cup of hot cocoa and marshmellows. So there!

Well, here's what I say to the so totally not cool moms out there. I can identify you with one simple glance. Eat dirt.

I prefer the So Totally COOL moms. The ones that walk up to you while you're breaking a sweat trying to just get your flailing kid off the grocery store floor, lay a hand on your shoulder and say, "That happened to me yesterday. And since I'm so fortunate right now to not have my little monsters, could I give you a hand?" Oh, how I love you, so cool mom.

Or the super uber-cool one that smiles and pulls a really big sucker out of her purse, makes eye contact with you as she raises a brow to get your approval, and then after you nod 'yes' so hard you pull a muscle in your neck, she hands it over to your screaming child and just bought you one full minute of peace.

Or the so over the top incredibly cool mom that goes out of her way to make your kid comfortable (which of course puts you at ease) and will let your kid take things out of her purse, even her wallet full of non-expired credit cards, if it helps you for five seconds or will let your kid tear her house apart when all you meant to was 'stop by real quick', because she 'totally gets it.' That mom can be my best friend anytime.

All you so totally cool moms out there, you rock the world, and you make it go around, rather than stop it cold and miserable the way the so totally not cool moms do. I am grateful for you cool moms more than you know. You help me breathe. God did some really good in you. :)

Imaginary Friends

I don't recall having any of these when I was a kid. I'm sure I did, because any young girl that would 'gallop' around on all fours around the dining room table enough times to make a lap in the carpet (yes, horse lover) surely had an imaginary rider, at the very least. But I don't remember relying on that imaginary friend to be that one person I rely on in my quiet times, and to whom I give so much of myself and my energy.

Well, I do now. In fact, I've got whole boatload of them. That's what happens when you immerse yourself into the world of the novel you are writing. My two best imaginary friends are Adie and Dannika and I sooooo want the best for them. Sometimes, it hurts me to have to put them in certain situations, but it would be way too boring if we just all sat around sipping tea all day.

I remember reading about how Stephenie Meyer just 'fell in love' with her characters and that's why she couldn't stop writing. I was like, that's just weird. Until I felt compelled (apparently) to give that whole concept a whirl and boy was I wrong. Well, actually, I'm probably not wrong, it probably is weird, but it's true! I told my husband the other day that I was so excited to write the sequel because my characters have choices to make and are in limbo and have love on hold and I just am so anxious to ignore my own life so that I can continue theirs. He just smiled and gave me a big hug and left for work, sure thinking 'that's just weird'.

I'm pretty sure my kids have imaginary friends. And they seem to take up all my time, too.

But I've determined that imaginary friends are lovely. And when the ones on paper talk about you behind your back, you can just hit delete. :)

I'm in the final phases of preparing to introduce my imaginary friends to the world, and it is so exciting. My imaginary friends are getting all gussied up for their big debut---hoping early Julyish, maybe even 7/7, like in my obsessively favorite movie, We Bought a Zoo (hey, that date worked for them). And yes, there are horses in the story.