Monday, January 27, 2014

Stay at Home Mom's

Man, how to write this post? I am frustrated. And I understand all at the same time. Most stay-at-home-moms (SAHM) feel like they are not validated, appreciated, understood. They feel overused, overworked, stretched thin, alone, overstimulated, understimulated, and like they have no one to talk to. I get it. I really do. I have three kids, (5, 3, 1). I was a working mom for the first four years of number 1's life. I have been 100% SAHM for number 3's life. I have seen both sides and I get it.

What I do not get is why we perpetuate the problem. I have seen a lot of posts about SAHMs for SAHMs. Posts about what a break really means and how to communicate with a SAHM and what SAHMs would like or need. And I am guilty of reading them and thinking, "Yes! Finally, someone who gets it! Someone who understand how I feel and is vocalizing it for the world to know!" It is nice to be understood. But I realized something after the last one I read. I do not feel any better after I read those posts. I feel worse.

Unless you have been a stay-at-home parent, you really have no idea what goes on or the unique stress that one deals with. Believe me. I thought I got it as a working mom...and I fully realize now that I am SAHM that I did not get it. It is one of those things you cannot understand until you have been there. I'm sorry. It does not make you less of a person, though. It just makes you a person.

Back to feeling better. I realized after reading the last post "validating" or "explaining" SAHM that I did not feel better. And the reason was simple. Someone who has not been in my shoes will never get it. And that list of things that I want to have or happen probably won't happen. Because I'm a SAHM. And that's okay. It's okay because of one, HUGE fact. I CHOSE to be a SAHM.

That's right. I looked at our family. I looked at our religion. I looked at families around us. I looked at what was happening when someone else was raising my child. And I made a choice. I decided it would be better for my family and me to stay home. And that's what I have done. It has been hard. I have felt underappreciated and overused and understimulated and overstimulated (often at the same time). I have felt like I do not exist as a real person. I have felt alone. But it is what I chose to do. And I do not always feel that way.

There are wonderful things that happen for SAHMs that often get lost in the jumble of negativity. I get to snuggle with my kids. I get to teach them right from wrong. I get to see them take their first steps and say their first words (my youngest just figured out "boom, baby!"). I get to cook and eat healthy meals for my family. I get to be home when they come home and see their faces light up when I cheer for them coming through the door. They come to me with their fears and joys. I get to play video games and board games and read stories. I get to be there for my husband.

And maybe I should stop here. You see, being a SAHM isn't all about me. It's about family. It's a choice to do what you believe is best for those around you. It's a CHOICE.

I guess my plea to SAHMs is this: You chose this path and so did I. There are rough days and rough moments. There are good days and good moments, too, though. But it's all a choice. No one forced you (us) to do this. And that's okay.

Here are some survival tips that I have found helpful recently:

1. Breathe. I mean this seriously. Take a breath and say to yourself: It will be okay. It's not as big a deal as I think it is. Breathe!
2. Tell your husband the truth about how you're feeling...and not right as he's walking in the door (unless he asks right then). How do you feel when you finally get a moment to sit down and someone (usually a kid) asks you to do something for them? (Really? I was just in the kitchen 10 seconds ago with you!) Give them a moment (just like you would like one) and then tell them the truth.
3. Take care of yourself. I'm not even talking about going to a salon and having a girls night or whatever. We don't have the money. But you can afford to go to bed on time. You can afford to eat healthy with your kids. And there are countless resources on the internet for finding some kind of exercise that works for you. (Lately, I've been doing a morning yoga routine (10 minutes or less) while my kids are across the hall playing (yes, they often wander into my room and join me). Then I take another 10 minutes to meditate on scriptures, hymns, Jesus, gratitude (yes, my kids often wander in during meditation to sit on my lap or have a dress buttoned or toy fixed or something. I cannot express how good I have been feeling since starting this.)

Honestly, it's okay to read the blog posts that remind you someone else understands. But do not wallow in them. Do not ponder on them beyond "Someone else gets it. I am so grateful." If you are going to wallow, wallow in the choice you have made to be a SAHM. Wallow and be grateful that your family is in a situation for that. Wallow in the good moments and remember that the bad ones don't last. Wallow in the affection of your spouse. And if you don't feel like you're getting that affection, take a page from your kids and just cuddle up to him. He'll either catch on and cuddle back or open the door to a conversation of what you need in that moment.

SAHMs, you're doing a good job. You're doing an important work. Remember that.

Monday, January 20, 2014

"The Guardians"

The Guardians: Revenge is 100% complete with the first draft! It is sitting for a week before I read through one final time and then send to beta readers. I am happy with this product so far and hope you are, too.

The Guardians: Life is just started. I have written a rough first chapter and am planning the other chapters. This is the final book to The Guardian series...and it makes me a little sad to be so close to parting with Eddy and April so soon.

Totems: A King's Treasure has sat long enough. It's time I read through it one more time. And then I plan on going to in order to find someone to make a cover. I am very excited for this story as all of my betas have informed me that it's better than The Guardian story.

Totems: The Sword and the Shield is under construction. I know what is going to happen, I just have to map it out now. Actually, I'm not sure how that one will end, just how it will lead into book 3 which will be called Totems: Clouds of War.

If you have enjoyed my stories and think this is the end, don't! I have a series of eight or nine books in the works (The Planetary series? Planetarians? Hmmm, I need a title still...) and a stand alone novel that just came to me last night: Hope Springs, Idaho.

Yes, when I don't write, I go crazy. Ever since putting The Guardians: Revenge on the back burner, I have deep cleaned the majority of my house, baked cookies, and planned out several more books. Silly me.

For you future writers, take this as a cue: Writing takes energy! You will be exhausted after a good round of writing, whether you write 50 words in one sitting or 5,000 words. The work required to generate ideas and then communicate them is demanding. But it is so worth it! There is a "high" when you complete a particularly exciting scene and you just want to share it with the world. Do share it. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed by what you've written. It is a huge accomplishment and you should be proud of it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Progress Report

The Guardians: Revenge is almost done with the first draft! I have a few more chapters to finish tweaking and then the book will sit for a bit before I begin another round of editing.

Does it ever seem strange that you would let something sit? I used to. Until I actually let it sit. Then I realized how important the sitting is. When you set something aside for a brief time (at least sleep on it!), you are able to look at it with fresh eyes. Often this allows you to spot errors that your tired eyes may not catch. Or delete sections that you were emotionally attached to, but did nothing to help your story.

It's the same with a lot of aspects in life. "Let me sleep on it." "Count to ten." "Take deep breaths." All of these have the same idea behind them. "Let it sit." That purchase you want to make? Not worth it. Or so totally worth it that you're even more excited the next day. The guy who cut you off in traffic? Breath. Count. Whatever you need to do. Road rage will only blind you and make you more susceptible to an accident.

In the moment, however, we often don't realize how important (or unimportant) something is. Some might say, "But what about that once in a lifetime opportunity?" Hey, if it's too good to be probably is too good to be true. There are strings attached. And if it's meant to be, it will come back to you. Be patient. Good things come to those who wait. Trust in time.

And get excited. Guardians: Revenge will be out before you know it!

Monday, January 6, 2014

And We're Back!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope we've all had a good time with the holidays. I hope you even took time off of work to enjoy the holidays. I know I did. :)

Status Updates on books: Totems: The Sword and the Shield is sitting still. I believe it's complete, although I will read through one more time just to check. Bernie's character needs a little tweeking, I think. Also, I'm considering changing the title to Totems: The King's Treasure. I believe The Sword and the Shield will work better for book 2.

Guardians: Revenge is about 8,000 words shy of being complete. Then it will sit for about a week before I begin serious editing. After the rough draft, I tend to edit as I go so editing should be relatively quick. Then it's to Beta Readers. I hope to have it published by the end of March. Also, Guardians: Gateways may receive a slight revision. There are a few typos that I would like to fix.

Publish Guardians: Revenge by the end of March happens to be one of my New Year's goals. I would say resolutions, but that does not fit. As one author has stated, a resolution is something you do to better yourself. A goal is how you might reach your resolution. For example: I want to be healthier in 2014 is a resolution. The goals might be based on eating habits or exercise or weight loss.

My second goal is to submit my work to a writing contest. I've found a local one and I think I'm going with the short story category. They have not updated rules for 2014, but last year submission was from April through June.

All in all, I'm very excited for this year. There's a lot of promise for things to be done. A lot of excitement. It's going to be great!

Do you have any writing goals (or other goals) that you want to share? Comment below!