Sunday, July 29, 2018

Stepping into Motherhood Is Moving

Stepping into Motherhood is growing up and moving onto a more professional platform with Wordpress. I started here over six years ago in which I started as Time with A & N with probably like two dozen readers.

But years later as I'm starting to get my words on bigger publishing sites I felt I needed a more professional blog platform to support my growth as a writer. Though now I may get my words seen by thousands; I'm still not in the millions yet, it was my readers here that gave me the confidence to keep putting my words out there.

I hope you'll follow Stepping into Motherhood on the new website. Though I am throwing more of my time and words onto paying websites as a freelancer I will still write about life, family, and chaos when the mood strikes me.

I love hearing from readers and can always be reached at Take care, mommas, and I hope to see you on the new site.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sixth Blogiversary: Taking My Knocks and Getting Back Up

May is the month of my blogiversary of starting this blog here which originally started as Time with A & N. But then as we were getting ready to add to the A & N family which ended up being an L I changed the name to Stepping into Motherhood, which I think is much more fitting anyway because my focus more times than not anymore is about motherhood.  Now this summer I'm looking into updating the site by hopefully moving posts over to the wordpress platform rather than blogger and actually having a website name that either includes my name or Stepping into Motherhood. This move will hopefully make the site look more professional and content easier to share.

Though this little blog of mine remains pretty miniscule small, I love the little motherhood community here that it's become. I only have about 200-300 readers on average which is also reflective of my facebook following which is my go to platform to use for social media as I am not very good with being active on twitter and I cannot remember my Instagram login.

Like with many things in life my failures and successes here are all about perspective. I could look at it as this is all I've accomplished in six years of hacking away at this writing thing and focus on all the rejections from editors I've received. Or I can focus on the fact that the blog has slowly but steadily grown over the years, as well as my publishing portfolio. Sometimes our successes are in the fact that we just keep showing up even when we've constantly been knocked down. If there's anything I'd like to think I'm good at it's taking my knocks and getting back up. This writing thing, though a true passion of mine since I was ten years old, is not without its tough moments of doubt. People can be critical; editors can be harsh, and it's quite easy to get down on myself and doubt what I can accomplish.

The first time I had an essay published in 2012 I was so excited to be "published" I happily handed my writing over to websites and magazines for free. However, six years into this and I've reached a point finally where if you're not paying me you're not publishing my work. Unless it's some huge giant well known platform of course because of course I'm not going to turn them down over something like money.

Throughout the past six years I've managed to get over 50 essays published for around $1300. I've also almost sold 200 books. After Chicken Soup for Soul in which millions read their books I'm to be published later this month on my next biggest platform with That's Inappropriate who has almost 1.4 million readers. They just added a parents content platform to their website in hopes of being the next Scary Mommy and invited myself, along with over 200 other parent content writers, to submit monthly for their 30 or so publication spots per month. They've bought three of my essays/articles so far, and I of course plan to keep throwing my hat in the ring to get more of my work published with them.

There's pretty big competition out there so I've dealt with a lot of rejection. It's just part of the game. Most times I get that but it's definitely had its discouraging moments. Too many rejections and I often take a bit of a "break" for myself. I love to write and I don't want frustration with it to take away my love for it.  I totally get every single thing I write is not publication worthy, and also that everything I write is not everyone's cup of tea. I feel everything with strong emotion- whether it's my anger or my joy, my frustration or my happiness, and I know no matter what emotion I'm running with at the moment I'm possibly coming in too hot with it. But one of the frequent compliments I get is that I keep it real. Motherhood is this incredibly raw emotional journey where we're gushing in happiness at how incredibly sweet it is one moment to barely holding our shit together and going scary mommy crazy on someone in the next moment. It's all here in this space- the highs with the lows and the joys with the struggles.

I use this space as my sounding board where I'm sure I ramble on and say too much probably too often. But my rambling list of ideas and thoughts here is where everything first takes shape before some things are cleaned up and moved on to be published elsewhere. Some posts on here are just my therapy when I need to sort some shit out, and more times than not the women that read here are amazing at giving the feedback and insight I need to hear.

For those that have shown up at some point in these six years and decided to hang out despite my numerous typos and grammatical errors, crazy rants, self indulged pity parties, boastful moments of success and happiness,  thank you!  My writing life really does start here with you! Thanks for sticking around.

Want to help me as a writer?

Buy my book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas or download the ebook here.

Buy my interactive journal for mothers and daughters Letters to a Daughter

Follow, share, and invite friends to follow my Stepping into Motherhood facebook page

Share any posts from the blog here at any time that resonate with you.

Share any of my published articles and essays I share on my pages.

Want a copy of the two Chicken Soup for the Soul books I'm published in email me at glennbabies@gmail to get your copy for $8 plus shipping:
    Chicken Soup for the Soul Survival Guide for the Multitasking Mom
    Chicken Soup for the Soul Curvy and Confident

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Come Home

I've been away from home this coming summer for 13 years already! Though there are times I get incredibly homesick and there are certain things I really hate missing out on from not being closer to home, I also love the life I've carved out for myself . But there really is no other feeling quite like coming home.

I've traveled a lot of places, and the anticipation of an upcoming trip is really an addictive high that those with s traveler's soul understands.  Yet one of my most favorite places to always be headed is HOME. It's been a destination I've traveled more times than I can count these past thirteen years, yet the thrill of heading home never gets old. I anticipate it just as much now as I did when I first left years ago.

Though we only get to see and spend time with family a few weeks out of the year, we do our best to always make the most of that time. We love how, no matter which home of ours we're headed to, it's always like a week long party as everyone also tries to make the very most of that rare time we get together. Through all those snippets of time we've captured over the years we've created these lasting memories of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for our kids that despite the distance they get to grow up knowing as if the miles weren't so far away.

There are many things I hope our kids taking away from how we've chosen to raise them, but the choice to come home is one that I hope runs strong in the roots of who they are.  As much as I want to foster their independence and encourage them to chase their dreams, no matter how far that may take them from us, I hope if there's anything they've learned it's to always come home. I hope they find their wings and as much as we may not want to see them go, I hope that wherever their journeys may take them that one of their most favorite, frequent destinations to head is always home.

Home is where family is. It's where those that love you for you, despite whatever your failures and successes may be, are always waiting to welcome you with open arms.  Coming home is where you snag the precious gift of time. It's time to spend with those that won't always be there, time to see those that will grow up all too soon, time to  reflect on memories,  and a time to make new ones. Home is where a part of your heart will always live.

So, my children, we will give you your wings but remember your roots and no matter where the roads in life may take you I hope they always lead you back to coming home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Kids and Money

When it comes to kids and teaching them about money I tend to disagree with everyone from my husband to my sister on this. I want my kids to know financial responsibility. Of course I don’t want them to grow up to be entitled, spoiled little brats either but there seems to be a pretty fine line to walk when trying to navigate this lesson of parenthood. Some philosophies I carried over from my own upbringing and others are different than how I was raised, but as I use to tell my sister before she had kids to each their own.

Money and Chores

I’ve heard the arguments for how kids should get paid for doing chores and I’ve heard the arguments for why they shouldn’t.  Some may see my view as harsh but there is no set guaranteed payment for chores in my household. My kids are expected to put their laundry away, empty the dishwasher, sometimes help clear the table after dinner, clean up their rooms and any messes they make, and take care of their cat including the litter box. Sometimes they also help do the cleaning and yard work. Here’s my argument for having them help out without compensation. I don’t get paid to clean up the house and put my stuff away. Self-responsibility doesn’t come with a reward; you just do it because that’s what you do as a responsible human being. I am also not the maid. We all live here; therefore, we will all take part in doing stuff around the house. Now every now and then if there’s a bunch of extra stuff to be cleaned up around the house or for doing their chores without whining or forgetting and I have a couple extra bucks I’ll give them money.  If I want them to consider how and when to spend their own money they do have to earn some money somehow. Besides the random payment for doing a nice job or extra when it comes to chores around the house, they also earn money for "babysitting" their brother (watching or entertaining him while I'm doing something else around the house). They can also earn money from good grades.

When to spend their own money verse mine

We take our kids to do a lot of things. We went and did a lot of things before we had kids. We weren’t about to change this because we had kids or exclude them; however, I often worry how traveling and going to do so much stuff on the weekends could lead my children to believing money grows on trees. Our kids are also in a lot of activities that run into a lot of money. Affording three kids activities, clothes, and tickets for this and that all run up into quite a bit of money; however, my husband and I work hard for our money so I'm not going to avoid doing things as a family because my kids might get too "spoiled" from it.  So there are times like recently when they wanted to buy books at their school book fair even though I take them to the library at least once a month,that I said they’d have to use their own money. After forking money over for birthday parties and Easter, buying spring sports gear, and purchasing tickets to upcoming weekend activities , the parent bank was dry.  They gladly obliged and they each sat down and went through how much money they had to spend and their wish list of items to make decisions on what they were actually going to get. If we go to a movie or something like Disney on Ice  or have an upcoming trip planned they are often encouraged to save their money for the things they may want there as we paid for the tickets  and expenses to do the activity but are not about to spend $60 on three flashing Disney princesses or whatever flashly thing they think they may need. Though they are kids and often want toys, they know we are not going to buy them toys. Though they do sometimes spend their birthday or Christmas money on toys from the store, they also know now to consider saving it for events like an upcoming show or the beach like last year  when they bought crabs from the beach with their saved money. We will take care of their needs but when it comes to their wants they have to consider their own money and how much they really want to part with it for something they want now verse something they may want later. 

Working as teenagers and managing their own money

As my kids enter their teen years and those wants become bigger and more expensive, they will be expected to work. However, their studies and activities are first so the expectation will be when it fits in their schedule after school and sports so like during an off season, just weekends, or maybe a particular night or two of the week. Though we do plan to provide them with a car once they have their license more for our convenience than theirs it will only be for their remaining high school days. Once they graduate and are ready to head off to college, is when we will start to expect them to look into getting their first car in which they’ll cover the payments though we’ll probably cosign with them. But from the beginning they’ll be expected to pay their own gas, spend their own money when going out with their friends, pay for their own cell bill, and possibly even their share of the auto insurance again depending on the balance between activities and work but if they are not in season with a sport they will not be sitting on their teenage butt. They will be working.

Paying for College

Though it may seem like my money managing expectations for a six and nine year old are a little harsh,  I have agreed to support my husband’s idea of trying to help pay for some of their college. Even at six and nine I know these are good girls. They work hard, they take their studies seriously, they do a ton to help out around the house ,and though they will have a vested interest in their college career because some of it will be paid for by them through either scholarships they earn, work study income they make, or school loans they have to take out to pay back themselves later, we do not want our kids starting their adult lives out in ridiculous debt or being stuck paying school loans until they die of old age as will probably be the case for my husband and me. I'm not going to forfeit my current financial situations or my own future retirement for their college savings though, but because I like to think I myself was raised to be smart with money I will make sure we save what we can to give them a little help.
Teaching them to save I'm finding though is a hard concept. I think my younger one gets the idea better than my older. My older wants to spend every last dollar she has, but I've also seen them work together to "loan" each other money or put their money together to get something they agreed they both wanted.  They are learning. I know at times they think I'm just an awful, evil Disney mother or something because I expect them to do chores every day when they walk in the house and I don't believe they should be instantly rewarded with money for helping out in a house we all share. They also understand we spend a lot of money to take them to go do a lot of stuff and that all those activities they enjoy are not free and they have both expressed gratitude at various times for these luxuries. When my oldest for her ninth birthday told me not to worry about the present part of her birthday because throwing her the party with her friends and going to do family stuff her birthday weekend was enough I knew- evil harsh mother or not- they're learning.



Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Spousal Wars

I never knew committing to spending a lifetime to share your life with someone would also mean preparing to duke it out over the same petty battles day after day. Almost thirteen years into this living together thing and we still continue to fight over the following things:

1. Laundry: We disagree on everything with the laundry from how to sort it to how to fold it. He says we sort clothes based on water temperature and I say we sort them based on color. I am also notorious for forgetting to clean out the lint thing in the dryer. So between my cooking skills and this if the house ever catches on fire it probably is my fault. It's not just that we disagree on how to fold one thing in the laundry. We disagree on how towels, pants, and t shirts all get folded. At this point I have consented to folding pants and t shirts his way, but I totally refold all his towels otherwise they wouldn't fit in my cabinet.

2. The heat in the house: He's constantly turning the heat up to 70 or higher and because I'm constantly moving and like to sleep cold I'm constantly turning it back down to like 65. Then he'll ask who touched the heat as if he doesn't know. Then I'll shrug my shoulders as if I have no idea how the heat got turned down or off. And almost thirteen years later this comical ridiculous battle of wills still continues between us and neither of us are willing to consent to a happy temperature in the middle.

3. Socks: So apparently I own no socks and they are all his. It seems like every pair I put on he claims are his. I know he buys himself socks frequently. I don't really remember the last time I bought myself socks but socks are socks, right? I'm sure I own socks. I think. Unless they're all the mismatched ones in the basket. It's even gotten to the point where if I'm sitting in my chair with my feet up, wearing "his" socks he'll walk by and snatch them off my feet and throw them across the room just to antagonize me. However, this has not convinced me to go buy my own package of socks so I share continue this ridiculous battle of the socks with him.

4. Bathroom: Really, it sounds like this is a spousal battle in every house. But in particularly in mine it never fails just as I'm getting ready to take my shower in the evenings is when he decides to do his business he's supposedly been holding off on doing all day. I swear a must in our next house is going to be one of those toilet closest things for the bathroom where the toilet is closed off from the rest of the bathroom. It's going to have double sinks too because he may complain about my long hair clogging up the shower drain but his razor sharp facial hair clogs up the sink and I swear he spends more time in that bathroom getting ready than I do. And he has no hair so I'm not quite sure what takes so long.

5. The Car Charger: I'm not really sure why in this day and age but our cars always seem to only have one car charger. Because he's usually the one to buy them he claims first dibs so I usually wait until he's not looking and then switch the charger to my phone. Whenever we're fighting over who gets to use it on our long road trips he'll stop and pick up another one. Except they never seem to last very long because supposedly I break them all. Because they always seem to quit working right after being left in my car or after my phone has used them does not mean necessarily that I broke them. He always tells me I'm going to buy the next one. But I know I can outlast him on the whole sharing thing so he always ends up buying the next one.

I'm sure the ridiculous battles between us that have continued for the past thirteen years is longer than these five but these childish spousal battles are some of our favorites. What do you and your spouse fight over constantly but find too much humor in driving each other a little crazy that you don't see the battle ending anytime soon?