Category Archives: writing

Weekend Plans

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I’m attending a blogging conference this weekend. It’s my first one. I’ve been writing for almost six years, so it’s fair to say that I’ve taken my sweet time putting myself out there in the blogging community.

When I first began writing, I promised to let The Runaway Mama grow organically. I vowed not to force a business strategy (or any kind of strategy) on it at the expense of the joy, creativity, and healing I felt when I carved out an hour or even a few minutes to sit at my computer and write.

I found solace in writing. It allowed me to reconnect with myself at a time when my world revolved solely around the needs of my young children. Putting the chaos and emotion of early motherhood into words gave me a sense of purpose that stay-at-home motherhood had taken away.

To protect it, I purposely chose not to impose plans or goals. I couldn’t fathom being accountable to anyone but my two diaper-clad little boys. But I was also afraid. What if I failed? Or worse, what if no one even noticed I was there?

In good ways and in bad, motherhood swallowed me whole. I disappeared inside its deep, sweeping, pulsing belly. Thankfully, writing spit me back out.

Writing taught me to take risks.

Writing gave me permission to dream.

Writing opened me up.

Writing gave me a voice.

Writing let me be me.

Writing made me a writer.

I’ve grown a lot over the last six years. (So have my two diaper-clad little boys, by the way!) I’m still fiercely protective of my work, but it’s time to shift my view. I’m ready step out from behind the comfort and safety of my computer screen and connect with, learn from, and be inspired by other writers. In person. Face to face. (Gulp.)

I’m excited, nervous, scared, and hopeful about this weekend, which is exactly how I felt when I published my very first blog post and how I know – regardless of how long it took me to get here – that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

#BlogU16, here I come! (Just as soon as I decide how many pair of shoes to pack. A Mama needs options!)

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Past, Present, Future: My Heart Beats (and Breaks) in All of Them

I’ve had a hard time lately writing about sensory processing disorder (SPD). It’s partly because my kids are getting older. Who am I to write about their challenges because it helps me feel better or aids other families going down a similar path? It’s not fair for me to make that choice for them. Even when I try in earnest to write about me – about my journey and my story as a mother of children with sensory differences – I inevitably expose my kids’ vulnerabilities in small (and sometimes big) ways. I knew the day would come when writing a “mommy blog” in any capacity would become tricky. I’ve found ways around it, and I dare say it’s made me a better writer, but it’s an ongoing struggle with any topic. With SPD, it’s nearly impossible.

But my recent writer’s block isn’t just about my kids and their privacy. It’s about my relationship with SPD. It’s never been a healthy one, because who the hell wants SPD in their lives, but recently it has become toxic. SPD demands so much, but it never gives anything in return. I’m angry at it. I’m exhausted from it. It makes me feel insecure and clumsy. It’s strips me of my confidence. It tricks me into thinking everything fine and then it pulls the rug out from under me. It’s not a good friend.

I think about SPD as resting on a time continuum. It has a past, a present, and a future. The past is relief. Its edges have softened. There are scars, but the bites sting less. The present is a panic attack. It’s screaming with my arms flapping instead of putting on a life jacket. It’s admitting that this too shall not pass. The future is the weight of an elephant on my chest. It’s dread. It’s admitting that the bittersweet realization that our babies do indeed grow up has nothing on the recognition that the challenges that plague them today will stay with them for a lifetime. I’m always standing in one place on the continuum, but my heart beats (and breaks) in all of them.

Not too long ago, I listened to an interview with Brené Brown on Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast while on a walk with my dog. The episode was about sharing personal stories. It was a lovely discussion between two creative women I admire greatly about owning personal stories and having the courage to share them with great care. About halfway through the podcast, Brown said something that stopped me in my tracks. She said the only personal stories she shared with the public were stories that she had “really processed.” She said her litmus test for sharing a personal story is if “my healing is not contingent on your opinion of those stories.”

Out of nowhere, I cried big, awkward, ugly tears. I sobbed uncontrollably while strangers walked and jogged passed me. It’s hard to describe the simultaneous confusion and clarity I felt in that moment except to say that I was uncomfortably aware that I hadn’t “really processed” anything and that my wounds – past, present, and future – were fresh. Her words broke me open, and I haven’t shared a personal story about SPD in writing since then.

SPD has been my greatest hurdle as a mother. It has shaped nearly every moment I’ve had with my children, and although I would never change a thing about my complicated, dynamic, and beautiful boys, I’d give anything for our journey to be less hard. I don’t regret any of the stories I’ve shared – in fact, I’m proud of them – but I’m suddenly painfully mindful of how fragile I have become (or have always been?).

I have a great desire to give my voice to this journey that doesn’t have nearly enough of them, but I also feel a great responsibility to offer my voice in a manner that values the writer and the reader (and the subjects) equally. I don’t know where I’m headed from here, but I feel a better, caring, healthy sense of ownership about this very personal story already.

 

SensoryBlogHopNew300

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!

Want to read more amazing posts in the January Sensory Blog Hop? Just click on this adorable little frog…

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Filed under motherhood, sensory processing disorder, writing

I’ve been syndicated!

Afternoon, Mamas!

I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend. I spent mine hanging pictures, painting a bedroom, and buying area rugs on which Gertie peed as soon as they were unrolled. Nothing says home like that new rug smell plus puppy pee!

It’s been almost three months since the moving truck pulled up to our new house, and I’m beginning to understand that like potty training, unpacking takes between three days and three years (under the best of circumstances). This realization has helped me CTFD about the boxes that are still stacked up in the dining room as well as the fact that I don’t have a dining room table. It’s also allowed me to get back to writing without obsessing about what’s inside all of those boxes (I have no clue, by the way). Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about the dining room table, or lack thereof. Here’s an excerpt from my latest bio:

“When Jennifer’s not writing, begging her boys to brush their teeth, or scrubbing dog pee from brand-effing-new area rugs, you can find her bookmarking dining room tables she can’t afford on websites like Wayfair and Joss & Main.”

I’m so excited to announce that my recent essay, Muscle Memory, has been syndicated on Sammiches and Psych Meds, a “community of candid and often humorous writers using the keyboard as a form of therapy for surviving the trials of parenthood, politics, teaching, marriage and relationships, and life in general.”

I’m really proud to be a part of this kick-ass group of bloggers, and I’m equally proud of this essay. It wasn’t easy to write as it exposed some pretty deep flaws in my parenting, but if I’ve learned anything on this journey – as a writer and mother – it’s that honesty, vulnerability, and failure move mountains. I couldn’t have begun the process of reigniting my motherhood spark unless I admitted I’d lost it in the first place.

Even if you read Muscle Memory here, please (OH PLEASE!) click through and check it out on Sammiches and Psych Meds because: (1) it’s a great read (just sayin’), (2) you might discover some other talented, funny, and thought-provoking writers while you’re there, (3) I’ll be compensated based on unique page views for a period of 30 days, and (4) I’ll be compensated based on unique page views for a period of 30 days!

Imagine this, my friends. Imagine me getting paid for doing what I love. Imagine me getting paid for doing what I love, and, as a result, affording a dining room table…preferably a round, pedestal, extension, distressed wood one that seats up to eight people. As long as we’re fantasizing here, imagine me (someday) affording eight chairs to go with it!

Here’s the link:

–> http://www.sammichespsychmeds.com/muscle-memory-reigniting-the-motherhood-spark/2/ <–

Thank you from the bottom of my (#shopaholicmama) heart for clicking through, reading and SHARING!

Talk soon,

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