Why Blog?


The first thing I was warned about when I signed with an agent was not to let my blog go dead.

“Oh, I won’t,” I said.

Famous last words.

I suppose you could blame being in the throws of book revision. I suppose you could blame children. Or paid work, blame the paid work, especially.

Because I don’t get paid for this blog right here. I used to earn money with ads and some sponsored posts. But I quit that when I realized that it compromised what I wanted to say. I felt bad getting things in the mail and having to tell the PR people that I couldn’t review them because never in a million years would I buy my children $4/pouch yogurt, or $50 T-shirts for babies (who will crap on them!) because we aren’t freaking Beyonce over here. And neither are you and what the hell? How can I write a post that’s all, “My life is great now that my baby wears clothes worth more than my life!”?

One day, I got so frustrated, I just took the ads down. I  let PR people know that I was out of the game, unless they were Coke-a-Cola, or Cheetos (which will never happen, but not because I don’t consume enough of their products, amirite?), I’m done with WRITING A BLOG FOR PROFIT (and I have been for over a year now). And I like that.

There have been a lot of bloggers quitting this year. Big bloggers. Bloggers who made the genre. They are done. They blame the caustic comments and the heavy pressure of putting their lives on display. In the game of click-throughs its easy to lose. Because we all know the formula something racy+list+mom judgement=click gold. Better yet if you can make a passive-aggressively condescending letter out of it. “Dear bitchmom I hate but I’m going to pretend not to hate because I’m a bigger person” is my favorite genre of post. Right next to, “Dear woman I observed doing something normal but inspired me to live more freely and better than you.”

So many blogs and blog style sites I love have fallen victim to and gotten lost in these tropes. Or even lost themselves to a kind of self-parody. Like style aping style. It’s like how my imitation of my mom is more my mom than my actual mom. I’m trying to avoid that.

I have half a mind to start my own mom site, something that is more than “Good Family Meals That Cost A Million Dollars And Have Kale Because It’s On Trend!” And product round ups and baby name round ups with a dash of, “ENJOY EVERY MOMENT BECAUSE ONE DAY YOUR KIDS WILL LEAVE AND YOU’LL HAVE TO ACTUALLY LOOK AT YOUR HUSBAND OMG SAVE US!” Something that is funny and complicated that speaks to the experience of motherhood without being drowned in it. Something that allows women to be who they are as mothers but also the other manifestations of themselves–ghost hunters, witch lovers, historians and whiskey drinkers. But I don’t have the money. That’s really the only thing stopping me.

Plus Dave tells me the internet will end one day after China blows it up.

I have this idea that one day in the far future, I’ll be visited in the old folks home by my great-grandchildren and I’ll be all, “Did granny ever tell you what and internet is?” And they’ll put down their post-apocalyptic hatchets and bonnets and sit still while I tell them of that one time on the Huffington Post when I went viral.

They probably won’t care. And it won’t happen (because they won’t visit, I know them). Nothing is over. Life happens in cycles. It’s boom it’s bust. But people who love writing, who can’t stop writing will always write. Blogging is a genre now, no more, no less. It has its absurdities and its purities. I love it for what it is, a place for me to place things that I cannot place elsewhere. It’s the sum of thoughts and jokes and moments that I want to share.

Last year, I bought two journals to write down memories for my children. The things I won’t share here. Things that might be embarrassing or too intimate to reveal. Or at least, too intimate for me to make that decision to reveal. I’ve been filling them up. I love them. That too is a different genre and a different mindset.

I’ve always said as my children grow older and their stories grow separate from me that I will have to find new ways to talk about them and me, ways that walk a line of respect and love, but also honor the intricacies of our lies. I’m not sure how to find this place. So, I find myself in a time of listening, to my children, to other writers, to ideas and thoughts and voices. And I think of what I want to say here. What do you want to hear here. And I almost feel flummoxed by possibility.

But maybe I hit on it before. Maybe that’s just what I do, keep writing things here that honor motherhood and all the other iterations of self–ghost hunters, witch lovers, historians and whiskey drinkers.

One time, after something I wrote got a lot of attention, someone asked me why I wrote it on my blog. “Because,” I said, “it’s the place I say things that no one will pay me to say.” She was confused and I realized that she wanted me to say that I was inspired by something or another. But I wasn’t really. I had just been wanting to say it for a long time and I kept pitching the essay but no one bought it, so I pooped it out on this blog. Voila.

But I keep going back to that thing I said to her. This is the place I say the things I really want to.

I’ve tried to quit blogging before. Once when I was 20 and my blog had become a little too big for me to handle. I was getting creepy emails and comments that I couldn’t handle at the time, so I shut it down.

I started again a few years later, when I was unemployed and bored. I kept it anonymous because I thought that’s what truly serious people did–they hid themselves. But I gave up that ruse because it was unnecessary cloak and dagger. Say what you need to say, don’t hide it.

Then, I came here. I think I’ll stay here. Even if it takes fits and starts. Even if I pause now and again to do work that actually pays, because, again, I’m not Beyonce, I need the money.

But here, you aren’t money, you aren’t clicks, here we are all just people, eating Cheetos, talking about life in a place where no one pays us to say it.

This Is A Self-Indulgent Post Full of Links and Brags: Do Not Click

I really hate curtain lifting posts. They seem so meta and self-indulgent. Like you just come here for the stories, so who cares how many emails I get asking me to shill $50 onesies or $6/a pouch organic yogurts, right? Sometimes I write back, “That is expensive, babies poop on that!” Mostly I just delete them. This is why my blog will never make it

But of course, this is a curtain lifting post. Do you like how I did that?

A lot of you know I finished a memoir manuscript last summer. I worked on it in my stolen moments between nap times and pool times and 2-5am, because the baby was still waking up at 2am last summer. And now, this happened:


!!! HOORAY!!!

Don’t worry. I’m not turning this into a writing blog. I always give terrible advice anyway. Sometimes people email me asking for writing advice. (Note: this doesn’t happen often.) I think maybe sometimes people think I might have insider information. But I really don’t. So, I always write super long email responses with tips on querying and pitching and lots of “hang in there” “you got this!” cat poster kind of stuff. And I never hear back. I imagine that most people, upon receiving my advice, delete it and just decide that buying a motivational calendar would have been a better use of resources. And to that I say, probably.

Or just go buy Dear Sugar.

Anyway. As I understand it, the work has just begun.

So, now, so I feel like I’m giving you something. Here are some links and just because I just finished a brag. I’ll give you links to other people’s stuff.

And yeah, okay fine. Here is some of my own stuff too. One time someone told me that all my self-promotion made them feel more bold about their own self-promotion. So that was a thing that happened.

Cut! Cut! Cut!

As we were leaving a friend’s house the other night, JQ walked up to me and handled me a long metal pin. “Oh man!” He said and walked away.

It was the pin for the door hinge.

JQ is only 19 months old.

Send help. Send the National Guard. Dear Lord, save me. I am going to die.

This is of course in conjunction with all his other activities, like two months ago when he ripped a door off the cabinet. Or just a week ago, when he scooted a chair over to the counter, climbed on it, climbed onto the counter, grabbed a knife from the magnet strip, and started stabbing his snack cup yelling, “CUT! CUT! CUT!”

But on the bright side, he’s turning into a great talker. He knows how to say all the important words like, “Sweet roll,” “candy” and “time out.” He’s also recently started trying to potty train himself.

After potty training E, I decided I would never potty train another child again. They could wear diapers until someone made them ashamed in first grade, I don’t care. But E told her brother that if he peed on the potty he could get candy. So, he started running around yelling, “Poddy! Candy!” I completely ignored him for the first week.

Then, like a chump, I said, “Fine, you want candy, sit on the potty and pee.” Then, I put him down on the Elmo potty seat. He stared at me with a look that was more of a glare. It’s this look he get’s when he’s about to run away or stab a snack cup with a knife. A look that says, “Listen up, you are going to freak the hell out in about two seconds, so gird your loins!”

He looked at me and peed. Then, held out his hands and said, “CANDY!”

Ever since then, he will come up to me and say, “Poddy! Candy!” I put him on the potty and he pees. He did this 5x in one day once. More often it’s just once a day in the morning while we are trying to get out the door. I don’t think this is potty training. I think this is using urine as an act of aggression.

The other night, Dave and I lay in bed and he said, “That baby is going to be a handful. He’s too smart.”

I snorted. “Going to be?” Then, I laughed so hard I started to cry.


It has been quite on this blog because I have been working a lot on some different writing projects, which I hope will go live soon. I know I don’t always do the best job of keeping people informed of where I’ve been writing, so I made a page here to keep better track of my clips and also, I do my best to spam the hell out of people who are my Facebook fans. Sometimes I regret having that page, but one of those marketing people who follow me on twitter told me, IT’S ALL ABOUT BRAND! Right before I blocked them.

Some links:

I wrote about Sulfates and Triclosan for Jane Marie’s beauty site, The Milli, which is awesome, you should read it.

I also wrote about evil mothers for Jezebel.

And why I’m afraid of people calling CPS on me.

Also, advice for what you should do when your baby threatens you with a knife.


Don’t Be Fooled, This Is Not A Real Blog Post

You know when comic actors try out indie roles so people take them seriously? I feel like that is where I am right now. These past few weeks, I’ve been working on some very research heavy articles that I hope see the light of day (honestly, you can never be sure).

I’m really excited about the opportunities. But it’s also meant that I’ve spent every possible moment on work. Which means that E has taken to washing the windows with tissues as a fun game she likes to play called, “Mommy is neglecting the housekeeping and me.”

And I just changed a diaper from JQ that had an obscene amount of glitter in it, but I honestly don’t even care where it came from because he is happy and hasn’t tried to stab anyone in at least 20 minutes.

Also, we’ve all been sick and every night I soothe my guilty conscience with a serving of Nyquil and denial. “I’m fine. We can do this. My kids are okay.”

I also tried to do a week of no TV, because I hate myself. But that all went out the window on Thursday, when I had an interview for an article and everyone was sick. So, it was just like, please watch the “Octonauts” and don’t scream while mommy is a professional.

And then Dave came home and was like, “Have you heard about Yemen?” And I was like, “Have you heard about me not taking a shower in five days?!” And then, I became a stereotype.

I know. Whine. Whine. Whine. We all have kids (maybe, if not, you do you, no pressure). We all make choices, this is where our choices bring us. And that is right. It’s just that lately, my choices seem to bring me to the end of the night mainlining cake and Nyquil.

Also, Dave thinks “selfies” are pictures that other people take of you.  When he asked me if I wanted him to take a selfie on our date night, I was like, “Yes, I want to see you take a selfie.” Then he took a picture of me and I was all, “SON, DO YOU EVEN MILLENIAL!?” It’s clear Dave has been born in the wrong time. He also wants me to tell you to get off his lawn.

Also, my dear, dear neighbors are moving and I think I might be an emotional mess about this. BECAUSE IT’S ALL ABOUT ME.


So in lieu of any intelligent thing being said on this site, I give you links to other things I’ve written lately that you may like.


Here are a couple of my Mom.me posts: 5 Things I Didn’t Expect About Having Two Kids–Like enjoying their mutual pain and tandem time outs. Ranting about maternity leave v. paternity leave

And I have a kind of semi-regular thing on Jezebel, which I’m acting all casual about, but really I’ve pooped myself maybe five times. So here is a second installment about the lady who gave birth to 365 babies at once.

Also, the inestimable Jane Marie launched a new beauty site called Millihelen. I may be writing a kind of sciencey feature for her over there. Unless it gets cut, then forget I said anything. But the site launches Monday, so look forward to that.

I did not write this. But it’s a great look at the childcare problem in the US, which is relevant to all people with children or not.

Women and body hair. So fascinating.

Things to Help You Avoid Your Holiday To-Do List



So, Kid President made this graphic of my words and it might be the best Christmas present for a full-blown narcissist like myself. It comes from something that I said in an interview with CNN’s Kelly Wallace and can be read here. But it’s pretty much cribbed from something GK Chesterton wrote that I have always believed. “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Anyway.  Christmas is quickly approaching and we are driving to Denver to see my family. A trip that might kill us. So, we will see how much I even update this blog.  I hope you all get to spend some time offline listening to your children whine for more cookies, which is what the baby Jesus wanted when he was born this week on Hanukkah and fought the Maccabees with his fists of fire.

Here are some links:

Merry Holidays! Thanks everyone for being so nice to me this week and for reading this dumb site and reading the things I write. I really appreciate it so very much. It means the world to know that the thing you love means something to someone else. Or is at least good for a hate read or two.

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