Today I turn 36 years old and I am welcoming my new year with a fresh outlook. As my kids are getting older and I share their stories less and less, Lil-Kid-Things doesn’t seem like the best fit for what I want to say. It feels like a limiting category rather than telling my whole story.
Yes, I’ll still share moments of my life as a parent, but they will be alongside other interests like social justice, fitness, travel, silly stories or movie reviews. I’ve felt for some time that I am a lifestyle blogger in a mom blogger’s clothing that didn’t fit. It’s finally time to get comfortable and I couldn’t be more excited!
Why just is a joy stealer
I’m on a crusade against negatively “justing” myself. To be clear, I am not referring to justice, which I truly believe in. But when I was chatting with a woman at a conference trying to describe my blogging goals, I told her I wanted to live my life online in such a way that didn’t create competition but instead offered encouragement to women. I said, “I never want anyone to feel like they aren’t enough or that being “just a mom” or “just working” was somehow cheating at life.” And that, “really, just is a four letter word!” It was then that I knew I had my blog name.
Aside from the obvious 4 letters that make up the word just, I’ve found “justing” to be one of the biggest hurdles in my adult life. I’ve said it all. I’m just a stay-at-home mom. I just work part-time. I just walked when someone else did zumba. I just used a mix instead of making brownies from scratch. I just. I just. I just.
It seems harmless at first, almost humble in a way. Maybe I am uncomfortable with praise so I try to take away some of the credit and point it to the shortcut I took. Maybe I don’t know what to say so I fill in the blank to keep an awkward silence from creeping in. But over time, I’ve found the insidious nature of this “justing” led to my actual belief that no matter what I did, it was never my best. I should just try harder.
Stop downplaying what makes you awesome
I’ll never forget being on a telephone interview last fall excitedly sharing the fact that I was about to run my very first half-marathon. Not seconds after I was congratulated, I completely panicked and began to downplay my accomplishment saying, “Well it’s just a half-marathon. You should hear about the marathoner in my family who not only runs international marathons but also raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity!” And just like that, I forgot what made me awesome.
What has become abundantly clear is neither of these accomplishments invalidate the other. There is room for all of the awesome! The world needs more good things. There is no “just” anything. Each is valuable and praiseworthy completely independent of the other. So after many months and deliberating, I decided to refocus the space I inhabit on the internet as a reminder that just is a four letter word and a nasty joy stealer. I am not playing the game anymore.
What makes me awesome
I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a friend. I am an Author. I know how to change a flat tire. I bake from scratch. More often a box mix does just fine. I love to cook. I love to eat in restaurants. I love decorating my house. I love doing crafts. Sometimes I don’t care. Sometimes I care too much. I get fired up about politics one day and can only manage to watch HGTV another. I laugh. I cry. I exercise. I eat too much. I want to sleep more. I want to relax more. I excite easily. I need to travel. I am perpetually planning a Disney vacation. I love lamp.
In the almost 11 years I have been writing, I have grown and changed in some ways and stayed the same in others. I have seen the internet explode with amazing support and equally awful criticism. I am taking a stand for the good stuff here. I’m excited to turn the page and have a fresh start as I turn 36. This new blog focus is a gift to myself and hopefully to those around me who need to hear these words as much as I do.
The only thing I can’t do is give you cake. If I could figure that out, I would make it from the best $2 mix I could get my hands on. And that is a promise I can keep.