How We’re Doing, Part 3: Me!


January 31, 2014 by Julia

Umm, it’s a little weird to openly write about oneself and how one’s self is doing (I mean, I do it all the time, but to start out a post with that as the subject, first and foremost, is like ASKING for a bout of self-conciousness.)


Also, the fact is, I’m doing pretty well. Isn’t that the most boring thing ever? I have no trouble writing about the rough times, the dark days, the challenges. It’s harder to draw upon happiness and turn it into an interesting conversation, though.

Reaction GIF: smile, Elijah Wood, The Lord of the Rings


Oh well. A boring blog post is a fair trade for happiness, I suppose.

Here’s where my head’s at these days:

If I begin to feel overwhelmed or discouraged, I use the mantra “Just do the next right thing,” as my motivation to keep moving through the work of life. It’s so simple, and yet it encompasses pretty much every situation. It works for me because I tend to over think, and then I get stuck in my head…while the house and kids quickly fall apart around me. (Amazing how fast that happens when you’re not on top of your game.) Sometimes I just need to use my inner moral compass, and then take action. Suddenly, I’m okay again.

IMG_6581 IMG_6582 IMG_6580

Most often, the right thing to do involves something I’ve been procrastinating about, or something I’m uncomfortable with. But sometimes the right thing is actually to let go of stuff, or be selfish in order to re-fuel myself. Sometimes it’s to choose art over practicality. Sometimes it’s just to clean up the kitchen even though you already did that four times today. Sometimes it’s to make the kids help clean up the kitchen even though you know it will take three times as long, and it will be like hitting your head against a wall, and it won’t actually be done to the same standard. But you don’t want them thinking you’re their full-time maid, right? So chores for them it is.

Reaction GIF: sad, grumpy, please, Michelle Tanner, Full House

Get back to work, weakling


I think “do the next right thing” has a lot to do with my current feeling of wellness. In sort of the same vein, I’m also interested in acts of kindness, whether they are random and directed at strangers, or done for loved ones. There is a lot of happy-making in there.

Also: I am also getting rid of stuff, and acquiring less stuff, and organizing our stuff, because the more squared away my environment it, the better I feel. And the less stuff we have, the less stressed out I am. It’s pretty straightforward.

I’m also aware of being in a good place in life. I like my life and the people in it. I look at my family and my heart overflows with gratitude and surprise. How did I end up with this?

IMG_6246 IMG_6186 IMG_6063IMG_7234 IMG_7267 (2)

Part of it is the current stages of our children. It’s been exciting and liberating for Fiona to start kindergarten this year, and Jack has fully left babyhood behind. Things are easier around here because of those two facts, and yet I don’t feel like they’re growing up too fast. (Well, maybe I do a little bit.) But Jack is still adorable in that toddler way, and Fiona is still sweet on her mom. We are nowhere near the teen years, which I know will be an entirely different challenge – we are just entering the “golden age” of childhood.


And I am loving it. I am loving the conversations Fiona and I have at night when I am snuggled up in her bed with her, and I am loving Jack’s cute speech patterns, and I am loving our family days on Saturdays, when we all hang out together.

You guys know how I hate to make everything all sunshine and flowers, and it certainly is not that all the time around here, but I have to admit: I am happy with my husband and children, and I am deeply in love with them, and we are safe and funny and average and delightful and that makes me a very, very lucky woman.


I am also feeling somewhat balanced these days. I know “balance” is a perfectionist, nearly impossible goal, and I don’t stress myself out trying to achieve it. There is never enough time to do everything I’d like to do. Such is the nature of life. But I am motivated to try to do as much of it as possible, and I am interested in what the world has to offer. When I am depressed, things lose their luster, and I lose my ability to move. But I haven’t felt that way in a long while, other than an exhausted day here or there.

I am inspired and intrigued by the people and things around me. I get to do the things that are most important to me: care for and enjoy my family, write, read, get crazy or lazy or honest with friends, travel for a weekend, drink wine, discover new music.

Reaction GIF: yes, nod, excited, Portlandia


IMG_5196 IMG_5286 IMG_5575

Our little chef on Christmas morning



A typical evening of writing for me


Do you hate me yet? I’m feeling very hate-able. Let me fill you in on my current struggles.

I still feel insecure about my appearance, and wish I could just lose ten or twenty pounds, but then I think the only way to do that is by dieting, and I’m kind of morally opposed to that these days, unless we’re talking serious obesity-related health issues. So I go back and forth on the “dieting as kindness towards oneself/caring for oneself” vs. “actual self-acceptance as kindness towards oneself” debate, and the self-acceptance keeps striking me as the right choice, but the debate never goes away.

One of the latest unflattering photos

One of the latest unflattering photos

I suppose I just don’t want to wake up a hundred pounds overweight one day. But really, that’s not going to happen. It’s not like my eating is out of control. I just eat when I’m hungry, and I sometimes eat for fun. I don’t want to hear about sugar addiction or gluten-free or health fads. I just want to basically try to eat healthy-ish without deprivation or obsession, and leave room for some “fun” foods like ice cream. That’s it!

Reaction GIF: contemplating, waiting, John Travolta, Pulp Fiction


In other struggles…Jack doesn’t always nap these days, and that is rough. Any stay-at-home parent will tell you naps are his or her lifeblood. Now, I’m not ready to declare Jack “done with naps” until he’s at least three, because sorry – two-year-olds need naps whether they think so or not. And it’s going to take more than an “off” week to convince me otherwise. But if I leave him in his crib for 45 mins and he’s still fully awake, screaming “MOMMY!!!!” as I’m trying to finish my twenty minutes of yoga, I don’t really feel okay about keeping him in there any longer. And then by the time Fiona’s home from school and it’s time to make dinner and chaos has been intruding on my personal space all day (because of no nap), I’m…yeah. Struggling a lot more than I would be if naps were a daily given.

Reaction GIF: angry, grumpy, Amy Poehler, Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation



Reaction GIF: no, scream, crying, Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker, Star Wars

The realization that your child will not nap on this day


Reaction GIF: despair, Ally Sheedy, Breakfast Club

Pull it together, mom.


And it’s cold as fuck in America and I’m sick of it and the constant bundling and un-bundling of small obstinate children.

1796516_10151925952180735_492765072_n IMG_8338

And I’m tired of scheduling stuff and half the time I don’t even want to go out, but FRIENDS I LOVE YOU, and also IF I STAY COOPED UP IN THIS HOUSE I WILL GO INSANE, so let’s text back and forth on my craptastic phone a million times trying to coordinate a play date or a girls’ night out or a movie. Once I’m out, it’s all good, it’s just the scheduling for an entire family, you know?

Reaction GIF: scream, angry, fuck this shit, Ewan McGregor


Reaction GIF: tired, Michael Cera, George-Michael Bluth, Arrested Development


So I turn 35 next week. You know how really young people complain at their birthdays that they’re getting old? I’m not going to do that, because I am no longer really young. I guess 35 is sort of young, but I am officially past the age where if I published a novel or did something else brilliant my age would be part of the press release. No “young novelist” or “prodigy” status for me. At this point I would only be considered young if I became the president of the United States.

And I suppose I’m okay with that, because of this gosh darn happiness that just washes up on my shores almost every day.

2144997994_07ec2a2554_o 2145000526_88d7e43683_o 2144204887_1a4eca6df7_o 2142911582_890bc32457_o

2142131343_bb71602167_o 2142922060_eb934a7137_o2141925545_503a462b24_o 3543770129_188af4572c_o 3544500634_503714c62c_o 3544502700_57b3150d32_o 3544506068_478c2de7d6_o 3904133070_b75eb55d1f_o3544561106_a12225509b_o 5822494579_b61ff2ab6b_o 7989614487_8fd8b5f08f_o 7989625238_7ff60e980e_o 7989682246_7dfdcc4757_o 7990277266_8f50f55d45_o 8520482907_9fed298b7c_o 8520488161_3474b4e172_o 8521566564_cae5820dde_o 8521577094_3d5d137d30_o 8521598612_c5191fa79a_o 8521602884_483401b8cc_o 8521570948_ba1dea2242_o 7989679530_e352734406_o


4 thoughts on “How We’re Doing, Part 3: Me!

  1. Amanda Wilder says:

    Yup I hate you. JUST KIDDING I love you and your whole cute family. I want one! I also use that mantra sometimes it is helpful… I know read it or heard it somewhere, but now I can’t remember where.

    • Julia says:

      I love you, too, Cuz!!! And you will have one!
      And us thinkers need something to get us moving, sometimes – that mantra is quite helpful. I’ve seen it lots of places, like Momastery and maybe Anne Lamott.

  2. just love this. yay YOU!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 531 other followers



--- A Return to Art Criticism ---

Radical Discipleship

A Joint Project of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Word & World

Read Diverse Books

Let's Read The World


A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Angela Barnett

Writer. Wig Wearer. Shame Buster.

Things We Like

a project by jessica gross

LaMonte M. Fowler

an indie author writing to stay sane

Kelsey L. Munger

writer & writing coach

Social Justice | Pop Culture | Black Girl Magic

One Awkward Year

wow, this is awkward . . .

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

Joy, Lovely Joy

Writing through mothering

Fucking Awesome Bulimics I Know

Kicking that pimp called Shame in the shins.

An Honest Mom

From the hip on mindfulness, parenting, feminism and homesteading.


small shares from Pronoia Coaching

James Gillingham - Long Arm Films

Thinking thoughts and making films

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

Laura Parrott Perry

We've all got a story to tell.

Ginger's Grocery

Come on in and browse. The biscuits were made fresh this morning, the Slush Puppie machine was just refilled with a new bottle of red syrup, and we have the biggest selection of bait this close to town.


some of us are brave

Music for Deckchairs

"In shadowy, silent distance grew the iceberg too": universities, technology, work and life

my name is elizabeth

stories about race, culture, and identity

Priss & Vinegar

Lawyer by trade. Writer at heart. Housewife by accident.

Angela Tucker

Blogger / Speaker / Educator

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Song of the Lark

Music, melodies, mutterings

Adventures of a Teacher Nerdfighter

Building a fifth grade classroom community around enthusiasm, creativity, and awesome.

Michelle Murnin Paulson

Evidential Spiritual Medium & Blogger

Olivia A. Cole

Author. Blogger. Bigmouth.

%d bloggers like this: