Ugh! Why didn’t I get anything done today? Oh yeah, I was debating abortion on the internet.
I have long dealt with guilt over A. wasting time on-line when I should be doing house-wifey tasks, and B. not having ‘enough God’ in my daily life. I recently came to the realization that I need to be easier on myself about both, via the following conversation (with myself) after spending more than an hour discussing this abortion post on Facebook.
Me: I cannot believe it is already 10:30 and I haven’t done any sewing or gotten started on the filing I have been planning to do for a week. Facebook debates are such a black hole when it comes to wasting time. I have got to quit getting myself into those!
Me: Wait a minute! Are you telling me it is a ‘waste of time’ to attempt to change the minds of those who believe abortion is okay? Unborn babies aren’t worth your time?
Me: Hmmm. Of course, they are! If I change the mind of just one person throughout my whole life and simply get more people to understand the pro-life position, it is worth it to me. And to God, I think.
Me: Maybe this is God’s work for you.
Me: Yeah, the fluffy, spiritual stuff, no matter how much I try, isn’t really my thing. Maybe this is my thing!
Me: So maybe it is actually a GOOD use of your time, and you need to quit feeling so guilty about it.
(And yes, I switch pronouns while having discussions with myself. I just now realized it while writing this. It’s bizarre.)
If you are rolling your eyes thinking I have simply come up with an asinine justification for doing what I want and feeling good about it, rather than what I should be doing, let me explain further.
A good Christian mom gets up before her children for daily devotionals and reads scripture at the breakfast table, right? I, on the other hand, curse at the clock under my breath and yell at my kids too much. I do not comprehend how those sweet, lovely ladies get their children to move. Someday when I die; it best be after 8 am because I have concerns about my status as a Christian before that time each morning. Then I epicly fail at the epitome of good Christian mothering again at dinner time, when we should all be joining hands in prayer, but instead I feel like a zookeeper trying to get all the animals fed. Except that in our zoo, all the various animals are together in one cage, which complicates things. And there’s homework; those lucky zookeepers don’t have to worry about getting a sloth to do homework while be attacked by a monkey like I do.
All of that causes the guilt about not having ‘enough God’ in my daily life, but that conversation with myself helped me realize He is in it for much more than I give myself credit. It just isn’t in the typical way that society views ‘Christian living.’ It is more cerebral, rather than spiritual. I have a thinking analytical personality, so I approach my faith in the same way. I think, I discuss, I learn, and I teach.
Right in the middle of writing this piece, the saint I taught about in religious education class, just so happened to be Saint Thomas Aquinas. (Luckily, I do have enough spirituality to appreciate this ‘Wow, how awesomely fateful was that?’ moment.) Saint Thomas Aquinas' journey to sainthood was vastly different from the unceasing prayer and unwavering faith of most saints. He was a groundbreaking theologian, a scholar, and writer. Hopefully this means that the 'good Christian mother' title doesn't have to fit in a neat little box, either.
While our family may not pray together every day as we should, we discuss how to handle situations in my kids’ daily lives in a Christian-like manner frequently. I raise them to be Christians in that way. And I profess my faith to others through persuasive arguments. To me, reading that someone ‘has never thought about it like that before’ is eye candy. While others, are here to open hearts, I like to think I am here to open minds.
I will surely still get that guilt twinge the next time my fellow mommy-groupers are discussing their new favorite devotional. Then I will kick it aside and remember this: God made us different. Why would we all have the same script to follow when it comes to our personal expression of faith?
I don’t know. I’m not a theologian, but it’s just a thought to mull over.
One of the most difficult things about having a large family is affording fun. A trip to the water park or seeing a movie becomes a major expense. And a real actual week-long vacation? Not gonna happen. I make myself feel better about our entertainment budget by using Groupon deals. I like to add up all the money I save and it makes the shock of how much I spend a little less gut-wrenching.
A couple years ago I found deal on a mountain condo that cost us less for two nights than a regular hotel costs us for TWO! It was an awesome place. I always check Groupon getaways first when we are going anywhere now. Groupon was one of the first affiliates I sought out because I like to promote only things I know I truly like, so I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase through these affiliate links below.
I also search through the local 'things to do' section of Groupon whenever we go somewhere. It is important to check out the location of the deals you see because they will show you some that might be a little further from your location than you might like, but sometimes they are worth the drive. We have saved tons of money on everything from movie tickets and mini golf to water parks and racing go carts. We don't have anything in our home location to do from Groupon, but for people living in a major metro area, you could get a great deal for a quick family fun night too.
So, you know someone in real life that has a blog. Or maybe you've run across a random little blog by someone you do not know that you have just fallen in love with and want to see continue. You probably try to pay attention to posts from them that randomly come through your Facebook feed. Maybe you read it and wonder how that does anything for the blogger. Let me solve the mystery of your blogger friend.
1. Just Knowing People are Visiting is Good
Bloggers can check to see how many people are visiting their site. Sometimes it can become a bit of an obsession to see if more people are visiting, not speaking from experience or anything. Even if you have absolutely no interest in reading, throw us a bone, click the link, and click back to your FB tab while you 'pretend' to read. Ignorance is bliss.
2. Comments are Great
Have you ever thought to yourself, "I really like this one," after reading a post? Let the blogger know! Most of the comments on blogs come from exchanging comments with other bloggers, so getting one for 'free' is always nice and means a lot more. It is easy to start thinking that everything you write is crappy and that everyone is rolling their eyes thinking you need to find a new hobby, so one quick 'atta boy can go a long way. I guess everyone has to be self-conscious about something and since I am over being self-conscious about my parenting, I have moved on to my writing.
3. Facebook Interaction is Better
Facebook uses algorithms to decide what to show you in your news feed. A blogger's page is different from a personal page. They only show posts to more people if the first few who see it seem to think it is worth showing to more people. This is good in a way. They can filter out crap that no one wants to see, which helps anyone who is posting quality content, and it can help the page owner see what people like. But here is the catch, pages with lots of followers are at a major advantage. For one, they can afford to pay Facebook to show you their posts and get you to like their page. Most bloggers cannot. Just 'liking' your friend's FB blog page does not mean you will see all of their posts. However, you can make sure that you do. You can visit the page and set it to 'see first' by hovering over the 'liked' button. This way anytime they have a new post it will pop up in your feed at the top. If the post is stupid, scroll right on past it, but go ahead and click that 'like' button if you really do like it; that tells FB and the blogger that this is good content people want to see.
Many of the big websites use content written by small bloggers and pay them only in 'exposure'. The Huffington Post is one of them. This is a VERY liberal company and liberals are nice and want to help people and pay them what they are worth and all that, right? Well, much of what you read on Huffington Post is written by someone who was paid exactly 0 dollars to write it. But if you are a liberal, go right on believing that it is those nasty Republicans who are the only ones all about corporate greed. If you think that if awful, take the time to seek out a few small bloggers you like and follow them instead. It is the media consumption equivalent to shopping small, locally-owned businesses instead of the corporate giants like Wal-Mart.
Just in case you think I am awesome and want to see all my posts, click this link to my FB page. I only post once or twice a day, so you will never see ten in a row from me before you get to other stuff.
4. Making Some Money is the Best
You do not start a blog to become rich overnight unless you are delusional. It takes a very long time to gain followers and even then, a very small percentage of bloggers ever make a living from it, especially now that more and more people are flooding the internet with content.
Bloggers earn money from people clicking advertisements, shopping through affiliate links, selling their own products, and writing posts sponsored by brands. The advertisements with the little blue triangle in the corner are Google Adsense ads and the blogger earns a few cents by someone simply clicking on it. I used to refuse to click ads even if I was interested in it because I found them annoying, but now if something catches my eye and I am visiting a smallish site, I click. I still avoid clicking ads directly from FB or on big sites as much as possible.
With affiliate link ads, you must purchase something for the blogger to receive a payment. However, it doesn't have to be right away, except for with Amazon's 24-hour window. If you see an ad for a site you already shop from occasionally, you can click the ad whenever and a cookie will be stored on your computer for 30-90 days that tells the site you visited from that blogger's page and they will be paid when you do order. Basically, you can help someone earn some money by spending the same amount of money you would have spent anyway.
I am just getting into selling my own products from my site so I would love a visit to my store when I get more products in there! Try to keep cool handmade products made by bloggers on your mind when shopping for gifts, even though it can be easier to just jump on Amazon most of the time. You know, like with this ad at the bottom, (wink, wink). I love my Amazon Prime as much as the next guy; holler hypocrite if you like.
I do not write sponsored posts because I find them icky. I don't want to cheapen my opinion of stuff I truly do love by flooding my blog with a bunch of forced b.s. about things I got paid to write about.
Just in case I am a blogger you love and want to support, below and on the right are a few of my favorite things for you to check out. The right middle one is Adsense, which will show up differently for everyone, and the others are all affiliate links for which I may be compensated at no extra cost to you.
I am thrilled to be guest posting over at Unremarkable Files today to help out my blogger friend Jenny who recently had her 6th baby. In honor of growing her family, I decided to write about how much being a mom changes after you get into 'big family' territory and the monotony that follows.
Since completing the post, I have realized I missed a huge reason I am different and feel the need to acknowledge it. (It was one of her FB posts that made me realize it.) The BIG kids! During the late pregnancies and early babyhoods of my last three kids, I had older ones making cereal for the toddler, rocking the baby while I made dinner or slept in awhile, ensuring the toddler sat watching cartoons instead of hanging from the ceiling fan while I napped, bathing younger kids, and the list could go on and on! It was still tiring to have a new baby, but not that soul-sucking, maybe I should just die now kind of tired.
For the rest of the list, hop on over to Unremarkable Files!
#3 Random Day of the Week Post Mini-Post Helping Other Moms Feel They Have It Together Better Than This Mom
This note was left on my kitchen counter awhile back. At the time, I could not come up with the right thing to say about it on the blog, but since it pertained to one of my least favorite, but somehow most talked about subjects, I snapped a picture anyway.
I scrolled through the pictures on my phone today to print some for my son's student of the week board I am trying to pull together after missing his week back in October and waiting until all the other kids had their turn. Don't judge, I have put up 10 of these on time in my life, so I am pretty impressed with myself. But I digress, I saw this picture and my first thought was, "This sure was a very polite note considering the pee smell got there via a different child than the note writer. I can't believe I didn't get a request to buy a new bed set over this. AND she spelled 'comforter' correctly. Awesome!" Maybe since the memory of cleaning the pee has faded, I have an extra positive outlook on life, but since I currently have poopy undies soaking in the sink, I do not think that's it!
Today's Moral: Even if you have to sniff for pee today, there's always a bright side. Find it!
I am the mother of seven children ranging from teens to a baby, living out in the middle of nowhere, USA. I aim to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out. I am Christian, but not the really nice kind that is good at it. I am also conservative, but I promise not to be in your face with political agendas very often. I like to infuse humor into my writing, so don't freak out if you are offended or appalled by what you read here. There is a very fine line between serious advice and sarcastic hyperbole.