Working From Home


A few days ago I made breakfast, changed diapers, cleaned and re-cleaned the kitchen, folded a load of laundry, put the baby down for a nap, made phone calls, answered emails, wrote out a grocery list, and all before noon. I never realized the amount of work it takes to be a stay-at-home parent especially one that works from home.

I’ve mentioned before that I am a freelancer. Most often I edit resumes for working professionals who are hoping to gain new or better employment. I also do editing for articles, blogs, and academic papers. I also write articles here and there. I follow a ton of creative freelance job boards, but I hesitate to apply to some of the full-time opportunities to work at home because it takes away from my flexibility as the stay-at-home caregiver.

Does anyone else feel that it’s hard to find a work-life-responsibilities-balance?  I want to stay home with my kids, take them to the park, plan fun activities with them while they are young and not in school full-time. I have been blessed to be able to stay at home for three years with Sophia and now Max too. Most often this leaves me wanting to ignore chores, meal planning and preparing, and “adult” stuff. I manage it all okay though. I put on my Responsible Adult with Great Organizing Skills hat and get it done with the help of my husband, Richie. My husband works his ass off to provide a secure, stable home for all of us. He also makes time to spend with our children playing and laughing. I know he struggles with also finding time for his “passions” that are beyond just “work”…

I guess my struggle now is putting more effort into my “work” portion. Writing/Editing/Creating is not just a money making effort to me. I love my freelance opportunities. I am happy to work, to edit, to write, and to share my passion with others. Somehow, it is this portion of my life that I put on the back burner. Working in Marketing taught me that you have to put in effort to gain success. There were promotions to be done, social media accounts to update,  and contacts to network with in order to get your business out there. Why don’t I work hard to promote my services, write my articles/blog, and perfect my craft? I’m not sure. It’s easy to pour your heart into being a parent and a “responsible” adult. Is it enough though?

It’s funny that I came across an article on Romper that was titled “I Work From Home, & Honestly, I Work Harder than Other Working Moms”. Now, first off I know that the title is supposed to be attention-grabbing, but it was slightly off-putting to me. In my personal experience, I don’t have it “harder” than other working moms because I don’t have to leave my house. One thing I can agree with in this article is that it is HARD to work from home with tiny people running around at your feet. But,  maybe that is just my excuse. Anything worth doing is hard, so why put it off? I guess I’m looking for accountability and support from my online community here.

I appreciate all of your comments, your likes, your follows, and your shares. Makes me believe that my writing is important too.

Under Construction


Hello All,

It’s been a while, but growing a baby human can be quite exhausting at times. On an exciting front there’s only about 5 weeks left until Baby T makes his way earthside. I know that once he is born things will be even more wonderfully hectic. Between preparing for the baby and house hunting for our new forever home I haven’t been online very much.

Hopefully, there is some more exciting news in the works on the house front, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself yet. Stay tuned!

As many of you know I am in the process of writing my memoir of the adventures Richie and I have shared focusing on a lot of our time in Japan. I’m considering switching gears slightly and focusing a bit more on how anxiety has affected our journey.

I am also in the process of constructing my own website and online portfolio. A friend reached out to me requesting some editing help recently. I realized I don’t have any kind of portfolio or list of services for my freelance work. (I can do anything from ghost writing assistance to editing to constructing professional resumes if anyone is looking for some help).

I’m hoping this blog will be a main focus once I finish my new website so don’t go anywhere! I appreciate all the love and encouragement everyone always gives here and thanks for sticking with me.

Aly

 

 

The Missing Piece


When I was in school, rather when I was taking class for my MA I was always writing. I wrote short stories, I wrote blogs, I wrote marketing plans, I wrote essays…it was part of the job I guess. Studying to be a better writer forced me to actually be a writer. Imagine that?

In the six months since I graduated I haven’t done very much writing. Why? I have been chasing a very active and independent little girl around. This isn’t an excuse…just a fact. I don’t usually sit down in front of the computer because there are lots of other things to do (like trying to get ready to leave the house). This morning is a surprise. I didn’t sleep well last night. I was exhausted by 9 p.m. We crawled into bed and all fell asleep fairly quickly. Then, starting at midnight I was just awake on and off. Finally, at 6 a.m. I just decided to get up. I snuck out of bed (somehow a little girl had climbed into my bed and was stealing all my pillows) without waking anyone up. Now, I’m here. Even though it’s early and even though I will probably regret not sleeping more later I’m glad to be writing.

No matter which way I spin it, I miss writing. I miss pouring out my thoughts onto paper and turning my jumbled mess of a mind into clear, articulate words. It’s the missing piece in my life. I need to try harder (Don’t we all?). I need to make time for myself, for my writing. It’s just so easy to put it all on the back burner. Whether you are a mother, a father, whether you work from home or out of the office, whether you love what you do or you don’t…it’s easy to push the passion aside.

There’s work to be done, there’s kids to be raised, there’s laundry and cleaning and cooking. It’s Saturday and it’s time to rake leaves or go grocery shopping. Oh, it’s bed time again. It’s time to get up and start all over. But, where does that leave you? The chapter you wanted to complete, that essay you’ve been meaning to submit, or like me that blog that keeps getting neglected. For me, it is the missing piece. It’s the thing I shouldn’t be pushing aside. Laundry can wait. During nap time I shouldn’t just look at Facebook or fold the clothes. I should take a quiet moment and write something.

So should you…

If it’s not writing, what’s your missing piece? Don’t let it be forgotten again today.

The Dream Job


I never imagined I would be a stay at home mother. I never imagined that I would find so much joy in being with one little tiny person day in and day out. I guess that’s motherhood. My mother used to say, “You’ll never understand until you have kids of your own.” (You know your mom said it too). I would just laugh and brush her off. I knew everything. I knew that she just didn’t understand ME or MY FEELINGS.  Wrong again. My mother was right. (Hear that, Mom?). I never understood how much love I could feel for my own child. So I’m glad that I have been given the opportunity to stay home with her. I haven’t worked outside of my home in almost two years. And I’m eternally grateful for that.

But, as I mentioned in my previous post I have been job hunting and looking at opportunities for writing and editing. I LOVE writing. I really do. It’s been my creative outlet for twenty years. I also love being home with my baby girl. She’s still my baby and I want to be here for her during the day. We are still proudly breastfeeding at 19 months old and I know it would be hard on both of us for me to be gone all day. (Oh yes, Happy World Breastfeeding Week!). I’ve been submitting article after article for publication as well as applying to writing and editing positions. I have even had one decent interview, but no luck so far. I have also been working on my memoir. I’d love to be able to work from home to still have time with Sophie.

It’s not truly about money. Though, being paid to write would be ideal. It’s more about keeping up with the other parts of me. I’m not just a mother (though I am devoted to that part of me) and I’m not just a wife (also one of my favorite parts of life). I am many things among them a devoted mother, wife, daughter, and friend. I’m also a writer and (if my husband is to be believed) I’m pretty good at it. I’d like to keep writing, share my words, express myself in that way, and grow in my craft.

Yes, I’d love to get paid for it too.

I know there really is no “dream job”, but there is something out there for me, I hope. Something that I can do to share my writing and editing skills. To take the passion in my heart and the knowledge from 7 plus years of schooling and do something amazing with it. Know what I mean?

The End of An Era


Last week brought about the end of an era! After three years and three months I have finally completed my graduate program. I will be receiving my Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing with a Nonfiction concentration. It feels unreal to me because I have been working on this degree for so long. Through a full-time job, pregnancy, anxiety attacks, birth, a new baby who grew into a wild toddler and now I am actually finished! It feels amazing and sad all at the same time. This was such a long time goal of mine that I feel sort of stumped now that it is over.

For my final project I turned in 84 pages of my memoir. It’s only about a third of the way finished, but it is a really great start. My goal for 2015 is to finish the first draft of my book. I’m not sure when it will get published, but I know one day that it will. My dream has always been to inspire others with my writing and if I can just encourage one person with my story than I will have done something great. My professor gave me some really nice feedback and encouraged me to keep at it. He said I had a really great voice that resonates with people. I’ll take it! Now if only I can hold on to my motivation to keep going.

Things are always busy these days at our house. Sophia bug is 16 months old! I know it feels like yesterday I was writing about her birth. She is a busy, active, smart, independent little girl. She is definitely not a baby anymore. She loves to run around, hug, kiss, and chatter up a storm. She also uses sign language quite often. My favorite sign is for “milk”. When she wants to breastfeed she signs “milk” and climbs up into my lap. She also says “meh-meh” if I’m not paying attention. It’s adorable and so smart. She is also a lover of music and dance. She will sing along with Alvin and the Chipmunks and dance to any music that she hears. She will even shake her little butt to the music.

I love being able to stay at home with her, sometimes it is a challenge because having a toddler is like living with a tornado, but I am truly grateful. Richie works full-time for a local company doing IT work. Then as soon as his work day is over he heads to school for night classes! I could not be more proud of my husband. Working full-time and pursuing a college degree. It is hard and exhausting. So a major shout out to my love, you are amazing! He works hard every day to take care of me and Sophia and gives me the ability to stay home with her every day. Even though I am a writer, I don’t have the words to tell him how much he means to me and how much his support is appreciated. I’ll just keep it simple, I love you, Richie. You truly are the best.

Life in America has been good, Okinawa creeps up in my thoughts often. I never thought I would miss it there, but I do. Great friends, food, culture. Almost seems like a dream most days. Although I am happy to be back with family and friends here. Okinawa changed my life and brought about the most amazing things including my marriage and family. In just 10 days it will have been one year since we left Okinawa. It’s definitely been an interesting start back in America and I am ready to see where the next year takes us.

If you are still out there reading, thanks for sticking around! I’ll update again soon. Maybe share some of my writing with everyone.

<3.

A Writer Writes


It’s been about 9 months since I have updated this particular blog. For that I am sorry. I have been sort of busy trying out this new thing called mothering. I really think I am getting the hang of it. But there is one thing I truly miss and that is keeping up with my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I write all the time for school or in emails or texts, but I don’t usually take the time I need to write, to practice my craft, and to share my stories.

Today I turned in my final project for my 10th Masters class. That is 10 out of 12 meaning that I only have two classes left until graduation and both of those are workshops. I almost can’t believe it. It doesn’t seem like it is really that close. Originally, I was supposed to graduate by December 2014, but I took off some time when my Nana came to visit me in Japan and last summer when we moved back home. I didn’t want to waste my classes by not paying attention. I think that this program turned out really well for me. I learned alot about research, literature, writing papers, and then I learned a lot about writing, critiquing, and sharing. To believe that I am finally in my “thesis” classes seems to good to be true (I say “thesis” because it is not like a doctoral thesis in any way. It is more about the writing).

As I was looking over the course descriptions for my next class I read the introduction from the professor and this is what struck me, “A writer writes…” She was saying that graduation, publication, or accolades do not make the writer. The only thing that makes a writer is if he writes. Most days I’m just Momma, but today I want to be a writer. I want to be a writer on more days because I love it and I miss it.

I am excited for the opportunity that this class is providing because it will give me that push to write every day. I will be working on my memoir, To The Ends of the Earth. (This is a very old, very rough draft so please bear with me if you choose to read it). I already have close to 30 pages of content that I can expand on and really work with. I hope one day to publish and share my stories with the world.

So for now, I’m back in the blogging world and I hope that I don’t let myself leave for so long. I have so many stories to tell. (My little girl is almost one years old!). I think I’ll leave those for another day.

Aly

Writing is Joy


I love to write. Whether it’s poetry or memoir or even casual blogs…I love it. I always have. I think it’s the one thing that I can see myself doing as a career and the one thing I can say I truly don’t feel is a chore. Now, writing for school can seem like  a chore and writing things that I find boring can seem like a chore, but deep down I love it. I am really proud of myself for the progress I have made in school (my creative writing program for my Master’s degree) and the progress I have made on my own personal blog. I seem to start my blog and write in it 2 or 3 times and then forget about it for months. In the beginning of 2012, I would write for a few weeks and then stop. In August 2012, I wrote several blogs and I did again t in November 2012 then again in January/February of this year. It’s like I would take several months off from my blog and I don’t want to do that anymore. I love writing and I love sharing my views even if no one reads them. My progress has been great this time. Since the end of June I have written a blog almost every single week, sometimes more!

The sad thing is I forgot how much relaxation and serenity writing brings me. As I suffer from anxiety, pregnancy hormones, raging emotions I know that I can easily turn these stressors into writing and it brings me joy. I guess sometimes we forget. I don’t want to forget anymore. I have 94 days left in my pregnancy and then a whole new amazing, awe inspiring, life changing chapter of our lives will begin. I need to embrace it and write about it. I want to say thank you (again) to all my readers and family and friends who stick by me, pray for me, send good, happy vibes my way. You all are the best. You help remind me who I am when the world around me seems dim. <3.  

Look out for more writing, more chapters to my memoir, To the Ends of the Earth and more updates about baby bug. I may just share another short post later today <3. (I know, I know three blog posts in one day! It’s a miracle.)

For the Love of Poetry


Some of you may know that I’m taking a poetry course this term in my Master’s Program. I thought I might share some of the work I have done so far.

This first poem is about the writing process:

Writing: A Process

The sound of a pen

Scratching across the page–

Furiously scribbling.

 

Thoughts spilling out forming art on paper.

 

The sound of a pen

Scratching out the words–

Starting over.

The second poem was at topic of your choice expressing tone (tone of the poem):

Where is home?

We were happy there

In our tiny apartment

Just big enough for two

Dancing in the living room

To the movie credits.

 

No cable television

No four-course meals

Or exotic vacations

But, we had our home

And we had each other.

 

They shipped us away

Farther than either of us had ever gone

Across the world

Torn from everything we knew

At least we are together.

 

We are happy here

In our comfortable apartment

With our dog and our cable television

There’s plenty of room for two

And one on the way.

 

Building our lives

In a foreign place

Going on exotic vacations

And returning together

To our home

 

They tell us to go

Back across the world

To leave our home

For the past three years

For a new place.

The third poem is using a different persona; so writing from someone else’s point of view besides your own:

Temporary Insanity

I brace myself at the door

Not knowing what is waiting

On the other side.

Will she be sweet

Or will she be sour?

 

What happened to my darling,

My little wife,

Who once loved my every move?

Now, my breathing too loudly

Is a cause for fury.

 

The experts swear

That this is just a phase

That she will return

To her usual, sunny disposition

And like me once again.

 

I’m still concerned

Nine months is a long time

To wait and pray

For an end

To temporary insanity.

Lastly, this poem is using figurative language including symbolism and allusion:

New Day

 Some days I wake up in prison

Locked away

By Poseidon’s servants–my only jailers.

 

Some days I wake up in paradise

Kissed by sunlight

In my own personal heaven.

 

Most days I wake up in my bedroom

Squished by a white ball of fur

Sleeping on my head.

 -AT

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any or all of my poems. It’s a fun course, even though it is challenging. My goal is to share on my blog more often. I have had this blog for three years and I only manage to post occasionally. I know soon life will be even more hectic with the arrival of our bug, but I hope I continue to write and connect with all of you.