Opinions, Farts, and Fraternities. What?

You know what is hard? Being funny is hard. Entertaining people for FREE is hard. Rocks are hard. Trying to be kind to assholes is hard. Life is hard. Parenting is hard. For some, shutting their nasty pie hole is hard. Not gagging when I wipe my kids’ butt or when I brush my teeth is hard. Surviving this last week of summer vacation is hard.

You know what isn’t too difficult? Laughing. Being nice. Scrolling on by something you don’t like. Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Pouring and drinking a glass of wine. Dancing to a great song. Wasting the day away on Facebook. Watching a Johnny Depp movie. Being nice. (This one is so easy I had to mention it twice)

My dad always told me that opinions are like assholes because everyone has one.  Most people wouldn’t sit down in a five-star restaurant and rip an earth-shattering fart because it just isn’t appropriate.  While it may hurt like hell to hold in that fart, it just isn’t done.  You clinch your cheeks and you pray that nothing escapes before you make it to a more appropriate fart-ripping venue.  Once you are in the comfort of your own gaseous bubble, you let that baby flow and you sigh in relief.

These interwebs have made us more open to farting in public.  Except we do it verbally and verbal farts are by far the worst. More disgusting than the ones that come after eating onion rings  with a side of deviled eggs.  Their smell is revolting and they have a tendency to linger for days.  They can take the most wonderful post about babies and rainbows and unicorns and turn it into a post about religion and politics and gun control.  Before you know it, that one verbal gassing has spread and it forces others to start releasing their own juices and before you know it, the entire post smells worse than a fraternity house after a two-day kegger leaving an unsuspecting house-mother in its wake.

It takes hours to clean up the mess and days to air out the house.  The house-mother can often be found in tears constantly dousing herself in Lysol wondering why in the hell she took this job.  The pay sucks and the rewards are few and far between.  Yet she stays.  She learns to breathe through her mouth and to stay locked in her room on the weekends.  She stays because she loves it.  She adores the conversations, the company, sometimes she even joins in and farts with the best of them.  When it’s right to do so.

I’m not gonna argue with you, sometimes it just feels good to fart.  It feels good to let it out and to share it with those around you.  It is refreshing and damn it, you just feel better when all is said and done.  It doesn’t mean that those around you enjoy it.  That they want to take a deep breath and inhale your aroma.  That they enjoy your gas as much as you do.   That it is the right place and right time to let one fly. Unless you ARE at a kegger, then by all means….let em rip.  Most people would never even know.

What in the hell was I talking about?  Right, opinions.  It’s normal to have them.  It’s also normal to want to share them. It’s just common courtesy to not be an asshole about it.  It’s easy to do, just squeeze your cheeks.

Opinions, Farts, and Fraternities

 

It Really is OK to Just Say NO

Early on in childhood we are taught to say no. Say no to strangers, say no to drugs, say no to peer pressure. Even as parents we drill the same skill into our own little people. We stress to them the importance of using the word when something doesn’t seem right. That it is okay to give their friends a nice firm NO when they are being pressured to do things that they know are wrong.  To say NO if they don’t want to do something.  Makes you wonder why after all the years of being told to say it, we are so scared to use it as adults.

I’m do know that I’m not afraid to use it with my kids:

Mom, can I have a cell phone?  No, you are ten.

Mom, can I have candy?  No.  I ate it all.

Mom, do you love me more than the others?  No.  I love you all equally, just some days I may like one of you more than the others.

Mom, do you have a wiener?  Thankfully, no.  If  I did you wouldn’t be calling me mom.

Smell my feet mom!  Not just no, but HELL NO.

Did you fart mom?  Nope.  Not me. I would never do that. <ahem>

While I love to piss my kids off on a daily basis by reminding them who is the boss around here, I often forget when approached by adults that I even know that the word NO is part of my vocabulary.  Why do we have such a hard time saying that one little word to other adults, are we afraid of looking like we can’t handle it?  Scared that we will be considered less of a woman/man/parent if we just say we can’t do it right now?  Maybe it’s a little bit of mom guilt mixed in with that middle school mindset that we won’t be accepted if we don’t agree with every offer that is thrown our way.

This is extra difficult when the offers involve our kids.  Sitting on the PTA board or coaching a ball team.  Going on that field trip or making those cookies for the program.   Never able to say no.  Always willing to adjust our schedules to do what needs to be done.   Never able to just walk away.  Feeling as if we don’t say ‘yes’ that the job won’t get done.  Forgetting that in most instances that one little word could alleviate so much stress from our lives if we would just use it.  Just once it would keep us from trying to squeeze in one more meeting in an already over-packed day.  Stop us  from making just one more trip to the store for supplies.  Give us an evening to reconnect with our already over-scheduled families.

Maybe it is that part of our human nature that has this desire to constantly please others.  The feeling of never letting someone down.  What happens when we become so overwhelmed that we forget to make those cookies or that meeting slips our mind?  Disappointment and guilt.   That’s what happens.  Then we sit in the soup of despair and shitty feelings kicking ourselves in the ass for not being organized to write something down.  For forgetting that we received that reminder call three days ago while we were juggling fixing lunch, finishing folding that load of laundry, and wiping the three-year-old’s butt.  It is hard to believe that we, the uber-involved incredibly organized, could possibly overlook one little thing.

Here’s the deal, we ARE over-scheduled.  We do strive for the acceptance of our peers, even as adults.  We always want to appear as if we have it all together, even though we know in our hearts that we are falling apart and will be hopping aboard the crazy train any day now.  In all reality, no one really gives a shit if you say “no, sorry, I just can’t make it to that meeting.  I haven’t had dinner with my kids all week and I promised them that tonight was the night”.  No one is going to think you are a raging bitch if you turn down that seat on the PTA board.  OK they might, but if they do then maybe they are the bitch.  No one else but us is looking our for us and what we need.  What our families need.

The key is to find our balance.  To find what is truly important to YOU.  You want that seat on that non-profit?  Grab it.  You want to be the room mother for your kid (s)?  DO IT.   You want to run a bakery from your kitchen?  Good for you.  Do you have to do it all ?  No way.  Find your passion and do that.  You aren’t telling the others to piss off, you are just saying that you want to be able to be fully invested in what you are doing.  There is only so much room on our plates.   To be truly involved with your whole self may take a little more effort  but the rewards are ten-times greater than only being involved with just a piece of yourself.

We can no longer look at  ‘no’ as a word worthy of being placed on George Carlin’s list of dirty words.  We can’t be afraid to say it to our kids, we know they aren’t afraid to say it to us.  We can’t avoid it just because we are afraid of not being accepted into the cool kids club.   If that club looks at you differently because you have priorities and can make a decision based on what is best for you, then maybe it isn’t as cool as you thought it was.  There comes a time where that one little word can make the difference between spending time with the family that you love and adore or spending it doing something that makes you miserable.  The choice is yours.

Find your true passion

Did you buy the book yet?  PLEASE don’t tell me NO.    Get all the details right here.

So This is Really Happening…

Living in the country we have days in which the UPS man pulling into the yard is the most traffic we see all day.  I had been waiting and waiting to see that brown truck this week and every day that passed with nothing was another day I sulked just a little.  Today he came and he had boxes.  Two of them.

My heart skipped a beat and I brought them in and put them on the table.  Since I knew what was inside I couldn’t bring myself to open them right away.  I was nervous.  I had heart palpitations and sweaty palms, I may have even let a little fart slip out as I jumped up and down in my excitement.  Then the reality sunk in.  Inside these boxes are books.  Not a bunch of books that I ordered to read for my own enjoyment.  Books.  THESE books:

Books

<cue the tears>  These are books that contain my words.  Some of them may be dirty and to some inappropriate, but they are still mine.  My thoughts.  My words.  ACK!  It wasn’t real until I saw them and held one in my hands.  Now it’s official.  This is REALLY HAPPENING!

I grabbed the top one and opened it up and glanced at the table of contents and I think my knees buckled just a little.   To look at all those names of so many amazing women all in one place, with my name among them, was something that simply took my breath away.  It isn’t like it is a new development, this book has been in the works for months.  Some of these women I knew before.  Some of them I had read but didn’t know personally.  All of them I am getting to know better and better every day.

ACK!!!

ACK!!!

Since I operate on full disclosure and honesty I feel that I have to tell you that I have actually NOT read this book yet.  Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m afraid to and I didn’t have a copy.  When asked to contribute the list of other contributors was not disclosed.  I knew that Jen (People I Want to Punch in the Throat) would put together an amazing list of contributors and that alone made it difficult to write anything somewhat coherent.  I struggled for a month to write my piece for her and after a TON of editing I closed my eyes and hit the send button.  Once I discovered who all the incredible writers were that were going to be joining me on this adventure,  I may have thrown up a little.  These are some of the most talented and hilarious women on the interwebs.  Now I am in print with them.  Mind. Blown.

What I do know without even reading one single page is that this book is AMAZING.  To have thirty-seven amazing women all together inside one cover, brilliant.  To see thirty-seven women working together to make it succeed, brilliant.  To see thirty-seven women who may not necessarily share the same sense of humor or writing styles or beliefs do something so incredible is eye-watering.  I’m honored to be a part of this incredible adventure and can’t wait to see where it takes us.

I am in awe of their abilities.  I am humbled to be considered a writer of their caliber.  I’m still shittin bricks that my name is in that table of contents with all of these lovely ladies:

People I Want to Punch in the Throat
Insane in the Mom Brain
The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva
Baby Sideburns
Rants From Mommyland
The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess
My Life and Kids
Bad Parenting Moments
Let Me Start By Saying
Frugalista Blog
Suburban Snapshots
Ninja Mom
Four Plus an Angel
Honest Mom
Binkies and Briefcases
Naps Happen
Kelley’s Break Room
Toulouse & Tonic
HouseTalkN
Hollow Tree Ventures
The Fordeville Diaries
Snarkfest
Mom’s New Stage
Nurse Mommy Laughs
The Dose of Reality
The Mom of the Year
Life on Peanut Layne
Momaical
Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine
Confessions of a Cornfed Girl
I Love Them Most When They’re Sleeping
Random Handprints
RachRiot
You’re My Favorite Today
Funny is Family
My Real Life

So, let’s cut the sappy shit, fricken PMS.  Who wants to win a copy?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller? Bueller?  (Sorry, couldn’t resist)  I’m going to give away at least one copy of “I Just Want to Pee Alone”.  It will be the winner’s choice of either a paper copy or a Kindle copy.  Depending on my mood and the number of entries, I may decide to do more copies you never know.  The winner(s) will be announced on Tuesday morning.  The more entries there are, the greater the chances of more copies to be handed out…for FREE!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t want to wait to see if you win?  Want to buy a copy for your sister/girlfriend/wife/mother-in-law/OB-GYN/most hated enemy?  It won’t even cost you your first born child.  Here is all the info.  Once you read it, be sure to express your love for the book with a positive review on Amazon.  We will worship the ground you walk on if you do :)

Get it delivered to your door via Amazon:  I Just Want to Pee Alone

Download it to your Kindle here: I Just Want to Pee Alone

You Nook users can download it here: I Just Want to Pee Alone

You can even get it from iTunes here:  I Just Want to Pee Alone

Find What Fills Your Soul

Last week I asked my Facebook friends to ask me questions.  Any question. I promised to answer them completely and honestly, and being a woman of my word, I did.  All except one.  It wasn’t because I didn’t like the question, it was because the timing of it was more than I could ignore.   The weird thing here is that it isn’t an earth-shattering, thought-provoking question, but something about it sent my brain into overload and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  Today, I answer the question.  I can’t ignore it anymore.  It comes from my dear friend Mary Tyler Mom, and when she asks you better be answering.  Not that she is threatening or anything, but damn…she’s Mary Tyler Mom.  Anywho, dear  MTM asked me “How did you start writing”.  See, nothing over the top.  Not like she asked me to reveal my kids’ real names, or to give out my address.  What’s so damn hard about that question?  The problem is that not only did I interpret it as “how”, but I of course had to put more into it and ask myself “why”.  Why do I write?

I suppose the “how” part is easy.  The smartass in me says, one day I picked up a pencil and grabbed a piece of paper (remember those days?) and started writing words.  In college I progressed up to computers and being a History major, there was never a shortage of papers and late nights.  After college, I quit writing.  I can’t explain why, but I just quit.   Since all I had known for so long was “required” writing, I guess I thought that was all that I could do.  Give me the assignment, let me do the research, and I will knock your socks off with a piece about Abraham Lincoln.  Boom.  Once those assignments weren’t coming in anymore, the writing didn’t go out.

The writing didn’t start to go out again until one year ago.  Yep, one year ago exactly, that was when I realized that I missed it.  I missed the words.  I missed the thought involved in forming the words.  I missed writing.  When friends suggested I start a blog I never thought it would work for me.  I’m not a story-teller, I’m a factual writer.  Short of a few funny status updates I had never written for entertainment purposes, only for that grade.  I knew I was funny in my head, we are all funny to ourselves, but would other people find me funny?  Would other people be able to relate to what I’m saying? Who in the hell would read this drivel besides my mother (occasionally) and a handful of friends.  And by “handful”, I really mean one or two.  Never in a million years did I expect total strangers to enjoy my words.  Never.

As a first-time blogger, I didn’t exactly know what I wanted out of this.  I still don’t know if I can fully answer that question.  I’m not gonna try to bullshit you, there isn’t a writer out there who doesn’t hope that their work will hit the big time, but this biz is hard yo.  There are thousands of writers out there all striving for that same goal and for many, blogging is their job.  They do it full-time and they are determined to be the next big thing.  I gotta give them some big kudos because I can’t do this gig full-time.  Hell, I can barely do it part-time.  I can barely get this post finished because of the constant demand for a rousing game of Go-Fish.  So I suppose the timing of MTM’s question was meant to be.  It was meant to make me search inside myself and really think. Think about how far I was willing to go.  Think about how I could let one little blog mean so much to me.  Think about how much it has changed my life in just 365 days. Think about WHY I keep writing.

Would I love for a piece of mine to go viral?  Duh.  Isn’t that secretly what we all wish for?  I see it the same as when us parents post a “mom brag” photo on Facebook of our kids winning a spelling bee or a perfect attendance award.   If you have something that you are proud of, you want the world to see it.  Would I love to be making more money at this?  Um…who couldn’t use a little extra cashola in their bank account. What am I willing to sacrifice to get there?  My marriage?  I think not.  My kids? Absolutely not.  My friendships?  No way in hell.  But WHY?  WHY am I sitting here at 10:30 at night and 6:00 in the morning writing?  Why?  Because it fills my soul.   Because it allows me to put the thoughts in my head on paper.  Because it isn’t a job, it’s a hobby. Because it gives me an outlet and that outlet has helped me to realize that I am not alone.  Because it has given me the ability to make people smile.  The ability to make a difference.  The ability to be a positive light and add some laughter into someone’s day.

The biggest struggle for me has been to find my voice.  Don’t confuse voice with self-confidence because I am not lacking in the latter, but this blogosphere is hard.   You read one blog and you love her voice, how can you duplicate it without stealing it?  You read another one and you love her design, how can I implement that without it being the same?  You think the more you write, the more people read.  Before you know it you are sacrificing quality for quantity and then then you start wondering  if maybe you should write less because the people aren’t reading, so they must not like you. You get the haters who knock you down and instill the doubt inside you that you suck and should just fold up shop right this instant.  All aboard the emotional roller coaster.  Joy and excitement one day, a quick trip to emotional despair the next.  I think the most important thing I have learned this year, and it has taken me 364 days to figure this out, is to be true to myself.  It doesn’t make a hill of beans of difference what you write, someone is going to disagree.  That is human nature.  The key is to not sacrifice who you are in order to avoid the naysayers. You don’t like me?  I’m down with that. Just know that I won’t allow you to rain on my parade.  Mama ain’t got time fo’ dat.

We all have those days in which we feel as if all we have been served is a big ol shit sandwich with a side of sour pickles.  While I may not be a ray of freaking sunshine every day myself, I make it my goal to try to make at least one person smile every day.  I don’t know, maybe I should say I am an entertainer instead of a writer?  No.  I am a writer.  I am a writer who entertains with my words.  It has taken me a year to be able to say that.  I. AM. A. WRITER.   While my words may not fatten my bank account, or put my name on a best seller list, or even get me that dinner with Johnny, my words make a difference to someone.  Some days that someone may just be me, some days it may be hundreds of people, but as long as they make a difference to someone I will be here.  Writing.  Because it is what fills my soul.

Soul

A Full Serving of Laughs With a Side of Advice

Advice

Every day, hundreds of people decide to start a blog.  One of the best resources for advice is to ask other bloggers, and for some reason, people come to me for advice.  Little do they know that I don’t  have a damn clue what I am doing here, I just pretend I do and usually just pass on the advice that I have been given.   I have made many, many mistakes in my first year of blogging so instead of giving my advice,  I have asked some of my very funny friends to help me.  So please  sit back, adjust your Poise pad, have your notebook ready to take notes, and I hope a little advice from my friends goes a long way.

Dear YKIHAYHT,

I have just started setting up my blog and I am not very good at design.  Can you give me some insight into what will keep my readers visual interest?  Thanks for your help~Color Blind

Dear Color Blind,

 A suggestion from my friend Paige Kellerman is to always put your entire post in red.  Readers love the interactive feel of having their corneas slowly burning while digesting your well thought-out content.  This is stellar advice if you are striving to drive your readers one step closer to blindness.  

Another important thing to remember is the organization of your sidebars.  There is nothing better than the appearance that you are in fact an advertising guru and not a writer.  I know personally, I love it when I try to read a blog and the ads have vomited all over the text.   As a matter of fact, Anna from My Life and Kids suggests this; Before writing your first post, be sure to load up your blog with ads, pop ups, and video ads. Make sure you get paid for every single page-view before you even start!  Brilliant Anna.  Simply brilliant. Once you are getting rich off of those ads, Kim from Let Me Start By Saying suggests you hire someone to create some fabulous graphics to fill the inches of open space in-between your ads; The more dancing graphics you have on the sidebars, the better, she suggests.

One last item  for you to consider adding just to make sure that your readers are fully annoyed before they leave.  From Allison motherhoodwtf?; People LOVE opening up a website and finding that it’s musical. What a great surprise! Pick your favorite music and give your readers a chance to get to know the bands you love.   Nothing would start your reader’s day off right like having to change their pants.  Take it from Kerry at HouseTalkNAdding music to your site is not good for the bladder impaired. It startles me into kegels every time.  Of course this decision is completely up to you, but I don’t know too many people who appreciate a heart attack brought on by Metallica first thing in the morning.

Hope this helps you just a bit.  Just remember, busy is key.  You want the words to be the last thing your readers look at.

Dear YKIHYAHT~

I have been blogging for a while now, but  I simply cannot figure out why I am not getting any comments.  Could you please give me some helpful hints to help increase my comment count?  ~All Alone

Dear All Alone~

Comments are the bloggers equivalent of a football player’s slap on the ass.   JD from Honest Mom suggests you take these steps to help increase comment count; Be sure to make your would-be commenters jump through TONS of hoops to leave a comment on your blog. For example, don’t allow them to comment with their name and blog URL – make them register for an obsolete AIM or Open ID account! And of course, don’t forget to make them struggle to translate a CAPTCHA to leave a comment. We all love doing that! Ah yes, nothing like creating yet another account on another website on which you will never remember your log-in name and password.  That will surely get them to come back and comment on future posts.  

If you implement this plan and you are still not seeing an increase in your comments, you have no choice but to take it one step further.  Ninja Mom insists you take this final step to ensure you will see an immediate comment count that would make even the most popular of bloggers jealous; Add extra layers of security. Word verification’s good for keeping out spammers, but what about testing the loyalty of your 5 readers? Consider having them complete an accounting exam, or identify all of the former US vice presidents before being able to comment.  Boom.

Dear YKIHAYHT~

Everyone tells me that I should comment on other blogs in order to help promote myself, to make my blog more visible to others.  I have been doing that but am not seeing an increase in visitors.  What do you think I’m doing wrong? ~Too Wordy

Dear Wordy~

Maybe your comments are too long and complex.  Take this advice from Robyn at Hollow Tree Ventures, it is certain to work;  Make sure to leave a comment – “LOL” always works, even on a serious post – to indicate that you enjoyed a blogger’s work. Then casually mention that you’ve started following them. A request for a follow-back and a link to your blog shows that you’re genuinely interested in developing a long-standing relationship, based on your appreciation and respect for whatever it was that person wrote about, which you really did read, pinkie-swear.

If that doesn’t work, you may have to resort to using DG’s favorite comments;  be sure to use the 3-two-word comments that bloggers love most…”loved it!” “well said!” and “amen sister” – this really conveys the point that the blog was total shite and/or you didn’t read it. That should really draw in the new readers.  Try it and get back to me.

Dear YKIHAYHT~

I am have been working really hard trying to make a connection with other bloggers but am not getting any requests for guest posts or to join any communities.  Can you help me with that? ~Anti-Social

Dear Anti-Social~

Might I suggest you take in these suggestions from these more experienced bloggers;

Meredith from Mom of the Year: If you want to be featured in a series that a blogger is running, instead of asking her to participate (or ever commenting on her blog or contacting her in any other way), write a post about how stupid the blogger is and how she was snotty for not including you.  Publish the post, don’t tell her about it, and let her find it by checking her traffic sources.  This is truly the best way to go about networking and building relationships within the field.

Stephanie from Binkies and Briefcases: Need a blog mentor? Be sure to research your area and find all of the big bloggers who live around you. Email them and invite them to lunch. If they say no look up their phone numbers and call them directly. Be sure to leave lots of personal Facebook messages as well. You want them to know you are VERY interested.

Anna from Random Handprints loves it when she follows a blogger on Twitter, and then finds a DM asking her to visit their site, pin to their really great Pinterest Board, join their Google+ circle, not to mention buy their eBook, contribute to their IndieGoGo fund, and of course, like their Facebook page.  Because who doesn’t want to be hounded by every person they decide to follow on Twitter?  I know I love DM’s asking me to follow them on Facebook.  I just run right on over. 

Dear YKIHAYHT,

I can’t seem to grow my readership, can you give me some suggestions on how to get more reads on my pieces? ~Struggling for Survival

Dear Struggling~

This may be a multi-level problem, first of all take this suggestion from Kathy at kissing the frog:  Feel free to write in stream of conciousness style while centering your text. Don’t bother with that silly spell check – just hit “publish” as soon as you’re done unloading your thoughts. You will appear spontaneous and quirky that way.

Courtney from Our Small Moments suggests that you try this:  Conventions stifle creativity.  No one really cares about commas, paragraphs, and periods, especially avid readers.

Once you have the spelling and grammar down pat, you may try this advice from Jen at PIWTPITT:  I love it when bloggers only write something new every three weeks or so.  I make sure to take time out every day to visit just to make sure I haven’t missed something.  I so look forward to that one post a month and it really keeps that blog fresh in my mind.

Since this is my blog, I suppose I will offer up this one piece of advice.  Please make sure to post two or more times per day.  It is super easy for me to keep up with all those posts since I have nothing else to do with my day but sit and read only your posts.  Please, once you have an idea, write it and post it even if you just posted something an hour ago.  No need to save that for another day when you don’t have an idea to write about.

If you get nothing else out of this post, I hope that at least you could get a good laugh.  Really, these ladies are some of the funniest people I know and their expertise is second to none.   None of us are perfect, but at least we can have fun and laugh about it.