They’re Not All Gems, But Sometimes They Are

I write a lot.  Empirically it’s true.  For the past few weeks, I have been writing 1000 words a day for Mommyish (Monday through Friday — and if you’ve missed any, check out the WTTM Facebook page, I post them all there).  I also write a fictional story (1200 words) a month for my beloved writing group.  I scribble my crazy thoughts down in my journal almost every day. I am slowly working back to my novel in my mind (I will get there soon, I just know it!).  And yes, I am still a full-time lawyer (more on that soon I hope).  But the point is, I write a lot.  It keeps me sane.

Most of the time, my writing is just in the ordinary course of my life.  Meaning, I spout my opinion about one thing or another, fill in all the SEO requirements, add an appropriately credited picture, hit publish and submit an invoice at the end of the month.  But sometimes I write something that makes me stop and say, “yes!  This is good stuff!”  Sometimes I look at my finished product and I think, “Wow, I really had something to say here.”  Because when I start writing, I never know how it will turn out.  Some pieces I love more than others.  Some just flow almost like an out-of-body experience.  Others I feel so strongly about, but the passion I feel doesn’t come across on the page.  Some things I care less about and just need content.  But I never really know until it’s done.  In the words of one of my favorite funny bloggers, Wendi Aarons, “they’re not all gems.”  And they’re not.

But sometimes they are. Continue reading

Death By Full-Time Employment

I grew up Catholic and believed there were two stages of existence — life and death. Death was the end of your time in this realm. There was no reincarnation, no second chances, no in-between. The rest, I deduced, was life. Life was good. It meant more time, more opportunity, more growth. So anything short of bodily death in my book deserves a smile. Nothing can be that bad! I’m still alive, right?  Well I can’t pretend that alive and dead are the only two modes we have in this one body.

To say I’ve been having a hard time with this transition back into full-time employment is like saying The Real Housewives are neither real nor housewives (duh!).  At times I manage to get though the day.  I even have moments where I feel inspired.  But mostly I feel like I’m dying.  I won’t ever be able to explain what that means or how it feels to your exact liking, because trust me I’ve just spent the past five weeks trying to explain it to Ian.  He’s no closer to understanding my overdramatic thinking than I am getting better at explaining it.  You either get it or you don’t.

Either way, today I decided to try something new.  Today I accept death.  I’ve spent 5 weeks feeling terrified that I’m going to die, and today I’m just going to assume it’s true.  I am dead.  Now what Carinn?  Now what?

Now, I tell you how it all happened.  This is not a story about a car accident or a battle with cancer, this is just me going back to work. Where I died. A lot. Continue reading

The truth about “no bathroom privacy”: what really happens in the bathroom once you have kids

Everyone warns you that you won’t have any privacy in the bathroom once you have children, but no one talks about what that actually means.  Some of you expectant mothers might envision a door semi-ajar as you leave your angels playing with blocks in the adjoining room.  You think you might even have a visitor just as you are finishing your tinkle and you will wisely take this moment to teach them good washing practices.

You’d be WRONG.

Will it ever be just you and me again?

  • You will nurse while sitting atop the porcelain throne.  We don’t even talk about how the wiping gets done in these situations.  Not even on this blog.   It’s just survival.
  • You will endure not only your own personal surprise but the shock of others when you unexpectedly get your period a little early.  Questions will shoot from their small mouths like shells from an Uzi.  “Why is there blood?!”  “Mommy, are you bleeding?”!  “Are you hurt?”  “OH, UH, GOOOOO!”  (that last one is from my grunting 17-month old daughter, but I am pretty sure it can be interpreted as “Is that shit gonna happen to me too?”)
  • You will have multiple little people pointing as you attempt to apply a maxi-pad.  A step-by-step lesson will be required if it has wings.

“What is that? Why are you putting in there? Can it fly? I want one in my underwear!” -shouts from the peanut gallery

  • You will be inserting your Nuvaring when the door bursts open and Lego-gate ’12 unfolds in front of your eyes.
  • You will read “Hand Hand Fingers Thumb” aloud while dropping a deuce.  Your child will be sitting on your lap.
  • If, like me, you teach your kids to go potty in a plastic crapper, you will experience tandem dumping.  You will resist for a long time, but when your son sits there for what feels like hours (“I’m not done yet I said!”) and insists you keep him company, you begin to see the efficiency.

This could take hours honey. Don’t worry, your bowels will get on his schedule just like your boobs, your appetite and your sleep.

  • You will be reaping the benefits of your morning coffee when everyone in the house decides that is the exact moment they need to brush their teeth.
  • You will be forced to defend yourself to the sudden intruder’s “what’s that smell?” query.  Try not to answer “carnitas” if you take them to Chipotle the next day.  They will remember.  They will repeat.

I let you off the hook with the logo here. Do an image search for “carnitas” right now. I dare you.

What has surprised you about the “no privacy in the bathroom” situation?

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Ten years can change everything

Once I had a life.

One where I had never even heard of the words Graco or Evenflo.

I felt every bit of pain to my core, every bit of bliss to my toes.  I was free.  I was irresponsible.

I was alive.

I remember nights at the age of 22 when my friends and I looked at each other and exclaimed, “it’s four in the morning!  How did that happen?!?!”

Did we go home?  Hell no.  Why go home when you can have steak and eggs?  Eating at 4am qualified as breakfast then.

We’d walk out of the IHOP as the black night yielded to the blazing sun, painting the sky pastel.

Back in these carefree times there was a boy named Jeremy.  He broke my heart.  And I let him.

I smile when I think of these days.

Now there is an ocean of life between me and that foolish girl.

There isn’t much to miss about her – she doesn’t fit me anymore.

Last night, sitting on the porch at magic hour, I watched my baby play in the garden.


Breathtaking babe.


My focus has shifted from me to family.  My deep insecurities pale in comparison to the fierce love we share.

When I am with these beings we created; when I hear them laugh, when I watch them sleep, when I sing them songs, I am released from the fear that I am not enough.

Once I had a life.  Now I have so much more.


This post was written in response to a prompt that asked:  What music album would be used for a movie about your life?  I chose Ten by Pearl Jam.

What album would you choose?


read to be read at

Hello, my name is Carinn and I am a writer

On occasion I look at my kids and wonder what careers they might enjoy (looking for ideas maybe?).

Will he be the singer in a rock band?

I am already beginning to rehearse my pearl of wisdom when they ask me for guidance.  “Find what you love and do it every day.”  Simple yet sage advice, right?  Except it’s damn near impossible to determine, let alone achieve!

You know what I love?  I love writing.  I love finding the words to express the way I’m feeling.  I love telling a story.  I love creating a world from scratch.  I love research and data.  I love finding a point of view.

I wrote hundreds of pages of stories, essays and projects through my school years.   In the past three years I’ve written a business plan, a thesis on the benefits of yoga for fertility, and a screenplay (that sits in a drawer).  These days I squeeze in time to write posts, jot down thoughts in my journal, and brainstorm ideas for novels.

Yet I never consider myself a writer.

Writing doesn’t pay the bills.  Writing is hard.  Writing takes time I don’t have.  Writing requires discipline.  Writing begs for talent.

I’m not great at this craft.  Even if I could start finish a novel, I could never get an agent.  Even if I could get an agent, I’d never be able to sell it to a publisher.  Even if it was published, no one would buy it.  Even if I had a best seller I would have nothing to follow it up.

See, I even have stories to prevent myself from writing stories.

Of course there are those inspiring tales of raging success against the odds – JK Rowling being rejected twelve times, Stephanie Meyer having the idea for the Twilight trilogy in a single vision, or Suzanne Collins having to bite her nails for a few years after publishing until The Hunger Games really caught fire.

Never give up on your dreams — that’s the lesson these tales teach us.  But what if you gave up on your dreams years ago?  What if you already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education that instructed you to be someone else?

What if your dreams are delusional?  Let’s be honest: the Paul Kinseys of the world don’t know they are the Paul Kinseys of the world.

What if this control freak is scared to be in an arena where success appears to be, at least in part, random?



What if I stopped taking life so seriously?

What if every day I woke up and just decided to write?

What if I stopped needing to make sense of every single thing I do?


They say that the first step to overcoming negative behavior is admission.  I admit all of these truths and more.  I admit I am powerless over the need to empty the contents of my brain, my thoughts, my often wild imagination, on paper.  I admit I cannot stop, would not stop, even if it means no one other than Ian will ever be a fan of my work.

So here I stand before you, beautiful people of the interwebs, to admit I have a problem.

“Hello,” I begin, sheepishly.

[Beautiful people of the interwebs say ‘hello’ back]

Hello, my name is Carinn and I am a writer.


I just hope this affliction isn't genetic