Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Interview with Myself and an Introduction to Two of My Blogging Friends

Some of you may recall that I was featured on Dr. Psych Mom’s blog tour. It’s where you learned that I was a college athlete (for social reasons, clearly), I’m aggressively domestic, and I’m obsessed with the Apparently Kid. It’s my turn to continue with the viral blog tagging. Before I continue, I’d like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Psych Mom by insisting that you like her on Facebook RIGHT NOW, if you haven’t already. She’ll set your sex life back on track.

Now, back to me. I started blogging shortly after I had my baby because I have insomnia. I guess I could have used my “extra” time to exercise or clean (Sorry, Husband!) but I love writing. In fact, most of my job is writing. If I’m not teaching or sitting in a REALLY productive meeting, I’m writing about my research. My research writing, however, has started to feel masochistic because my papers usually get rejected the first time I submit them (as do most academics) so I have to collect more data, do more analyses, and rewrite them until I want to scratch my face off with a staple remover. So, in my "free" time I choose to write about things I’m passionate about (psychology, child development, my family, myself), for an audience that doesn’t email me a three page document all about how what I wrote is stupid.

Now, I’m supposed to show you a picture that represents my blog. 

What I blog about: Family, love, relationships, psychology, myself, attachment, parenting, and how to raise an amazing child (pictured).
Now, moving on to answering the questions that are part of this blog tour thingy I’m doing.

1. What am I working on? My ultimate goal is to write a book (working title: A Developmental Psychologist Had a Baby) that will provide people with knowledge about how to raise healthy, happy children while staying happy and healthy themselves. I find myself in a unique position of having a shit-ton of knowledge about what helps kids develop best but sadly discovering everyday that I am not a super hero. Thus, I have found that this knowledge often collides head-on with my desire to spend all day watching Storage Wars while eating Ding-Dongs and getting lost in YouTube rabbit holes. My blogging is designed to start building an audience and material for my book.

2. How does my work differ from those in my genre? My work is a mixture of the sites that tell you how to be pregnant and raise your kids and the sites that are designed to build a feeling of community based on shared experiences. I use my knowledge of child development research findings to enlighten my readers about various psychological and child development issues while at the same time sharing my experiences trying to apply that knowledge in my own life. I’m new to being a mommy so my readers get to see what it’s like for a developmental psychologist to figure out how to do motherhood. Whenever I have a parenting issue that I’m not an expert in, I do a literature search of scientific peer-reviewed journals and then I share my conclusions with my readers.

3. Why do I write what I do? Honestly, I am shocked at least once a day that all the knowledge that researchers have painfully constructed about how to raise happy, healthy people is either not known, misunderstood, or disregarded. Researchers construct and disseminate this knowledge for free because our goal is to make it available to the public to help inform decisions and policy but there are dipshits like Gail Finney who are proposing to completely ignore all of the research that indicates that corporal punishment is not effective in the long-run and leads only to increased aggression and poorer mental health by making a law that eases the restrictions of Kansas' current laws on corporal punishment making it lawful to leave red marks and bruises. For various complicated reasons, there aren't many people with my level of expertise writing for the general public on these topics. This lack of writing geared toward the general public in combination with my frustration and deep concern about the human condition have led me to start blogging so that I can use my PhD to improve lives like I ambitiously set out to do 10 years ago.  People also seem curious about how a developmental psychologist would actually raise a child, so I’m giving people a chance to be curious and remain introverted.

4. How does my writing process work? I use blogging as my reward for writing up my research or doing other tasks that I’m putting off. I don’t let myself blog until I’ve completed a task related to my research. As for deciding what I’m going to write about, I keep a list of blog ideas and when inspiration hits me (usually in the shower because it’s the only time I get any goddamn peace), I put the idea on my list. When I sit down to write, I pick one that is either timely or someone asked me about.  

That’s enough about me. Now, let me tell you about my friends.

Erica Heinsman created I’m Totally Faking It. You may remember her from her guest post Thou Shalt Not Judge Them Pregnant Woman. I met and grew to love Erica while playing coed touch football with her when I lived in greater DC. She’s a smart, funny woman raising an adorable toddler with her lovely husband. Like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter @imtotllyfakngit. You’ll love her WTF Wednesdays and probably develop a Mom Crush on her.

Erica is a native Buffalonian (Go Bills!) now living just outside of Washington, DC in Silver Spring, MD. She’s a working mom and wife attempting to make it through the day without crying or murdering someone.  Her basic life necessities are Amazon Prime, screw top wine, coffee, and her DVR. If she’s not drinking and/or online shopping, she’s probably at the playground giving the stink eye to parents who look too well dressed to be at the playground.

Erica and her family at a Bills game.

Two of Erica's great loves: Her son and pizza.
Erica’s three facts about herself:

1. I am obsessed with Beverly Hills 90210 and nothing derails my day faster than finding reruns on TV.  I dare you to try and stump me with 90210 trivia. I double megaburger dare you.

2. I hoard beauty samples. In my head some great depression is going to happen and I’m going to be dead broke and will have no access to quality makeup. In preparation for this day I keep every single piece of freebie makeup, skincare, and haircare I can get my hands on.  I hope Smashbox eyelash primer is edible, because it’s what I’ll have to feed my family if there actually is a great depression.

3. I believe that in a past life I was a superstar, like Beyonce level. I have always loved being the center of attention and love to sing and dance. Unfortunately I was not gifted with those talents in this life, so I like to believe I was the entertainer of the century...even if it was the 19th century. 

Dr. Angelica Shiels created On The Yellow Couch. Angelica is obsessed with helping you prioritize your relationship when you have kids and be a good example of relationship health. If you haven’t read her article on how to write a proper love letter, do it now! It could save your love-life. You could also be famous if you submit your letter to her. She’s a a wife, a mom of three young boys, and a therapist in private practice in the Annapolis, Maryland area.  She blogs about psychology, relationships, and parenting adventures. Like her Facebook page and find her on Twitter @psych_blogger. Her flowcharts are effing genius and funny. 

Angelica and her husband.
Angelica's adorable kids.

Here are Angelica’s three facts about herself: 

1.  I have a hard time believing in psychics, because I have a hard time believing anything that you can’t PROVE, BUT…. One day while I was swimming, when I was about 7 years old, I had this really strong thought randomly pop into my head that “something really important is going to happen on June 20th of some unknown year.”  It was the only time in my life I’ve ever had a thought like that (I am generally not superstitious or one who puts any emphasis on random thoughts), but it was so strong that I remembered it each and every June 20th of my life since then– I would write stuff in my diary like, “hmmm… June 20th is coming up, wonder if something is going to happen,” and I even told my friends in high school about it (I remember going to Summer Fest in Milwaukee one June 20th, and wondering out-loud if something was going to happen),  Anyway, fast-forward however many years, and I ended up marrying a guy who’s birthday was June 20th, and, after an unplanned pregnancy, became a mom for the first time on June 20th, 2008 when my water broke three weeks before my due-date.

2.  Okay, so that was spooky and serious.  How about this to lighten the mood:  One time, in Jamaica, I “won” a bottle or rum in a blind-folded banana eating contest.  Only I was the only contestant who was actually blind-folded and actually eating bananas.  Everyone else was just sitting there staring at me, laughing, which I, quite competitively, at the request of the “game-host,” shoved bananas in my face as fast as I could.

3.  During a 2-week period of time in June of 2008, I got married, found an apartment after a home-purchase fell-through, had a baby (yes, you read that right:  As in, gave birth), had to move out of and clean one apartment and furnish and paint another apartment, defended my doctoral dissertation, attended two baby showers (one out of state), and stood up in an out-of-state wedding (with a newborn who came early).  THE MOST stressful part of all of that was getting my bridesmaid dress altered at the last minute to fit my no-longer-pregnant body, and my mom accidentally scalding the nipples (making the blue taffeta BROWN) with the iron the NIGHT before the wedding. Oh yah, I also had a birthday in there, ironically, on the day my nipples got scalded and I finally lost it and broke down into exhausted and frantic tears.

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