When the struggle is too real

My husband Dan and I love to watch Shark Tank.  If you haven’t seen the show, the premise is that entrepreneurs pitch their businesses and ask for investments from the five successful celebrity “sharks.”  Every show glorifies hard work, the hustle, and the American dream: that if you sacrifice enough and put in enough hours, you can achieve anything.


It’s a wonderful notion.  But is it true for everyone?

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Emily Rowell Brown
What I learned in October

Taking a page from Emily P. Freeman and writing about what I learned this month.

1. I will probably spend the next year or two sick. I used to think I had a great immune system, and then I had two kids.  It turns out, my immune system is nothing spectacular; I just had not been exposed to the germs that pervade children’s spaces on a regular basis. I spent the first half of 2018 sick and frustrated, and never had I been more grateful for summer. When I caught two colds from my one-year-old in the month of September, I threw up my hands and resigned myself to my fate.  I got my flu shot, I wash my hands like crazy, and I open the windows like a mad woman. But there is only so much I can do.

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Emily Rowell Brown
How I consume the news

Right now, it’s tempting to turn off the radio, television, and internet news alerts altogether and hide under a rock. I get it! In 2018, there is no nuance, civil discourse, or middle ground, it seems. Yet I also believe it is important to stay informed.

Like most millennials, I consume the news digitally (We’ve actually never had a paper newspaper subscription!). I’ve chosen to subscribe to several email newsletters that arrive in my inbox every weekday.

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Emily Rowell Brown
What I learned in August

Taking a page from Emily P. Freeman's What We Learned, a chance to pause to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the future. The sharings are silly, serious, sacred, and just plain useful. 

1.  Scalp care is as important as hair care.  

I jumped on the dry shampoo train this past year, and I have loved the time it has saved me blow drying my hair.  What I haven't loved?  The feeling of buildup of dry shampoo near my scalp.  I began to question if dry shampoo was for me.  I sweat a lot in my exercises classes, and I thought I was prone to dandruff, which typically means you need to wash more often, not less. 

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Emily Rowell Brown
Move your body

Have you ever watched babies or toddlers dance?  Isn't it the best?  Sometimes I hear the music that inspires my eleven-month-old to shake his head back and forth, and sometimes he finds a beat that only he can hear.  But he loves to move his body.  He has his go-to moves right now: bouncing across the room on his butt, shaking--never nodding--his head rapidly (why is no so much more fun than yes?), clapping his hands together, pedaling his heels backward in Downward Dog.

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Emily Rowell Brown
Summer fun list

Summer officially started last week, and school has only been out for two weeks, but why does it feel like the season is already halfway over?  I will admit that I have been dreading this season.  Having two little kids, no consistent childcare, and no lighter workload makes summer extra stressful rather than leisure-filled.  Add the fact that my husband will be away for half of the time and I have decided to approach Summer 2018 with low expectations.  Still, I am hoping to operate slightly above survival mode.  In the spirit of setting realistic goals, and taking a page out of Laura Vanderkam's book, here is my brief and simple summer fun list.

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Emily Rowell Brown
Becoming Mom

Most of us have experienced imposter syndrome at some point: How did they let me into this college--I can't really be smart enough to go here!  Did they know what they were doing when they hired me?  They're letting me take this child home...by myself?

I don't know about you, but identities have always taken some time to "click" with me.  I felt like I was playing house for the first couple of years of my marriage and serving as longtime round-the-clock babysitter to my children.  Even those identities I always "had"--Christian, woman, southerner--hit me suddenly.  I may have grown up in the church, but there was a moment when I realized, "Huh.  Not everyone would share these same stories and faith." 

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Emily Rowell Brown
Subscription services that are worth it--and ones that aren't

It's 2018, y'all, and subscription services have taken off (Although, ironically, magazines and newspaper subscriptions are at on all-time low).  It makes sense from the businesses' part: guaranteed repeat customers and revenue.  In the past year, I have experimented with many of the services out there and have found that not everything works as a subscription (at least for me).  Here are some favorites and not-favorites:

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Emily Rowell Brown
All the ways that kids humble you

Dan and I are recovering from what seems to be our thirteenth cold this winter (in all seriousness, I think it's the fifth, but I swear we have been sick more days this season than we have been well), and it has made me think about all the ways our lives have changed with young children in the house.  Sure, many of the cliches are true--there are more messes and spills, more silliness, more laughter, more poop--but those things that people do not talk about have caught me by surprise. 

Like:

Your child will always find the zit on your face, and earnestly and loudly ask, in a very public place, "Mommy, what's that red thing on your chin?"

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Emily Rowell Brownkids, faith, grace