As a kid, I spent large amounts of time daydreaming. It was until I was in my 30s that I realized not all people have stories, characters, and conversations going on in their heads at all times. As a preschooler, I had imaginary friends named Junie, Rabie, and Aprica. I liked them more than real people, probably because I could boss them around. And they weren’t bound by the laws of physics (you know, being as they were imaginary and all.)
In grade school I often heard the phrase, “Dawn spends a lot of time talking instead of doing her work.” It wasn’t until the 4th grade that teachers started saying, “Dawn spends a lot of time talking instead of doing her work, but she comes up with creative stories.” I took that as a green light to continue talking and telling stories. It sure beat the heck out of learning my times tables.
In high school, my mom complained about my “attitude problem” (although, between you and me, my attitude was really only a problem for her). I repeatedly heard the phrase, If only you’d apply yourself and work up to your potential. I was convinced that I was brilliant and really didn’t need to prove that fact to anyone by doing something as mundane as homework.
Because of my less-than-enthusiastic approach to school, I opted to get a job instead of going to college to do yet more homework. Since I was 18 and thus knew everything, no one could talk me into a less stupid plan.
In 1992 I married the first guy who came along because at the age of 22, I was still stupid yet I still thought I knew everything. (It wasn’t until I had kids that I realized I know nothing.) I had Austin in 1994, followed by Savannah, Jackson, Lexington, Clayton, and Brooklyn. Yes, I know they’re all named after cities. Yes, I did it on purpose. No, I won’t be having any more kids so you guys don’t have to send me any more suggestions like Tuscaloosa, Schenectady, Tallahassee, or Rancho Cucamonga. Thanks.
In 2007, I started a blog so I could share my hard-earned wisdom and parenting advice with the world. “The world” consisted of my mom, sister, and a couple friends who read my blog regularly. That all changed in 2007, when I auctioned a pack of Pokémon cards on eBay. In the description, instead of writing about the actual cards, I wrote a funny story about grocery shopping with six kids. The auction went viral. Thousands of people emailed me, asking if I’d written anything else. I directed them to my blog and ended up going from about ten readers a day to nearly a hundred thousand daily readers overnight. My blog, BecauseISaidSo.com, sky-rocketed to become one of the most popular mommy blogs on the net.
The success of my blog awarded me a publishing contract with Guideposts who printed my book Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) in April, 2009. In November, 2010, Simon and Schuster published my second book You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth). Simon and Schuster also published an updated version of Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) in July, 2011. Currently, I’m doing research for my new book. “Doing research” is a nice way of saying, “Thinking about writing another book despite the fact I haven’t written a single word because I’m too busy doing laundry.”
Somewhere in 2010 I became unstupid. Coincidentally, that’s the same year I got divorced. In 2011, my kids and I moved to central Florida. It’s pretty awesome being so close to the ocean. And Disney World. (I bet Walt wouldn’t have told me to work up to my potential; he would’ve let me daydream and tell my stories.)
Here in the Florida sunshine, I practice my juggling skills daily. On any given evening, I can be found taking one child to cheerleading practice, dropping off another at church, making dinner, going to the grocery store, running away from cockroaches the size of Buicks, paying the bills, kissing a boo-boo, reading a bedtime story, cleaning up muddy footprints, folding laundry, taking a child to the ER, and explaining to my kids why they can’t have an indoor Slip ‘N Slide or a pet squirrel.