Does it look different around here? In the past few days, my website got more than a little facelift—it got a complete overhaul. I’ve been mulling it over for months, and thanks to my incredibly talented blog guru and design genius Julie DeNeen of Fabulous Blogging, it finally happened! Check out the new front page for the full effect of the change.
So, why the change? I am still committed to my Mommy, for Real mission of telling it like it is about parenthood. This blog is therapy—for me, without a doubt, and hopefully from time to time, for you as well. My tagline is “A candid glimpse at the imperfect reality of surviving daily life with kids.” Sometimes I use humor to explore that, and sometimes not. But while much of my writing has to do with parenthood, in the past few years things have begun to shift.
My work at The HerStories Project has taken on a life of its own; not only have we published two books, we just signed a contract with She Writes Press for our upcoming anthology on postpartum depression, Mothering Through the Darkness, to be released in fall 2015. Our call for submissions and entry in our writing contest has been extended to January 1st. You can read our recent post about our decision to sign a contract with She Writes, and you can learn more about the guidelines for our project here. If you’re ready to directly submit an essay (and we hope that many of you will!), you can submit here.
Our most recent book, My Other Ex, released in September, and I have my very first book event coming up next week in Denver! We’re also offering book clubs the chance to schedule a Skype call with us if their book club chooses My Other Ex for their next selection. You can print out a list of discussion questions and learn more about our Skype call offer here. We have also begun to offer writing courses, and that has been a fantastic experience so far. Stay tuned for future courses; we plan to offer several new ones in the new year.
I’m also intermittently working with a colleague of mine to develop and eventually publish a curriculum for a music therapy-based early childhood music program. I still teach early childhood music classes every morning.
For months now, I’ve felt like I’m in the middle of one huge identity crisis. Last spring, my stress level and lack of balance had pushed me to the breaking point. I felt like something had to give, but being rather attached to my many hats, I was reluctant to take any of them off. I felt polarized at best; more accurately, I felt pulled in an unrealistic and ungraceful number of directions, and I was starting to wonder just what the hell I was doing, exactly. Did I want to be a successful writer, publishing my own books? Was my goal to be a widely-read blogger with thousands of followers on social media? Did I want to hone my editing skills for future HerStories publications? And what about my “day job,” the only one that actually brought in a steady paycheck? Of course, being a (hopefully-not-shitty) wife and mother was just a given.
One of the talented writers in our blogging course just introduced me to the term “hyphenated life,” as in: I’m a writer-blogger-music therapist-mother-reader-editor-wife-near-future-nervous-breakdown-sufferer. Another close friend of mine, who also wears many hats, described our particular situations as “portfolio careers.” I like it.
At any rate, my new website is an attempt to integrate all of my hyphenated identities. And it also has one more important role: to serve as a portfolio to showcase my work. Yes, you heard me right: I used both “portfolio” and “showcase,” two words which I am rather uncomfortable using. It’s hard to promote ourselves, isn’t it? It feels somehow disingenuous or boastful to say, “Hey! Look what I’m doing here! Have you seen my recent accomplishments?”
Perhaps it’s that unique cocktail of my upbringing that infuses itself into my adult life—Midwestern, Scandinavian, Lutheran girls are raised to be polite, humble caretakers. We do not brag. We do not think too highly of ourselves. And yet, somehow, I emerged as a talkative, assertive, selfist mother. But there is still that niggling sense of shame when I dare to boast of my accomplishments. To be honest, I’m not really sure where that comes from.
As a child, my dad drilled into both my brother and me that we had such natural abilities. “You’re so marketable; everyone wants you,” he told me confidently when I graduated from college. I would roll my eyes at his suggestions. But of course I was pleased by his faith in me. Perhaps the best advice my dad ever gave me was to believe in myself and to project an image of confidence and competence.
So today I’m sharing my brand new website with you, both shyly and proudly. Please check out my new front page! It’s probably the biggest change around here, as it’s been completely redone! I’d like to invite you to subscribe to my brand-new soon-to-be weekly newsletter in the email box below. I feel uncomfortable asking you to have a look around and visit my new portfolio page, my redeveloped featured writing list, and my updated About Me page. It feels icky. But, what the hell? Hi, I’m Stephanie. I’m a writer-editor-blogger-music therapist-mother, and I hope you’ll stick around and explore a while. Perhaps you’ll find something here that inspires you, comforts you, or entertains you. I’m pretty good at what I do. I bet you are, too.
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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post.
Today’s sentence was: “The best advice my dad ever gave me was…”
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