Does my face look big in this blog? And parental stress. And publishing.

Hullo – time for a new theme, I reckon. Is my face too big up there?

It looks big. Ah well, blog design is really not my forte. I like good fonts, lots of white space, and that’s really as far as I usually get.

I’ve had a rough couple of days, mostly to do with my little one growing up and suddenly wanting to do everything herself. Quite forcefully. She had her first public tantrum-thingy yesterday, as we were getting on the ferry to come back home. She wanted to walk down the ramp by herself, with me waiting at the top. Water on both sides, a reasonably steep incline…hm, sorry love, but I’m going to have to insist here. You’re only two and a half. Good on your feet, but not always. Plus the platform is moving with the water – you get the picture. She wound up lying down in the middle of the ramp, crying. One poor guy tiptoed over her (“I’ll just slip by”) and I’m there trying to get her on her feet without looking like a child abuser. Bah.

Then we got home and she would not take a nap. Kept coming upstairs (“I up!”) and grinning like wasn’t it the coolest thing in the world? I was trying to have my instant noodles (a bad habit for lunch I seem to be unable to extricate myself from), and read some online news (so out of the loop these days), and recover a little sanity after the morning’s excursion. I made the mistake of suggesting we go lie down on the bed (the “big bed”) downstairs. She was keen. We lay down under the blankets…and Steve rang.

Up she pops, and that was it. I was so tired, I thought to myself surely it’s reasonable for a two and a half year old to potter around while I snooze here. There’s nothing that dangerous around the house, if she needs anything she’ll come and get me and so on, and so on. The sun was hot on my back and all I wanted to do was sleep. Sleep for a million years.

In fairness, she did potter around a bit – brought some books into the room and read to herself, all while I was lying there thinking I need to get up now, really, only the sun feels so good… but things eventually came to a head. I can’t even really remember what happened. She got cranky, then accidentally headbutted me, then started crying, and crying for “Daddeee!” over and over. I was sore, then crying, and then she was trying to get into a bag of books I’d just bought while we were in town (stressful with a little person in the bookstore, but I was so determined to use my store credit), that yes, I snapped. Picked her up and roughly put her on the bed, on her back. Nothing dangerous or nasty, I swear, just a bigger sort of bounce than usual. But I think I may have growled at her. Something like “keep out of my things!” Something ridiculous like that. Of course she’s going to be pawing through everything that’s at her level. Duh mama.

More crying. I think the books whacked her as I picked her up. Daddeee! Daddee!

I’m the worst mother ever. I cry. She cries. It’s horrible. What have I done? We have such a good relationship. She and I don’t do this. But I felt so terrible that she didn’t want me (usually I’m the first person she reaches for if she is upset) it’s all came to a head. Felt miserable. Heartbroken.

We both came right, on the couch, having chocolate chip cookies and watching Peppa Pig. An afternoon of indulgence. I still felt horribly guilty for losing my cool, even though I do know it’s totally normal for everyone.

A lot of my stress lately has come from thinking about me and wondering what I’m going to do with myself. I need some sort of thing, apart from being a mother, but lately it takes up my whole day. Some sort of job? Writing project? I’m feeling really discouraged in that arena as well, truth be told. Lots of submissions, lots of rejections. I feel like what I write doesn’t fit into usual genres. I can’t find homes for my stories. People want strong genre, or literary fiction. What I write is usually neither. I’m so awfully confused. I want to keep writing, I enjoy writing, and love finishing things and sending them off. It’s not the rejections in themselves that I am particularly worried about. It’s the not-knowing if I have found a good fit. Not knowing if there is a good fit for them.

Self-publish? I don’t know if I have the balls. A very large part of me wants someone else to say to me “yeah, this is ok. We’ll publish it” rather than making the call myself. I know we are long past the days of “vanity publishing” but it still feels like a huge expression of ego, rather than fitting into the “indie”, “handcrafted” movement that would be awesome to be a part of. Maybe I just need to grow a pair. Stick something out in the world, knowing that it’s not likely to be my life’s finest work but doing it anyway. Seeing it as a place to start.

What do you think?

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