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.
Keep up with all my latest posts right here!
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post.
Today’s sentence was: “The best advice my dad ever gave me was…”
Your hosts: Me, Kristi of Finding Ninee, Ruchira of Abracadabra, and Michelle of Crumpets and Bollocks.
I love your new look! It’s clear, easy to navigate and engaging. Splendid work. Congrats on the She Writes front as well. How wonderful. I am thoroughly jealous but in a kicked in the pants, get motivated Kelly kind of way. Thanks for the boot!
Thanks so much for that, Kelly! I appreciate it. And I have that jealous/get motivated reaction ALL the time.
Love the new look! Feels so legit in here 😉 I sure hope I can afford to have Julie give my blog a face lift soon. Congrats on the many achievements! Off to check out that front page. 🙂
Thanks, Jhanis! I highly recommend Julie. She is amazing.
Congrats on everything, the look is beautimous!
Thanks, Kenya! I love it…
Stephanie, it looks fabulous! I want to write in all caps to show my enthusiasm, but that’s a bit obnoxious. The front page is wonderful – makes it easy to access all your excellence. I understand that you may be shy, but you should definitely be proud. I’m proud to know you.
Aw, thanks. I’m proud to know you, too! I really appreciate that.
It looks fantastic!! As do you in your head shot! Purdy!! 🙂
Congrats on all of your successes, and much luck with your next anthology. Fortunately (unfortunately?!), I’ve never struggled with PPD, so I won’t be submitting, but I’m still kicking myself for missing the deadline for My Other Ex! xo
Let’s go with “fortunately” on that front. And thanks! Nice to see your voice! (That is totally weird.)
I love it! This is a great approach to the changes that have been happening in your life over the past two years. I’m in the middle of moving to a stagnant (I hate that word) front page, but alas, so many other things pine for my time. 🙂
Thanks, Kate. I really appreciate that. Yeah, you’ve got a lot on your plate right now… 😉
I feel like I am reading my own writing. I am in a very similar situation and have become stuck on the brink of “success”. I write a newspaper column, have a blog, self-published a book and work as a therapist, but I can’t seem to turn it into a career, especially because I have to promote myself (I had a 12-year ad career, but promoting others is easy!), and because my hyphenated life makes me feel scattered and underperforming at everything. Can we talk sometime?
Yes we can totally talk sometime! It sounds like we have a lot in common. It is so comforting to connect with others who get it!
Absolutely fabulous! I am so proud of my Midwestern, Scandinavian, Lutheran -raised daughter. I’m even prouder of the wonderful young woman she has become.
Thanks mom! 🙂
Congrats, Stephanie! Everything looks amazing. I think I showed up last year when you were in your crisis. You seem to be feeling better–maybe at a place of more control? Not sure if that’s the right way to say it.
I would like to take your writing course someday. If you ever offer scholarships, please let me know.
Yes, definitely- that is a great way to say it. I think a scholarship program is a great idea- that would have never occurred to me. 🙂 🙂 Thanks for being such a great, supportive blog friend!
I love the new look! Congrats Stephanie, it looks fantastic. So interesting for me personally because I’m in the midst of similar change/shift myself both in and out of my blogging life. As we change and evolve so do our blogs.
It is hard for some of us to self-promote but if we don’t, who will? I say this having the same kind of challenges 🙂 But you have much to be proud of, and I’m happy to see the fruits of your labor so beautifully displayed!
So true- as we change and evolve so do our blogs! I can’t wait to find out what you have going on… Thanks for the support and vote of confidence- especially with the icky self-promotion stuff!
It looks great!
Congratulations on the new website look! And, we all wear many hats and it’s only right to celebrate each and every one aspect of ourselves!!
Cheers to that, Roshni! Thanks!
I think your new site LOOKS GREAT! And there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing your accomplishments, and there are many. Congratulations!
Thanks for that, Alison- it means a lot!
I love it! Looks GREAT! You are really on a roll!!
Thanks Susan! Yippee!!
I really like this new look Stephanie! I especially appreciate that you are willing to accept all the many jobs/interests/talents you have and not discard your passions for just one. Makes me feels less crazy about being a writer-blogger-mama-serenity seeker-content consultant-person 🙂
Thanks for such a thoughtful comment- I’m glad I’m not the only hyphenated mama out there! 🙂
As you know, I love love love the new look. You and Julie did a most excellent job. And why is it really that self promotion feels so icky? Is it because we know that there will be people who feel jealous? Those who feel we don’t deserve it? That WE feel we don’t deserve it? I have such a hard time with self promo too (and I think it shows). You should be completely proud and happy at how much you’ve done in the past couple of years – it’s a LOT a LOT A LOT. And you. You are a lot a LOT too. You’re amazing and wonderful. And well you already know this too but I love you.
I really don’t know exactly what it’s all about. But I know you get it. And I’m grateful for that. xo
Loved your site, and as I mentioned earlier…I love your voice!
Yes, believing in oneself is so important. It projects our confidence to the world and we can tread upon any path 🙂
I really appreciate that, Ruchira- thank you!
I love the new look. I do remember it being different the last time I was here to visit you for another FTSF. I can totally relate to you wearing the different hats. Though I don’t have as many things going on, I am thinking of spreading my wings to new heights that will be “showcased” on my blog really soon. I’m still working out all the ideas hoping to make a plan to manage my time wearing these additional hats so they won’t interfere with my normal wife and mommy duties.
Good luck! I can’t wait to see what it will bring for you!
Looks great! A landing page was a good idea to showcase all your projects.
This all looks fantastic. I’m excited to read more from you as I continue through my own hyphen induced paralysis! Thanks for being so brave to put it out there .
Thank you for that- I appreciate it! xo
congrats on it all…self promotion is vital, we all need to get ourselves out there. I think your dad’s advice was perfect! You go!
I love the new look. I really like the color choices. It looks fun, girly, yet professional and totally unique.
Thank you so much!!
Finally getting to catch up a bit this morning while I can and just wanted to tell you your site looks gorgeous and definitely love how far you have come, but you 100% most definitely deserve it. Very proud of you and just glad we got to know each other from almost the beginning, early blogging days. You are amazing and your dad’s advice was perfect. Congrats on all your success so far and wishing you so much more to come now, too 🙂
Aw, thanks Janine! I feel grateful that we met each other when we were both starting out. We have both come a long way! Thanks for your kind words! xo
I love the way you did this post – it is wonderful. as you know I too have reached a breaking point (and wrote about it on Wednesday). I love that you have your breaking pint – but Love that I am not alone, does that make sense? And your dad’s advice is spot on – and he must be very proud! Finally, the new look rocks!
Thanks Allie! Just read your post from Wednesday- we are in this together!
I’ve already told you how much I LOVE the new design, but I totally get what you’re saying. In fact, one of my blog post ideas on my on-going list is about self-promotion and how much I hate it. But, in this overly saturated media world we live in, you have to do it to get noticed. Sad, but true. 🙂
Anyway, I submitted to the anthology too. I have no expectations, but am just proud of myself for actually submitting something when I’ve said I was going to for the last two. 😉 I’m a big fan Stephanie and always look forward to everything you write!
Thank you so much for the support- I think many of us struggle with the icky self promotion!
Love the new site. It encompasses all that you are very well. I’m looking for a new website design now and it’s taken me months to decide what I want.
It is such a hard decision. Thanks April!
Stephanie: your website obviously looks wonderful, as the comments above show. I also think that you are handling your various roles quite well. There is a lot of balancing going on. But I think that is what keeps us interested and interesting. Best of luck with your new ventures; I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring!
Thanks so much, Anna!
Looks great, Stephanie! I understand the ick factor. Whenever I feel like I did something self-promoting I have to go lie down for a while to get over it! I think you’re doing it right.
Ha! Thanks for that… 🙂 🙂
I suck at self promotion. Recently I had to send in a bio and struggled so much at how to describe me, the person. Love the new site!