No, the giveaway isn’t of the teenager variety. (Thank goodness!) =) We’re thrilled to have fellow mom and author Catherine Kean at Peanut Butter on the Keyboard today! In addition to fabulous historical romance, Catherine also writes flirty and fun contemporary romances under the pseudonym of Cate Lord. Welcome, Catherine!
When my daughter was young, I dreaded her becoming a teenager. Friends had told me that those years would be a nightmare, governed by emotional tantrums and lots of parent/child boundary-pushing. Whether she’d been given parental permission or not, she’d get body piercings and tattoos. Clucking their tongues with sympathy, those friends said, “You and your daughter will end up hating each other.”
Really? My sweet, sensitive, smart girl would turn into a hellion who despised me? I wanted to cry.
My daughter will be seventeen this fall. I’m glad to say, we don’t hate each other. In fact, just the opposite; we’re great friends. Our relationship is different now than it was when she was little, but I’m okay with that. I love the intelligent, artistically-talented young woman she’s become.
I know not every woman is able to be a stay at home mom or a mother who works from home, but I think these factors have helped me stay close to my daughter. When I got pregnant, I made the decision to leave my full-time job—a choice my husband fully supported. I was there when she crawled for the first time, walked for the first time, and when she drew her first animals with crayons. I took her to swimming lessons, taught her how to write letters, and to read. She loved books—still does—and we spent a lot of time in bookstores. J Some of my favorite memories are of us sitting together at the kitchen table painting or making “food” out of Play-Doh.
Being home every day with a small child wasn’t easy, but it was worth every challenge I experienced. It also helped me pursue one of my lifelong dreams: to become a published author. When my daughter took her afternoon nap, I wrote. My first historical romance, A Knight’s Vengeance, was penned during this time. That book was published in mass market paperback in 2006, following my award-winning debut release Dance of Desire in 2005. I can still remember the day that my daughter proudly told one of her elementary school teachers: “My mom’s a published romance author.”
Middle School was a big transition because it meant a larger campus and tougher classes. My daughter had to learn to prioritize her time and deal with peer pressure. Yes, we did have some emotional turmoil then, usually when she was having a busy week and felt overwhelmed with homework. In talking with other parents with kids in their early teens, though, I learned that kind of stress is pretty normal—and to be expected. Were those years hard? Yes. Did we have difficult discussions? Yes. Did she and I end up hating each other? No. What we did end up doing is learning to listen to one another, and at times, to respectfully disagree. I also decided that some issues—like her wanting to cut her hair short and dye it red—were not worth disagreeing over; in the “grand scheme” of life, this is not a big deal. I’m pleased to say I had the honor of speaking to her English class about my writing career, and was thrilled that she and the kids thought I was “cool.”
When my daughter started High School two years ago, that was another big change, and yes, again, we did see struggle with some emotional issues. I also had major changes in my career. After writing and having six paperbacks published, I learned my publisher had decided to stop printing romance novels. I got out of my publishing contract, asked to have the rights to my books returned to me, sold a contemporary romance to a new house, left my agent, and self-published my backlist as eBooks. With her artist’s eye, my daughter critiqued early versions of my eBook covers and gave great suggestions for improvements. She also discovered her own love of writing, and she and I are currently working on a Young Adult novel, a wonderful way to spend time together.
While her homework keeps her pretty busy, my daughter and I make time for each other. We both feel it’s important, and I love that we agree on this. One of our favorite outings when she has a day off school is to head to our favorite mall to have lunch and then shop. We did this the other day. We talked the latest fashions, oohed and aahed over cute tops and dark-wash jeans, and splurged on cute lace-up boots for her as well as some new jewelry. We come home with lots of new goodies, and we both had a wonderful time.
We also continue to share a love of crafts. “Mom,” she said to me the other day, when we got into the car. “Did you know that Michaels is having a sale on beads? Fifty-percent off.” Her eyes were sparkling, and I had to laugh; she knows I have a weakness for sparkly beads. Off we went to Michaels. I now have spools of stretchy cord to make myself a bracelet, and she stocked up on jewelry supplies too. Maybe this weekend, she and I can sit together at the kitchen table like old times and work on our bead projects. If I ask her, I think she’ll happily agree.
Catherine is giving away a Kindle copy of her latest release, A KNIGHT’S PERSUASION, to one random commenter (winner announced Sunday).