My little girl has always been good at putting things back in shops. She’ll find things she wants or likes and I tell her no so she puts them back on the shelf and we move on. I’ve never had a lot of money as a parent, and I’ve always been cautious with money, so she’s never become accustomed to getting treats.
I’m proud of that quality in her. I’m proud that she doesn’t mind that most of her clothes are second hand, that she doesn’t tantrum for toys in shops, that she doesn’t feel entitled. It’s a good quality in her and it makes parenting her easier, because she throws plenty of challenges at me in other places.
Walking into town recently we passed a little boutiquey dress shop. In the window was a simple blue tea dress with a small print of unicorns with rainbow hair. Miss Rose adores anything rainbow. She’s obsessed with rainbows. Se wants everything to be rainbow colours. Her next biggest obsession is My Little Ponies and unicorns. She spotted this dress and fell in love.
Obviously I told her no. I’ve not shopped in a boutique in my life and I certainly can’t afford to right now. Plus she doesn’t need a new dress. Plus it was teenager sized not four year old sized. With her usual good grace she accepted it and we continued. She didn’t cry or tantrum, she didn’t fuss, but she didn’t forget. She has talked about the blue unicorn print dress every day since.
I work really hard. I put as many hours as I physically and mentally can into my work. I write, I blog, I promote, I network. I take hours out from my family so I can work and my daughters have to accept that quite often mummy is there but not there. I’m with them but I’m working. I carry a lot of guilt for that but I know it’s for them. They’re my motivation.
If I succeed and I sell enough books and I am able to financially support us properly, I want them to have a home with their own bedrooms. And I want to decorate Rose’s with rainbows. I don’t want to worry about the bills coming out, I don’t want to cry if the lawn mower breaks. I want to buy cheese off the counter not in Value plastic wrap.
I want to buy Rose the blue unicorn print dress.
Not because I want her to lose her humility. I wouldn’t ever raise her to be spoiled and entitled, to feel she gets everything she wants the moment she wants it, because I don’t believe in that kind of parenting anyway. But because she’s a good girl. She’s a good girl and her mummy works hard and she never complains. And sometimes it’s nice to get a treat.
Jonathan told me yesterday I’m the most determined person he’s ever met and I understand what he means. I’ve been working towards this goal, writing and making a living from that writing, for my entire life. I’ve been discouraged and disheartened, I’ve felt like a failure, I’ve been told to give up but I’ve never stopped. Some say determined, others say pig headed.
Why do I do it? Partly because I love it with all my heart. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do and it’s all I’m really good at. I want it intensely and I’m willing to work for it.
But mostly now it’s because of my children. Because they deserve it. They deserve to be inspired by my achievements, to benefit from the stability and comfort that could come from the money I earn, and because dammit my little girl deserves that dress.
By the time she’s grown enough that it will fit I want to be earning enough that I can go into that boutique and buy it for her. Wrap it up in tissue paper, put it in a rainbow bag, and give it to her for a gift. To tell her thank you for being so good, thank you for not fussing or whinging about how much I work, thank you for believing in me. Thank you for being my reason to live when I felt so low, thank you for being my strength when I was afraid, thank you for loving me with such intense purity.
Thank you, Miss Rose, thank you. You deserve that blue unicorn print dress for all that you are, all that you do. And I promise you mummy is working every day as hard as I can to learn and improve and achieve until finally I’ll be able to buy it for you. To prove that it’s all been worth it.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!