Divorce as a SAHM

If your relationship has been declining, you may not want to consider that you’re headed toward a divorce. But this is exactly when you need to start thinking about your future without your spouse. A little preparation can go a long way in formulating and executing a successful exit strategy. This is especially crucial when you have children and no tangible financial way to independently support them.

I know a little bit about this because, in the year preceding my divorce, the alarm bells continuously sounded. Every day, there was some further sign that my marriage was ending. Soon, instead of wondering what would happen if I got a divorce, it changed to what would happen when I got a divorce. And that forced me to make some plans.

I was a stay-at-home mom then, with three kids from 10 years old down to a newborn. We didn’t have a ton of money, but not having any of my own was downright terrifying. I let the terror paralyze me for a little while until one day, I knew I had to act. If I wanted to put myself in a better financial (and mental) place to go through a separation and divorce, I needed to build up some resources.

Mother Untitled gave me some space on their website to share how I got through those trying times. Divorce is an emotional and mental rollercoaster. But doing it when you don’t have a paycheck in your name feels like you’re riding that coaster without a seatbelt. With a little planning and a few actions, you can give yourself a lap bar to provide some measure of stability during your divorce.

Do you have any pre-divorce preparation tips you wish you knew at the time?

The Ghost of Boyfriends Past

We all have relationships that we would LOVE to go back and erase. Stop our former selves from ever even looking in the direction of that person to save us from a whole lotta heartache, stress, frustration and pain.

And then there are those former loves who never actually leave our hearts. All sorts of things conjure those memories–a song, a mutual friend, a favorite sports team. Those are the relationships we might like a chance to do over. Most of the time, though, we don’t get that opportunity, so we continue to pine away for what might have been.

However, I did get a second chance to reconnect and try out a past relationship in a more mature headspace. And Insider gave me chance to spill the beans on that time I ghosted a guy in high school and went on to marry him 17 years later. Shout-out to my husband for being so cool with the fact that I’m sharing some of his pain with the world. What guy wouldn’t want to be outed for listening to Exposé when he was 16? I wonder if this is why he stopped making eye contact with our neighbors?

Your turn: Do you have a long-lost love that you still think about? Even if you’re in a good space, do you sometimes wonder if only things had been different? Or have you ghosted someone who absolutely deserved it for one reason or another. Drop me a line and fill me in on the good and the bad of your ghosts of past relationships.

We’re Not Blended …

My husband and I came into this marriage with a whole lot of battle scars and fresh divorce decrees under our belts. While we muddled through to find our footing, we dragged our combined five kids along. What could possibly go wrong? We loved each other and our kids. And isn’t that all it takes to succeed at this blended-family thing?

Nope. As it turns out we were wrong. So.Very.Wrong.

Scary Mommy gave me the chance to pull back the curtain on parenting in a more scrambled than blended situation.

Have you been successful at blending your family? Or is yours a little more scrambled and scattered like mine? Maybe you vacillate between the two. Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it. Drop me a line and let me know whether you’re killing the step-parenting gig or it’s killing you.

Why I Write

“What is it about writing that makes you want to do it?” The old office chair creaked as Dr. Raymond leaned back. It was the first day of my first creative writing class. I didn’t dare look away because that would have begged him to call on me, so I did everything possible to avoid his oversized glasses as they tracked across the room.

The reality at that time was that I didn’t have an answer, except it checked off a box in a college catalog. It likely worked best with my attempt to sleep in until at least 10:00 a.m. every day. I was a college sophomore, fresh from switching my major for the fourth and final time. I officially branded myself as an English major, although I didn’t know what the hell I would do with it.

I did know what I didn’t want to do; I didn’t want to work in an office. I had spent summers and school breaks helping my sister at a law firm, where I earned a repurposed Burger King crown that dubbed me “The Copy Queen.” I cringed when the phone rang, and everyone else was tied up because it meant I had to answer it. And I usually couldn’t understand what the person said on the other end, which made for some interesting messages. [“Some guy who sounds like he has a stick up his butt is on the phone.”]

So, knowing this, can you guess what I did for the first fifteen years post-college? I worked in offices. Because as I discovered, the very thing you swear you won’t do is the thing you have experience doing and gets you a job the fastest.

My first paid writing job didn’t come until after I turned 40, when I started writing SEO content. It was cool to get paid to put together blogs and articles for other people, but it wasn’t the stuff I wanted to write. It didn’t allow me to use my voice or wild imagination. The kind of writing that moved me was the stuff I spent very little time doing as an adult.

Here’s the crazy part – I had been doing it my entire life. I loved making up stories where none existed. It was a way I entertained myself throughout life. It was the stuff that came in whispers through my brain while on vacation or in the middle of a work meeting. I’d hear or see something that made me think, “What if” or “I wonder what would happen” or “Wouldn’t that make a cool story?” Even though I listened sometimes, I didn’t pay them too much attention.

I think it took me so long to listen to those whispers because I needed time to get braver. My imagination is a powerful force that I thought was best left inside the confines of my skull because other people may not understand. I think I needed the time to grow up and into this notion that these voices may entertain other people, too.

And I suppose that’s where this comes full circle. After 25 years of muddling through, I can finally answer Dr. Raymond’s question, “What is it about writing that makes you want to do it?”

I write because I can.
I write because I should.
I write because I need to.
I write because it terrifies me.
I write because it invigorates me.
I write because it makes me feel safe.
I write because it makes me feel vulnerable.
I write because it’s like air filling my lungs.
I write because I have stories to tell in a way only I can.
I write because I want to make my family proud.
I write because I want to make myself proud.