Nine months ago, I left Scary Mommy, filled with excitement and optimism over how the next few months would unfold.
Two years after having sold my company and signed on in a senior role there, the novelty had worn off. Most of my time was spent fighting to maintain the sense of community and connection I’d built, which didn’t align with the financial decisions necessary to run a rapidly growing business. While the evolution was thrilling, it was also painful seeing things go in directions I hadn’t foreseen and didn’t necessarily support. The brand I’d once loved so dearly had begun providing me far more angst than it did joy. There was no doubt it was time for me to leave.
The first couple of weeks of freedom were downright liberating. Following two years of traveling weekly to the NYC office, it was a joy not spending my days on phone calls or tied up in endless meetings. My wardrobe returned to the yoga pants and tanks I’d so missed and I was free to stay offline and blissfully unaware of fleeting social trends and analytics. I didn’t even miss the luxury of hotel stays and a corporate credit card. I felt ready, willing and excited to jump into my Act Two, whatever it held. Look out world!
But that’s not what happened. Instead, I totally fell apart.
My separation and impending divorce felt even sadder and more shocking once the reality set in. Though Jeff and I pride ourselves on the relationship we’ve been able to maintain, having three kids shuffling between two houses just plain sucks. Alone time, something I’d previously relished, felt nothing but lonely and depressing. And when the kids were with me? Let’s just say tweens and teens don’t provide a hell of a lot of joy.
A few months before my Scary Mommy departure, I’d moved into a new house longing for a clean, fresh start. Desperate for that new beginning, I packed the back of a pickup truck with our most important belongings and left everything else with price tags for someone else to claim. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a clean start when a house is in the throes of a complete (and necessary) renovation. The kids begged to stay at Jeff’s for the six months it would take to complete, and any excitement over the new house disappeared under a thick coating of dust and debris.
My days, formerly spent working with people I’d hired and considered some of my closest friends, were suddenly void of human contact other than with my contractor who had gone from one of my favorite people to someone I could barely stand to be around. I unfollowed all things Scary Mommy and the people associated with it – it was just too painful to see my brand and friends move on without me there.
And then there was the toll all of this took on my health, flaring up my Colitis and adding a brand new fancy Bipolar diagnosis to the mix after a manic episode following a week without sleep. The summer and fall were a roller coaster ride of new medications, therapy and treatments which left me flat, depleted and hopeless.
At 41, I had no idea who I was anymore, or who I wanted to be. Worst of all, I couldn’t see any way out.
Now’s the part of this where I’d like to wrap things up in a nice pretty bow, along with some inspiring words about having come through the muck and into the light of possibility and hope. Unfortunately, I’m not there yet… not by a long shot.
But I do find myself in a place so similar to a decade ago when, on a whim, I started writing that little mommy blog. Through my writing and your responses back then, I found the village I was so desperate for, and the one that transformed my life. So here I am once again – longing for the connection and community I gave up.
The issues I face today may not be as universally relatable as life with little kids, but I think my feelings of fear, uncertainty and anxiety certainly are. Life is hard, but I’ve learned it’s less hard the less alone you feel.
I’m still figuring out the best way to tackle this now, with kids whose lives aren’t mine to share and who follow all the words I put out there. For the first time in nine months, though, I actually want to figure out a way. Once I do, I hope you’ll join me.