In the past several years, I’ve started and stopped a few blogs. My tumblr was supposed to be the one that would make me take it seriously, to start posting and gathering a “following.” That was after the one on Posterous (doesn’t exist anymore) but before Medium, where I had written a few anti-T***p blogs but then feverishly deleted them on election night when I thought Pinochet had just risen to power and I’d be “disappeared” due to my resistance. A couple months of the Clown Show and now I realize that was a hasty decision, but come on!! Who knew?! Then there is also a quora profile with very little content, and most likely a couple others I have since forgotten. But I think the theme here is pretty clear: it’s easy to start things, not so easy to keep them going. Yet here I am again.
I’ll eventually stop telling my origin story because, frankly, it’s a little tired at this point. However, every new blog deserves a beginning and this one is mine…
As a teenager growing up in 1980s suburbia—think Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, only with a less fancy house and no Jake in a Porsche waiting for me—I remember wanting to grow up to be a “businesswoman” … whatever that was. Since Detroit didn’t offer quite the chic, urban experience I was looking for, I set my sites on other livable cities. I almost moved to New York or Boston after graduating from the University of Michigan with a BA in French (suck it, Econ majors!), but like many young people in the Midwest, I wound up in Chicago. Do not @-me about our problems. I am well aware. But I’ll never diss the place where everything good in my life has happened. It’s home, and I’ll always love it.
I’ve been a working mom and a stay-at-home mom, and while each side often demonizes the other, I am privileged and honored to have done both. When I was working, my husband of twenty years (!) and I were fiercely competitive and achieved a modicum of success working in sales and trading at different investment banks. We shared some of the same customers, which made client entertainment (when we were allowed to do it) a lot of fun. We worked hard in high-stress environments, but the compensation allowed us the freedom to save aggressively for our family when I was in my 30s, and basically “retire” by my 40th birthday, just about 16 years to the day after I started. I know this is not normal, and I was beyond fortunate to be able to do so without great economic hardship to our family. I’ll always be grateful for it.
As most women who move from a position of equal economic footing with their spouse to one that is reliant know, it was not the easiest adjustment. But it wasn’t just the economic aspect, it was social and emotional as well. I had gone from feeling—let’s face it—important, to “just a mom” and that was difficult. But it didn’t take long for me to embrace all that was good about my new role, and to also find the time to enjoy many of the things my very busy work life had kept me from. Knowing that so many women did and do all the things I was handling while still working, I started to say I had merely given up one of my two jobs. But to some in my circle, my leaving the workforce was a betrayal of sorts. I was getting off easy, I was wasting my time. I was even told to my face that I was leading a “Lollapalooza life”—a dig that meant I was unserious and un-respectable. At that point, you just have to shrug and move on. If that is what someone thinks about you, it says more about them than you.
To be fair, I am sure there are a million things I could have done more of and better during these last several years, but that could be said of anyone. Of course some people may have issues that they may try to project onto you, and surely not everyone will agree with your life choices. But you can’t let that get in the way of doing what makes you and your loved ones happy. Your life is not a dress rehearsal, this is it.
So that’s where I’m starting this from. Hopefully more and better adventures to share, once I figure out what this site wants to be. In the meantime, Twitter, despite its many pockets of hostility and anonymous trolls, is where you can usually find me and my semi-hot takes on everything from our disastrous political situation to pop culture and cute dogs. Maybe a little “finance” talk too. I hope to cultivate the same kind of great conversations here that I have over there. So please, feel free to share and to ask questions—I have a lot to learn!