with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
Don’t cry over the dead mouse under your desk.
Yeah, I made that move.
The poor little guy looked like he was sleeping. Except he was wrapped in a cobweb. Which meant he’d been resting in peace by my foot for quite a while.
It happened during the early days of the marriage coming apart, and something about that little fella sent me over the edge. I’d been holding it together pretty well at the office until I came in one morning and found him.
O, wee, dead mouse. You did me in.
And I bawled.
Emotionally, I went from zero to 80 mpg in the span of roughly one and a half seconds. The perfect tsunami, triggered by four tiny paws pointing at the ceiling.
Ah, crikey. It wasn’t pretty. Ugly, ugly, face-twisting, doubled-over sobs. I couldn’t stop. I hated that I couldn’t stop. But it all came pouring out. I curled up in my desk chair. I covered my face. I tried to get a grip.
Another employee kindly removed the deceased, while another, far less kind, colleague hissed behind me, “There’s no way she’s crying like that just about a MOUSE.”
I got laid off from my job as senior writer — the only writer — at the home design company a month or two later. The mouse story had quickly spread through the office. Jenny had seriously lost her shiz.
I swear to God, the mouse was the beginning of the end. I could feel it in the air. It didn’t matter that I’d put together ass-kickingly good marketing materials for them, it didn’t matter that the catalog I’d written for them brought in serious moolah. Nothing mattered after that. My boss began to regard me with the sort of distaste one generally reserves for the moldy cheese one finds in the back of the meat drawer. No amount of damage control got me back into her good graces. She was finicky to start with, and suddenly, nothing I did could please her.
One dead mouse and two months later, I was laid off (and immediately replaced by a bouncy 20something customer service rep with no baggage, no kids and no writing experience). The job that I’d been counting on to see me through the divorce, the job I’d been counting on to build financial security for me and the girls, evaporated.
I was on unemployment. I thank God for that.
But it was a brutal eye-opener, and a serious double whammy. Lose the man, lose your shiz, lose the job, all in one fell swoop.
Now I find myself spooked by a double shot of commitment issues: career and love. I’m a freelancer again, a free agent, in all parts of my life. I’m afraid of metaphorical mice under the desk, and losing again.
For now, I’m working at being my own boss, finding my own opportunities. But I’d like a partner in life. Someday. Gotta get my mojo back, gotta figure out how. Gotta figure out so much.
So tell me: How did your split affect your work? Did you find that your ideas about career shifted as your life shifted too? What was the dead mouse under your desk?
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