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December 30, 2008


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My kids are definitely my greatest successes. They are 24, 16, 8 and 6, and at this point I can see that my oldest is doing quite well--he's a great person. My 16 year old looks like she's off to a good start, and hopefully the other two will be good as well. They're great to be around at this point.

I know in my heart they are the most important thing I could ever do. But, when I look at our debt, our lack of a retirement plan, our lousy financial situation... When I think of our ages (early 40's), it's scary and depressing to see how much better off our contemporaries are...even if they aren't as successful in some of the areas we are, like family.

I guess you never get the whole package. Or, at least rarely.


I am nowhere near where I thought I would be seven years ago, or even four. I go back and forth on whether I am ok with this. I am, right now. Mostly because the field I am in is growing as people are coming to understand and respect it more. It is also very susceptible to monetary pressures on institutions of higher learning, so it's now in a fairly deep freeze. So finding a job now would be next to impossible, and though I have a position where I have been somewhat underutilized, things are getting better. I have a great boss and interesting colleagues. I am learning things I didn't know before. I am also applying for another job, with my boss's blessing. If it doesn't work out, I will stay where I am and try to make a bigger impact. My boss had bigger plans, but they have to be scaled back now due to the money thing. They may yet happen, but in a number of years more. I try to tell myself that I have those years, that I have many years of career development still ahead of me. Wheeew, that's long.

I am sorry about your job. I think I remember from NO what it was. You were so proud to get it, I remember. This sucks, and I am sorry.

What good but also scary news about your mom. I wish her an easy recovery from the next surgery, and many many years of cancer free healthy life.

Are you still thinking about writing the BF book? If yes, I have an idea for an essay I would like to contribute. I didn't get it in when you were soliciting because I was myself swamped...

I hope you find the time/energy to write again. You are not the only one who is missing it. :)


You can have it all but not all at the same time. You spent years trying to have a family. You did it!


I wonder if anyone feels like they are where they meant to be. I certainly don't -- I was supposed to be a successful writer by now. But my friends who are single think I'm ahead of them because I have a family. So I just don't know.


Infertililty sucks so much of your life that other things get put aside, or lost altogether. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but that is the conclusion to which I have come. The total amount of time I have spent on bedrest equals nearly a year. That doesn't count the time spent in doctors' offices or having tests or recovering from surgeries. Who knows what I could have accomplished if I had that time back. But I look at my kids and know I wouldn't trade them for whatever career success I might have gained. I suspect you spent so much time with your own battle that you lost a lot of time as well. I think you should cut yourself some slack, celebrate the successes you have (two beautiful children that you fought long and hard for!) and know you are an amazing woman who still has time to realize other dreams.


You know? I just wrote a huge post on this year. I was going to be a PhD in astrophysics, go around the world on major telescopes and have my husband work with me. I got close. I dropped the PhD thing to marry my husband. I got a job in astronomy anyway. I made it through infertility with still a healthy fear of needles, yet with two wonderful and crazy kids.

I still miss doing the science that I wanted to. I wish I could finish the book I started, but you know what? Life ain't bad.

And the fact that you may not have that mirror shipped in from Bali is made up by MP and Chloe... :)


Cliche but my greatest successes are my twins. When I was struggling with IF, I wanted NOTHING more than to be able to conceive, carry my child to term, and give birth. That experience was slipping further and further away and my soul was dying. I could not remember caring more about anything else in life. Suddenly, finishing my teaching degree, buying that nice big house, or finding a satisfying job was no longer significant. And you know what, even after I have my twins, I still feel that way. Nothing is more important to me than being a great mother to my children. It doesn't matter if I ever accomplish anything else in life, I have succeeded... because this is the ONE thing that I wanted SOOOO MUCH in life. And many people out there will never understand where I'm coming from but that is quite all right with me.

Most of my high school friends have graduated from college and have high paying careers, large homes, and wonderful marriages. I'm happy for them and wish I could have all that someday but ultimately, I'm content. If I had everything that they have, but not my precious babies, I still would be empty and sad. I definitely consider myself successful, even with no fame or fortune... because the real fame and fortune are right here at home with me every single day.

Just remember all the wealthy folks out there who could never have their own biological children and want one so badly. Deep down inside, I'm sure they don't consider themselves successful despite their millions. (I wasn't rich, but I had money to spend and freedom to go anywhere before the twins and I was miserable.) I guess what I'm saying is the definition of success is different for everyone. To me, I have succeeded and everything else that I accomplish will just be icing on the cake!


It’s funny how relative a concept “success” is. I have a master’s degree but because of where I live that doesn’t equate to nearly the salary I thought it would. My boyfriend and I live with our 6-month-old son in a 2 bedroom rented townhouse with no clue as to when we will be able to buy our own house. We are drowning in medical bills and student loan debt and living paycheck to paycheck. Meanwhile, my sister and her husband just bought a beautiful, huge house on a lake, but are having trouble getting pregnant. The grass is always greener, I guess. I just try to remind myself that there will always be people who have it better than I do, and people who have it worse.


Is this from the evils of facebook? Finding out what friends from past lives are up to? Because sometimes, it's all a cruel joke, plus everyone seems to make their lives seem so much better than they probably actually are (or at least that's what I keep telling myself).

I still work full time at the same job, but since my kids were born, I've slowed down. I have my whole life to achieve things at work; I have only a few years when my children will actually want to spend time with me. Success can wait, parenting can't. You, too, young thing that you are, have plenty of years ahead to write books and achieve other non-parenting successes. But what's better than what you're doing now?

Rachel Inbar

I think my greatest success was getting out of a bad marriage and into a good one.

I feel jealous at the opportunities that other people have, but I know that someday I'll be able to do much more than I can today.



You are a great writer with a great voice and now -- a great topic to write about. You did a great job of writing about infertility in your blog _The Naked Ovary_. Why not take the blog and make it into a memoir after the fact? That would be a book in and of itself.

Have you read the new memoir by Elizabeth McCracken about her pregnancy that ended in a stillbirth? It's entitled _The Exact Facsimile . . . ._ (Can't remember the whole title.) It's terrific, but when I read it all I could think was, "Well, I've read a dozen blogs that were just as good." And I was thinking of yours.

The mid-life crisis of family and professional failure seems like a hard one to figure out, but it doesn't have to be. Don't get bitter and waste energy comparing yourself to others. Instead use your energy to do what you do better than anyone else. You really can do it.

The above is a version of a pep talk that I give myself every single day. I have a book contract and I'm trying to finish the book while parenting two small children. It's been very hard so far, but I am still trying. I hope that never giving up will count for something in the long run.

Because every day when I wake up I really do want to do this again!

And you do too. You know it.



Everyone's life and experiences are so different. The only thing you can look at with 100% certainty in life is being honest with yourself and where you are. Are you where you want to be? Are you happy with your life and the people/experiences in it? If not, work to change the most important things. If you are happy with your life, it's much easier to be happy with where your friends are. No one has it all, but you can work to have your life contain all that is important to you.


It is very very hard not to compare. And when I do, it causes emotions way more towards the wilted lettuce end of the spectrum than inspirational. The guy I graduated at the top of my high school class with is now a surgeon, and I am in a job I hate making much less of a difference in the world. My baby sister's house is much nicer and ten thousand times cleaner than mine. But I have 3 excuses, ahem, children, age 4 and under. Things have to give somewhere, and we all have the freedom to choose where.


Here's one thing that IF--both in blogs and real life--helped me learn better than just about anything: you often cannot tell, just by looking at someone, whether they're going through terrible, sad things that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

In fact, I remember seeing a picture of you on your old blog, many years ago, and thinking, "but she's gorgeous--how can she be unhappy?" It's cliched, but just because someone has the trappings--the great job, the glamorous lifestyle, the publication--doesn't mean that they are, in fact, happy. For me, when I see things like this for people I know, I find it stops to help for a minute and think, "but wait, was I pleased with my life before I read that?"

All that being said, sometimes I think that these experiences can be eye-opening in really good ways, perhaps spurring you on or making you re-evaluate some of your priorities.

Best of luck in the new year--I'm so glad to hear your mom is doing well.


It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of

> response,

> the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the

> phone

> and ask to be taken to the store.


> Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

> Obviously, not.


> No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the

> floor,

> or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see

> me

> at all.


> I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of

> hands,

> nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open

> this?

> Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm

> a

> clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to

> answer,

> 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right

> around

> 5:30, please.'


> I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and

> the

> eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum

> laude

> - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to

> be

> seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!


> One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return

> of

> a friend from England


> Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going

> on

> and on about the hotel she stayed in.


> I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together

> so

> well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.


> I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with

> a

> beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'


> It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .


> I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her

> inscription:


> 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you

> are

> building when no one sees.'


> In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I

> would

> discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths,

> after

> which I could pattern my work:


> No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record

> of

> their names.


> These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see

> finished.


> They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.


> The passion of their building was fueled by their fai th that the

> eyes

> of God saw everything.


> A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit

> the

> cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving

> a

> tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the

> man,

> 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam

> that

> will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the

> wor

> kman replied, 'Be cause God sees.'


> I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into

> place.


> It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see

> you,

> Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no

> one

> around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've

> sewn

> on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and

> smile

> over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right

> now

> what it will become.'


> At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not

> a

> disease that is erasing my life.


> It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is

> the

> antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.


> I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder.

> As

> one of the people who show up at a job that they will never

> see

> finished, to work on something that their name will never be

> on.


> The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals

> could

> ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people

> willing

> to sacrifice to that degree.


> When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the

> friend

> he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at

> 4

> in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes

> a

> turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.'

> That

> would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want

> him

> to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say

> to

> his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'


> As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen

> if

> we're doing it right.


> And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not

> only

> at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to

> the

> world by the sacrifices of invisible women.


> Great Job, MOM!


Holy cow, I'm sorry! I tried to cutnpaste that above and somehow it didn't get on here right. I didn't mean it to be a post unto itself!

You *are* accomplishing a great thing. Never forget!


It's so much fun to see a new post from you!

Before I talk about my successes, though, wouldn't you consider having a famous blog a big success? There are kajillions of blogs out in cyberspace for people to read, and yet I've seen some of your blog posts with 600+ responses, which must mean tens of thousands of people tune in to read what you have to write about your life. Would they do that if you were boring or a bad writer? I wonder what percentage of blogs have as many readers as yours has had. A tenth of one percent? I don't know, I consider that a huge success.


I've never been one to value material success. I have a Ph.D. that I'm not using, and I'm a stay-at-home mom making about $15,000 per year in part-time jobs. But I still consider having a Ph.D. a success. I had to surmount so many obstacles for so many years to finally get it, and not many people have one.

I'm a gifted teacher. I teach computer classes to adults. I am able to explain complex concepts clearly to people with no experience and make them understand and enjoy computers. I do so with a sense of humor and a never-ending supply of patience. My students rave about my teaching skills and some keep taking any computer classes I teach, even if they hadn't planned to take any more classes, just because they know they'll learn something from ME. So yeah, I teach at a continuing education program at night, which is hardly a career, but I feel that I'm so good at what I do and that people appreciate it. That makes me feel successful.

And then there are things that I don't consider my own "successes," but rather things in my life that I'm voraciously proud of: my completely awesome husband, my wonderful children, our beautiful house in the woods.

I have friends who work full-time at impressive careers, have written books, make upwards of $300,000 per year, are semi-celebrities in their fields, have run marathons, and I admire them. But I can't say that I'm jealous or that they make me feel inadequate. There are so many different roads to success. I feel that my life is absolutely exactly how I want it.

I suppose that didn't help. I think you're wildly successful. The end.


P.S.: I've taught writing at colleges before and it's NOT all it's cracked up to be! ;-)


P.S.S.: I'm so relieved for you about your mom!


I'm going through this exact same crisis right now - I'm calling it a midlife crisis. For me, it's comforting to know that others are feeling the same way. I'm hopeful that this period of introspection will lead to something positive, but it feels yucky right now.

My assvice (and what I am doing now) - find a way to volunteer with the less fortunate, even if just as a one time thing - to get some perspective. Good luck.


I think you already have the makings for a great book! See, I keep thinking how I would buy that book "The Naked Ovary" if it were ever published!! Think about it ... with the Barren Karen comics ... it slayed me. I always hoped that you would resurrect that blog, just for the archives, because I never did get to read them all


It was worst for me when my ten year high school reunion approached. It was a small town, and my mom works in a local high school. What I hadn't heard about my classmates successes, she had, and told me in great detail - never understanding why I was less than thrilled to hear, "Oh, I ran into so-and-so's mom, and she's a lawyer now." or the countless others living exciting, successful lives. I'd graduated right there with them, in the top ten of my class. I WAS happy for them, but sorry for myself - I'd accomplished absolutely nothing but a failed marriage (with my only pregnancy ending in miscarriage, so not even a family to brag about) and lived alone with two cats. It got even worse when my ex-husband contacted me, wanting to reconcile.

My family thinks I've lost my mind, but I realized it didn't matter what I had or hadn't done, but that I could still do something with my life. I quit my job, packed up and moved across the country. Found a job I love and a close-knit group of friends. Even more importantly, I met someone a million times better than the ex I left behind, and we'll be getting married in May.

No, I'm not where I thought I'd be, but I'm actually happy now. I'm where I belong.

You've accomplished more than you realize, too. I've been reading your blog since its old incarnation - since before you got MP. MP and Chloe are accomplishments you should be proud of, and as has already been said, so is your blog.


Ugh. That's such a dangerous question that I don't ask myself. I relate to a lot of what you posted. I started having babies at 25 and didn't stop 6 years. Now I'm in my mid 30's with children I love, a husband I love, and a little house that I love too. But I still feel restless. And I feel tremendously guilty about that.

I'm glad your mom is doing well. :)


My best friend growing up (from age 3 until I graduated high school and moved across the country) is now a thin, beautiful actress living in L.A. I google her every few months to see what she's up to, and while I am so proud of her for following her dream, I always wind up feeling bad about myself.

I am happy with my life - loving husband, great toddler with another baby on the way, good job, money in the bank, and the best damn girlfriends a gal could ask for. But seeing her glamorous (to me)life always makes me wonder what happened to the girl I used to be.


You make me want to cry. I also have an out of network bill for my daughter's birth that I am avoiding and I am beyond depressed about my current job situation. I need to go back, finish my bachelors so I don't spend the rest of my life regretting it--oh, except for needing the money and the time to do that...

My success? I have three beautiful children and I just moved out of the ghetto into a nice place. That's about all I have right now...


Heh....I went from grade school through high school with Lisa Kudrow. The Lisa Kudrow who starred in Friends. The first boy I ever kissed was Dave Koz (famous jazz sax guy). I could make myself crazy with the success of the people I grew up with, if I wanted to focus on that.

The reality is that I, and you, are better off focusing on what we have done, not what we haven't done. Success means different things to different people at different times. You have a good career-even if it comes with career bumps and bruises. You have great kids, and good marriage, and a close relationship with your family. All that makes you more of a success than you can imagine. And I can't tell you how many times I've referenced things you've written....more times then I've referenced my more famous classmates, I bet, and I've never even met you.


You know what?

Those people who you're "envious" of, they also live their lives behind closed doors and one NEVER knows what happens behind closed doors. They might have written a book but they also might be dating a loser who beats them... Focus on your blessings and successes - they are many. You're successful in so many ways Karen.


Oh God, woman, you are making me upset too, because really, you are at such an early part of your life and so what if you don't have every part of your life in perfect order? I know a number of successful female politicians who have great careers and yet their home lives are a mess. I feel jealous of their success I admit, but then I think about my own life and realize that I have no possibility of doing everything all at once, and if I had waited to have kids, and focused on my career, my kids would not exist. I was too infertile to wait until I was 40! Luckily I found out early enough.

So do what I did. Figure out how much time you really have left. I'm 40, and if I quit and retire at 65, then I have 25 years left to do it all. And since I have intention of quitting at 65, then man, I have loads of time. 30-35 years, weeeee. I could become Prime Minister by then, so I'll bet that you could easily publish like 12 books at least.

Start with the Naked Ovary as a book and go from there. ((Hugs))


My one and only big accomplishment was having my kids (quadruplets) at the age of 40 after 16+ years of infertility. Losing 2 since then, and still fiercely mothering the other 2 is my next biggest one.


My college roommate is an award-winning playwright who actually makes a living as a playwright. I have a beautiful daughter and the healthiest marriage I have personal knowledge of. We admire each other for those things, but I wouldn't change places with her, as I wouldn't have wanted to make the sacrifices she's made to get where she is... and I'd wager she feels the same way.

It's hard not to compare, it really is... and of course it's wilting to see your peers be so successful in a way that you wish you were. I hear you on that. But no matter who you are there are people who have it better, and people who have it worse. Focusing on what you DO have is probably a better strategy, and for what you want and don't have career-wise, career coaching can be a positive way of moving toward it. Restarting the blog is an excellent step for your writing, IMO.

For the weight loss issue -- T-Tapp has worked for a lot of people, including me.

I agree with Kris, you can have it all, but not all the time. You're doing great.


I'm 49, will be 50 in February. My husband was just diagnosed with early onset oral cancer, which should be ok, but is freaking me out. My dad dropped dead in 1997 of a heart attack. My beloved mother is dying a slow and heartbreaking death from Alzheimer's. This brilliant beautiful woman with a master's degree and a sense of humor that could have landed her a job as a stand up comedian now sits in a wheelchair staring vacantly into space. I teach at a community college and may lose my job due to budget cuts. My law practice is dying because clients have no money to pay me.

Worse of all I have a painful lifelong disease-Fibromyalgia. I don't have that book written either. My blog is not even close to as successful as I thought it would be, once upon a time. I am feeling very sorry for myself, but here's to a better 2009 for all of us.


Sorry to hear you sad when comparing yourself to others.. What you should be focusing on is what GOOD you have in your life and what makes YOU happy..

My great kids make me happy, the fact I can stay home and do what I love (painting) makes me happy. A good marriage. A healthy family.. The important stuff :)

Glad to hear your mom is doing well and hoping her next surgery is as successful!

Keep on looking to the bright side. The dark side really has no benefits. Trust me.


My greatest successes in life have been...

1. Moving out of my hometown on my own to the East Coast not knowing a soul. Starting over from scratch even though it was totally terrifying.

2. Finishing college with honors at age 30. ;)

3. Birthing my 2 gorgeous children.

and my greatest, most important success has been making the decision to stay home with them and forego any professional success I might have AT THIS TIME. I am beyond lucky that financially we can afford for me to stay home. Kids grow fast. Sooo fast, too fast. I wouldn't trade these crazy years being at home (and 10 lbs overweight) in my yoga pants playing Blue's Clues Memory game over and over for ANYTHING.

I have the whole rest of my life to get a dream job, achieve professional success. Right now it doesn't matter to me in the least.


I put off those out-of-network bills for Peanut's birth until I ruined my credit. Still working on fixing that.

I was going to write you about this anyway, but it seems appropriate now. The store where I work has chosen Sleep is for the Weak as its book club book of this month (it's a baby/children's store). It's been so cool to see this stack of books and think, wow, I know one of those authors, and everyone loves the book, and all the people I work with think it is so cool that I know one of the authors. I have new status because I had lunch with you once :-)

I used to kind of think saying, "my kids are my greatest accomplishment" was kind of a cop out, but as they get older, I am more and more amazed and proud of them and really feel like if that's the greatest think I'll ever do, it will be enough. It would be nice to be paid for writing once, though.


Also, I am glad that your mom's cancer treatments have so far worked, and I hope and pray they continue to catch everything.


" If you can keep your head when everyone around you is losing theirs ...". I think it is hard when everyone around you seems like they have a more exciting, cooler, elaborate, glamorous and flashier life than you. It is hard to remember what your goals really are. Not the childish dreams you had as a teenager but your real hopes and aspirations. I always wanted to be a mother and I was luckily enough to have children. I am still involved in their lives and those of their children. There is a lot I don't have but what I wanted most I have. Maybe you also have achieved your biggest goals - children, marriage, friends, writing a blog. It is ok to have different goals than other people you know. Dawn at 'this woman's work' has a post about this where she says it better than I ever could. Thinking of you and wishing you a Happy New Year!


Everyone has already said what I wanted to say when I read your post, so the only thing I will add is that, for better or for worse, envy and it's dark underbelly of self-pity is an ineluctable part of being human. Everyone feels it at some time or another, and all of us get derailed by it by varying degrees at least once in our lives. I've been there; we've all been there (and if by some remarkable chance someone reading this thinks, huh, not me, then I promise that your time will arrive at some point). It's just a force of human nature, and therefore, of life itself.

So the only thing we can do is scrabble together a support network of people who love us and/or reminders/proof of our true successes (no matter how small or meaningless they may seem) to get us through the discouraging spots. I'm a big believer in Cognitive Behaviorial Therapy ("CBT"), not because it has solved all my problems, but because it helps me keep my head together when I start to slip down the unavoidable spirals that come along with being human.

Keep the faith. I'm rooting for you. And I'm rooting for all of us, too.


i can totally relate to this. I was a News Anchor for many years before I had my first son and my station let me work part-time on the weekends for a long time before they finally forced me to decide whether I wanted to go back full time or quit. I quit. It's strange because so much of my identity was wrapped up in being a television personality for so many years and then I just walked away. Sometimes I miss it when I allow myself to think of the perks and the cool parts of the job, but then I look at my kids and think about how it would feel to have a nanny raise them and I change my tune pretty quickly. My husband is still in the news business and that is how it would have to be.. a nanny because of the crazy hours.
Sure, your friends are successful and have art and fashion etc... but do they have kids? Do they have healthy kids? Do they have healthy relationships with their kids? At the end of the day.. that's what I think matters.


Funny you should ask. Two of my dearest friends are going back to school this spring and have been begging me to join them. In fact they assumed that I would and have always spoken in terms of when, "we" start school in the spring.

And part of me really wants to. Part of me feels like the group looser because I KNOW that this is NOT the right time for me to go back. I have a 2 year old, a 5 year old and a 7 year old. I am schooling my 5 and 7 year old at home, a very important choice for our family. My two year old is the light of my life, I adore every minute I get to spend with her. I am working two jobs from home.

Where, exactly, am I going to find the time to go back to school?

The answer I had to face myself honestly with, is that the only way I can find time to go back to school is if I take it away from my kids.

I looked myself in the mirror and asked myself if how I would feel 2 years from now, graduate degree in hand, with memories of telling my 2 and 3 year old daughter that I could not read her a story or do a puzzle because I had to work.

I already live in fear that my children will only remember me as chained to a computer. Going back to school now would be WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

It was a hard choice to make, but I feel at peace with it.

There will be many years ahead during which I can earn graduate degrees, work powerful, 60+ hour a week jobs, etc. But now is not the time. I know that I will occasionally feel down when I watch my friends going through school or when I have to pass up a job opportunity because I don't have the correct letters after my name, but I also know that this is the right choice for my family.

It is great that those people in your life have made such amazing accomplishments, but those are their lives and not yours. What is right for YOUR life?

Midlife Mommy

Wow. You have described me in the weight department. Ugh.

Successes? Ugh. I used to think it was good grades. Got those. Not happy. Good jobs. Had those. Lots of money. Not happy. Then I met my husband, who totally rocks. And had my daughter after four years of infertility treatments (we ended up using DE). We are trying to have another, but that's not going so well. Sigh.

People that I used to work with likely see me as not very successful. I make half of what I could make. But I get to go home after eight hours and be with that wonderful husband and miracle daughter. They are my blessings. I've come to realize that blessings are better than successes. At least for me.

As for your mom -- hugs. I lost my mom in 2007 to non-alcoholic cirrhosis. I hope that you have many, many, many more years with yours.

catherine illian

it is so funny that you wrote that-- I have been feeling exactly the same thing-- watching my friends go on to extremely successful careers as lawyers, doctors, etc. etc. artists, while I am--- doing what???
I love love love my precious son-- and he is a delight every day..
I don't know where to go-- but thanks for sharing something that I can relate to


Eh, I don't feel very successful right now either. My job is kinda boring (even though I get to work from home), I just had an argument with my mother, my husband's job is shaky, and we are in the process of adopting domestically but don't have a match yet.

And I, too, have always wanted to write a book. I tried writing my first one when I was 10 years old. I never finished it, kinda like the next four books I started. I'm working on a novel now, if you can really call "writing 500 words every couple of weeks" working. I keep finding myself crippled by "why would anyone want to read this?" doubts and feeling unmotivated to continue. I think the subject matter is fascinating, but does anyone besides me enjoy historical fiction anymore?

Then I read vapid, poorly edited books like the Twilight series and get insanely jealous and even more frustrated.

But if I'm forced to think about my successes, I am pleased that I have such a good husband, an old house just like I always wanted, my car is paid off, and we actually have the money to adopt, at least this once.

P.S. I would SO buy a copy of The Naked Ovary book!


Oh! See this one will make me cry. I am so proud of the lovely daughter my husband and I raised to be a great person. Even though he is not her "real" dad, he is the one she calls when her trucks breaks down or she need some real advice. So I consider that a job well done...finding a dad for my baby girl.

Also, the fact that when my parents needed me the most I was right there even though I lived 1,500 miles away. I was right there when my mom took her last breath. My dad now lives with us and it somehow works just fine. In fact, he has been in the hospital twice in the last 60 days and now he is better than ever.

So what am I most proud of....me being the best mom, wife, daughter I can be. I might not be perfect, but I do the best I can!

Just like you.


Not really on topic, but please do not pay your out-of-network but didn't know it bill without calling the provider first, explaining that you were assigned an out of network doctor without your knowledge and ask that they accept the amount your PPO would pay them were they in-network. Keep pressing if they say no. Then, if you have no luck, bargain with them. Like you were at a flea market. Offer them 5 percent of your balance and work up. Trust me on this one--I have professional knowledge on this topic and you may be pleasantly surprised.


I know how you feel. I had a total meltdown the year I turned 30 as I hadn't accomplished anything that I wanted to in life. Three years later, life is better!

I would say my daughter is my best accomplishment, but I haven't finished accomplishing her yet (she's only 8 months old :-) ). Other things? Doing a marathon for Team Diabetes in 2005. Working towards my degree in English through distance education while holding down a full-time job. As part of a semi-pro vocal jazz ensemble, opening for Canadian superband "Trooper".

Like you, I would love it if my career came together, but I find my fulfillment in other things. The job is ... just a job. Just a thing I do to make money so I can do the things I love to do. Ass-backwards, I know.

I'm so glad your mom is better. I was worried when you didn't post for so long.

Sallie Binder

Dear Karen...I was just led to your blog thru a labyrinth of clicks..and am so glad I landed here. The accounts of the events in your life are so moving and authentic and artistically to the point with so much endearing humour at the same time. You truly do have a gift for writting, even if you aren't a published author YET...actually you are because as far as I'm concerned your blog is as good reading as many books I've read! So keep it up!!
I can relate though to your feelings of somehow being left behind in the dust...I, myself, am also a rather late bloomer. I have been interested in the healing arts for much of my life and am actually only now with 58 starting to come into my own. But, hey, I've still got alot of time to make my contribution to this world and seeing as how I am still a child at heart, the world is still my playground!
There are 2 things which I would like to share with you. The first of which is the practice of "GRATITUDE". This is a very simple but powerful process which can instantly lift us out of our solitary place of "poor me". If you make it a point to actually write down every morning a list of 5 things which you are grateful for, and to truly get into that space of gratitude..so much so that it can actually bring of tear to your eye...this will change the mood of your entire day. You will begin to notice things which hadn't caught your attention before, and your heart will be continually warmed by the recognition of your own good fortune...which by the look of your 2 little ones is gigantic! Try it, I think you will be amazed. This process also raises your own vibration and allows you to start attracting the more positive things which you truly desire in your life.
The 2 thing I wanted to share has to do with your mom and her bout with cancer. Have you ever heard of "Reconnective Healing"? This is an amazing healing process which can be administered in person as well as from a distance (there are no boundaries of time and space with this method). There have been countless cases of immediate healings with this method...also with cancer. There are over 40,000 practitioners thruout the world using this method of healing. Here is the website if this speaks to you in any way:
Eric Pearl is the instigator of this method..rather the receipient, as you will learn if and when you look into it...he has also written a book about it called "The Reconnection...heal yourself, heal others" which I am sure is available on amazon.com. On the website you can check out if there are any practitioners in your area, or your mom's, but because distance healing is no problem it could be done from anywhere in the world. I can recommend an excellent practitioner in Seattle, Washington named Christine Upchurch..website: www.cuhealing.com who has alot of experience. And BTW, you don't have to believe in this sort of healing to have it work!
Again, thank you so much for you wonderful blog, and keep up the good work. You are touching and warming more hearts that you can ever imagine by just being you and doing what you do so well!
Love and blessings...Sallie


My partner was recently in a work release program for some trouble he got into one drunken night. While he was locked up, I was in a position of having to buy a "new" car. I ended up buying a shitty Mazda, and as I was driving it one night, the MUFFLER came loose. Now, my car sounds like a race car.

So last night I'm driving with my brother in law, and he asks me, "What the hell is wrong with your car??" and I say the following:

"Oh, it's just the Muffler. I'm waiting for Partner to get out of work release so he can jerry rig it back into place."

My bro-in-law just looked at me, and being the honest one that he is, said, "Do you believe you just said that?"

My response, and the point of this comment, was thus:

"Sometimes the only thing that makes the shitty things in life tolerable, is to know that I COULD do so much more. I could go get a job right now, and buy a "real" car and rent a "real" apartment and have a corporate life, but I choose not to right now. I'd rather go to school and further my education and spend the summer with my kid and my partner, and drive a shitty $800 Mazda in the meantime."

My point is, you COULD write that book. You and I both know you could work your ass off right now and become a teacher in a matter of a couple years. But is that REALLY what you want right now? No. You want to focus on being a mom. It's what you've always wanted. These are the years for that. There's plenty of time to write books, and hell, when we're all 50, is it really going to matter how many years we've been (corporately) successful?

Not only that, but does your friend have kids? If you look at it the other way, she is behind on the game :)

Just thoughts, as I've had similar ones lately, and decided I'm doing what's best for me and my family right NOW :)


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