A Goodbye to Blogging, and Many Thank-Yous

Dear internet,

Well… it’s about that time.

I’ve been blogging for over four years, and for over a year here for Parents.  It’s been an interesting and, at times, a pretty amazing ride.  I’ve written about anything and everything, been on some awesome trips, received my share of hate mail, been published on and linked to from places like Yahoo!, Shine, and Time.com, and corresponded and shared my life with some pretty incredible people.

I have honestly enjoyed sharing my life with all of you.  Opening up about all of my experiences– the good, like giving birth to Caroline, graduating dental school, and finding a job… and the bad, like Caroline’s hospitalization, my postpartum depression, and my divorce– has been exciting, cathartic, therapeutic.  But with my new start here in a new state with a new job and a new home, the time has come for me to move on.

I’ll admit that part of it is that I’m simply burned out on the criticism and hateful email that I seem to get no matter what I write.  It is not easy to share as openly and publicly as I do, and I might just not have the backbone for some of the responses that I get anymore.  Having a job as a “real” dentist also means that I need to be a little more careful and professional about what I put out there on the internet, know what I mean?  I’ve always written whatever I feel about whatever’s on my mind, and if I have to constantly censor myself or worry about what I’m writing, then I’d rather just not write at all… or at least not write so publicly.  I also feel like I don’t have as much to say as I used to, and I really only enjoy blogging when I have something interesting to say.

I guess what it ultimately comes down to is, I just need my life to be a little more private right now.

I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who have read and loved my blog, whether you’re a new or longtime reader; whether you’ve read occasionally or never missed a post.  Your kind words and support got me through some tough times, your advice helped me make some tough decisions, and what some of you have shared with me, in return for all I’ve shared, has touched my life as I hope I’ve managed to touch some of yours.  My favorite part has been the emails and comments I get from other single parents who have been inspired by what I’ve written to make changes in their lives, to go back to school, to move on, to find happiness again.  I’ve appreciated every word from you, more than you know.

Thanks for laughing and crying with me, everyone.  You might see me again on the internet someday, in a more anonymous or private space…you just might not know it’s me.

With love,

Julia…and Caroline

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In Which the Atheist Goes to Church, Probably.

So I’ve been thinking about bringing my daughter to church, and I’m honestly curious to hear what you guys think about it.

I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times here that I’m not religious.  I’m not sure what I am– I honestly don’t give it enough thought to be able to give myself a label.  I suppose if I had to choose one, I’d say I’m agnostic with a dash of atheism, if that’s possible.  I don’t really believe in God, though I wish I did.  I would find it comforting, I think, but I need things to make sense to truly believe in them, and I haven’t yet found a religion that does.

But my daughter is another matter.  I don’t think that my beliefs, or lack thereof, should have anything to do with how she is raised or what she ultimately grows up to believe.  I want her to grow up being who she is, and if she wants to be religious, that’s great– if she doesn’t, that’s great too.  (None of this super-fundamentalist stuff, though.  She has to believe in dinosaurs and, you know, science.  Her dad is a paleontologist.  Everything else is up to her.)

Speaking of Tyler, he does pose a problem to my plan, as a hardcore, unwavering atheist who, it always seemed to me, scorned people of any religion for believing.  He almost seemed to think it was a weakness… that a belief in a higher power was something people cling to because they are afraid to face reality.  He actually once mentioned that he wanted to put it in our parenting plan that neither of us were allowed to raise Caroline as a member of any religion.  I may not be religious myself, but I can’t agree with that.  His supercilious attitude towards religion always irritated me.  I may not believe in God or want to go to church, but I respect those who do, and that includes my daughter if she so chooses.

There’s really no way, though, to allow Caroline to develop her own belief system without bringing her to religious services of some kind.  I certainly have no desire to go to church– ever– but she can’t make any kind of informed decision of her own if she is never exposed to religion at all.

So what’s an open-minded agnostic/atheist mom to do?  We did just move to a new state, and I’ve been contemplating joining a church just to be able to join a community up here where we know no one.  Caroline also does go to church occasionally with my mom and she loves it.  I asked her if she wanted to go to church sometime, and she said she did.  Is it hypocritical, though, or worse, rude of me to attend services and just ignore it and sit there and think my own thoughts?  And how do I choose which church to attend?  Ideally I’d like to expose her to a bunch of different religions, but I have a feeling that “church-jumping” is probably kind of frowned-upon…

If you’re not religious but want to expose your children to church, how do you handle it?  If you are religious, is it offensive or rude that I’m contemplating doing this for my daughter’s sake alone, when I will continue to sit there every Sunday and not believe?

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More Conversations With A 3 Year Old

It’s time for another round of conversations with the craziest three-year-old I know! Okay, she’s kind of the only three-year-old I know, but still.  (If yours is similar and/or crazier, you have my sympathies.)  Ready?  Here we go:


As I’m scrubbing the toilet, Caro runs in, carrying a tiara.  She stops dead and stares at me.

Me: Hey Caro, what’s up?

Caro: Well, I was gonna put this on you, but if you was a princess I don’t think you’d be doing that.


Me: Caro, I think your shoes are on the wrong feet.

Caro: Yeah, I like to mix it up.


Caro, to a little girl at the playground: “Hi!  Wanna be my friend?  You can’t have my mama, but you can borrow my shoes if we’re the same size.”


Caro: Mama, I stubbed my toe!!  How am I ever gonna walk again?!

Me: Aww, Caro, don’t be a drama queen.

Caro: I’m NOT the drama queen.  That’s you.  I’m the drama princess.


As I’m running the water for the shower, Caro realizes what I’m doing, runs in to the bathroom, and hollers “MAMA!  Quit wasting water, you’re making the Earth sick!!”


Caro: Mama, anything you dream, you can achieve.

Me: Well, that’s true.  Who told you that?

Caro: Some Cheez-It at preschool.


I explain to Caroline that we are moving for my new job.

Caro: Are we gonna take all of your shoes with us?

Me: …Yes?

Caro: (incredulously) Like, ALL of them?

Me: Come on, I don’t have THAT many shoes.

Caro: Wow. We’re gonna need a really big box.


Realtor: So do you have any questions about the house?

Caro: Excuse me, are princesses allowed?


Caro: Mama, can we have broccoli and popcorn for dinner?

Me: I don’t think those would go very well together.

Caro: STOP.  You’re not a scientist.


Caro, playing in our new sunroom recently after we moved to Massachusetts, hollers in dismay: “Oh, no!!  MOM!!  There are ANTS in Massachusetts!  I can’t BELIEVE this!!”


Planetarium guy: Boys and girls, where do you think the sun goes at night?

Caro: (hand shoots up) In the garbage disposal.  You can’t put your hands in there.


Any hilarious preschooler conversations to share?  I’ve been stressed to the max lately and would love to hear them in the comments!

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Transitions, Adjustments, and One Tired Single Mama

Well, we’re all moved in up here in Massachusetts, and it’s safe to say it’s been… quite the adjustment for Caroline.

We’re pretty much unpacked, which helps some.  I made sure that her room was completely set up the first day I moved, before my parents even brought her to the new place, to give her some sense of stability.

I got the rest of the house set up as quickly as I could for the nanny, who started with two 12-hour days immediately after we moved in.  Sigh… I think that was a mistake on my part.  The house was in a state of chaos, the days were long, and they had only met each other once before.  I should have done half days at work or something rather than my usual 11-hour Monday and Tuesday.  By Tuesday afternoon, Caroline was a mess, and I had to hand off my 6:00 patient to one of the other doctors so that I could come home early.  After two days at home with me, she was better, but it’s still just… a lot to handle.  She’s insecure, going through a lot of transitions, and no nanny in the world, no matter how awesome, is going to take the place of her mom right now.

At least having the nanny start immediately after a move has set the bar pretty low for my housekeeping (or lack thereof) for the rest of the summer.  (Silver lining?)

All in all… I’m happy to be here, and to be starting out on our new life, but… I am tired, you guys.  I just started a new job, Caroline is so clingy and freaked out by the move that the only time I really have had to unpack is after she’s in bed, so it’s been slow going and I haven’t sat down in about a week.  My feet are so swollen that I only have a couple of pairs of shoes I can wear, and she doesn’t sleep much at night so she’s either thrashing around in my bed with me, or running screaming down the hall to my room because she wakes up and doesn’t know where she is.

My bedroom, of course, is the only part of the house that’s a wreck at this point.  I’ll get to it when I get to it.  My room, and my feet, and in general my sanity, are the least of my worries right now.

I repeat.  I am tired.  I have no help– my parents are in Ireland, Tyler is gone, and I can’t possibly ask the nanny to do more than I already do.

Once we’re completely set up, and she’s adjusted, it will be fine.  It will be pretty much perfect.  I have an amazing job and a paycheck and awesome coworkers and a great new place to live.  We’ve just got to get through this transition period… and I need to sit down, and sleep for more than 45 minutes at a stretch.  Which I will do.  Sometime.  Soon.

Any advice on helping a child adjust to a new home, state, childcare situation, diet, father who’s moved away, and/or all of the above, would be much appreciated.

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Better Life

Tomorrow is Moving Day.  Goodbye Connecticut, hello Massachusetts.  Caroline and I are outta here.

First of all, I need to just get it off my chest that moving out of state with a three year old is most definitely not a one-person job.  I can confirm it.  I’m so deliriously tired that I probably will not even remember writing this post after tonight.  It’s been kind of a perfect storm of craziness around here these days.  I started my new job in private practice two weeks ago, I’ve been painting the new place and packing to move, Tyler hasn’t been around and won’t be again, Caroline is leaving her old preschool and I’m having a new nanny start, and I had to radically change Caroline’s diet.  She is kind of a mess, I’ll be honest with you.  She doesn’t do well with transitions.  And we’re dealing with a lot of them, all at once.

“Kind of a mess” in preschooler terms translates to constantly throwing tantrums, screaming NO regardless of what I’m saying, clinging to me with a death grip, and unpacking everything I try to pack.  Thank goodness for my parents.  They live an hour away, but they are there when I need them.  I literally could not have done this alone.

But now everything is packed, and the movers are coming tomorrow, and we are leaving this place for good.  This living room is soon to be empty again.  Even though Caroline’s lived her whole life here so far, I have to say I won’t miss it.

I’m ready for my fresh start.

I absolutely love my new job.  It couldn’t be a better fit for me, honestly.  Everyone there is so nice, the practice runs so smoothly, and I feel like I am doing good work for good people.  I’m only working three days a week, so I have a lot more time to spend with Caroline than I did during residency.  I got my first paycheck, so money is no longer a constant stress.  Our new house is bigger and brighter than our tiny dark apartment, and has a yard for Caroline to play in.

It was not easy for me to finish dental school in the middle of a divorce and with an unexpected baby and to go through a residency as a single mother.  But I did it, and I’m proud of it, and I feel like all of my hard work is finally paying off… for me, and for my daughter.

I’m pretty sure that once things settle down, there won’t be a whole lot more we could ask for.  So hold on, Caroline.  I haven’t quite got things put together yet… but we’re headed for a better life.

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