The biggest reason dieting doesn’t work

I have been acutely aware of the size of my body, the number on the scale, and the way people focus on weight in general for as long as I can remember. Anyone else?

When I was 14, paranoia about my weight led to me quitting competitive swimming—even though I was full of potential and could have probably made a college team if I wanted. I was 135 pounds when I quit and my body was so strong. And I was so mean to her.

I gained a bit of weight in college, mostly from the drinking and quick service food I ate, but I still worked out all the time. My body was still strong and my heart was healthy. It was just the food I couldn’t get under control.

In comes the wave of South Beach Diet. The “new and improved” Atkins. I decided to give it a try, and I eventually lost 20 pounds just in those first few weeks. This is awesome, I thought.

It was also really freaking hard, and calorie counting was tough. Paying such strict attention to my intake and having to say no to places and events was no fun. And so, after a few months, I was off the South Beach train, and back to just trying to maintain a healthier eating pattern.

I gained back about 10 pounds, but managed to keep off about 20 from my highest. Because here’s the secret that I know now, looking back at my 22 year old body—it has its happy, healthy weight, and restricting my body forever isn’t sustainable.

Today (when I’m on track), I still weigh within 5-10 pounds of what I believe to be my happy, healthy weight. Over the last 15 years, I’ve continued trying different methods of weight loss. Fitness is always a part of my routine, but as the experts tell us—our weight is 80% what we eat, and only 20% exercise. That 20 minute HIIT workout I did this morning is not going to balance out snacking my way through a bag of Doritos or an extra large bowl of frozen yogurt. It’s just not. And that sucks.

When I got pregnant with my third baby, I was terrified to gain weight again. I was 35 this time, not 29, and I had gained 60 pounds with my first two babies. How would I get it to come off this time around? And how could I stop obsessing over my weight and just enjoy this pregnancy? (I finally had a supportive partner who was giving me nightly foot rubs! This should be a happy time!)

I worked out almost every day, strength training twice a week, up until a few days before delivery. I still managed to gain 50 pounds by the end, which just affirms the idea that your body is meant to gain a certain amount during pregnancy and you don’t have a ton of control over it.

This time though, a friend introduced me to intermittent fasting (IF). The idea has been around for years, but it’s only picked up mainstream steam over the last couple of years. If you’re new to the idea, it’s basically putting yourself in a fasting state and an eating state. You eat during a certain period of time, and then cut yourself off. The most basic form of this is “no eating after 7pm” —an idea that always reminds me of Oprah. If you don’t eat after 7pm, and then you don’t have breakfast until 7am, then you’ve just fasted for 12 hours. It’s easy to fast when you’re sleeping.

When I went back to work this time—20 weeks after the birth of my son, I’d lost 50 pounds! The fastest of any of my kids! And all through fasting for 14 to 16 hours per day, and tracking my macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats). I got the paid version of MyFitnessPal to help with the macro tracking, but I could have done it on the free version too. What I love most about IF, and why I’ve become a huge advocate for it, is that it’s not about restricting what you can or can’t eat. It’s just the when. And it’s not the end of the world to take a day of two off if you want to go have breakfast with friends or have bacon and eggs on Sunday mornings. I also find that I have just as much success when I don’t track calories; the weight just comes off a bit slower. 

Here’s a sample of what I eat on a normal day right now:

7am – Almond Milk Cappuccino (about 35 calories) – This means I “dirty fast” because I have more than just plain black coffee or tea, but I have less than 50 calories and less than 5 grams of sugar. If you’re being strict, then only black coffee is allowed.

1:30pm – Either a Kirkland’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein bar, pre-made salad mix, or leftovers (I aim to have a real lunch, but the protein bar has 20g of protein and is perfect if I can’t get in a lunch but want something with good macros to break my fast)

2:30pm – Dannon Light ‘n Fit Greek Yogurt (12g protein) or a protein bar if I didn’t have one earlier

3:30pm – Fruit; usually a banana; and probably something ‘snacky’ at this point too – some chips or some Nilla Wafers

6:00pm – Dinner; Aim for something with good protein (chicken, beef, or fish), plus some steamable rice, veggies, etc.

6:30pm – time to pack in something sweet before my window closes! Usually some Hershey kisses, vanilla wafers, or an ice cream sandwich.

On the weekends, I do include alcohol in my day, and I try to just limit it to one more after 7pm.

So what’s the takeaway in all this? For me, I can’t sustainably restrict what I eat, cutting out entire categories of food, or stay glued to my phone all day plugging in every morsel entering my body. I just can’t. It makes me obsessed, and it’s not a healthy way for me to live my life. I suspect many of you feel the same way. Intermittent fasting does make me obsess about the clock, but it also gives me the flexibility to have a off day, enjoy a family breakfast on the weekends, and still eat whatever I make for the family that night for dinner.

Here are some resources to get you started

First, figure out your calorie needs and your macros so you can try and stay on track. This post from Happy Body Wellness is a great one, and her tagline is “Eat the Damn Cookie” which I totally love.

If you want to use apps to let you know when it’s time to eat or get more details on IF, here’s a guide from Women’s Health Magazine that can get you started.

Finally, here’s a 101 guide on intermittent fasting, complete with all the health benefits that come along with the weight loss.

Let me know how it’s going over on my Instagram page.

The quiet miscarriage

“Don’t tell anyone until 12 weeks.”

So common, right? It’s what many people do. Sometimes “not telling” just means not making the big social media splash or telling your boss. But sometimes it means keeping the big surprise from friends and family too.

There’s something magical about keeping such an exciting secret for a while, just you and your partner. There’s also something that feels kind in it—not wanting to let people down if something goes wrong. Keeping the hurt to yourself if the pregnancy doesn’t stick. Not wanting to burden your friends with your sadness. 

The first time I got pregnant, we’d been trying for more than six months. I was only 25 or 26, so I (like so many) just thought it was going to be easy. You spend so much effort not getting pregnant—hearing about all these people getting pregnant from a one night stand. I’d love to know how those people are. 

The time trying to get pregnant is the slowest ever. Nothing compares to it. Living your life in two weeks increments. Waiting to try. Waiting to test. Waiting to try. Waiting to test. And the reality is, I’ve had friends who have waited years. Actual YEARS of their life trying for a baby or praying for a baby to adopt. 

And yet, at 25, I didn’t know this was a thing. I knew about miscarriage, but I had no idea it was so common. When I got the positive stick, I was already picturing my Christmas baby. December 26th due date. 

I bought the grandparents some baby bibs and brought out some baby peas to show them the size of the baby. But I hadn’t been to my 8 week appointment yet. 

In the ultrasound room for the first time, Jeff and I stared at that little blob on the screen, mesmerized. I reminded the tech to take some photos for me.

“Are you sure about the date of your last period?” she asked. “The baby is only measuring five and half weeks. There’s no heartbeat yet.”

I didn’t give that conversation a second thought. We were just a bit early for the appointment, I guess. After the ‘fun’ part of our appointment was done and we’d seen the baby on the screen, I sent Jeff on his way so he could get to work, and I said I’d be fine waiting for the doctor on my own since the rest was going to be pretty standard stuff. 

Well, obviously it wasn’t. In all of our excitement and naivety, I didn’t connect the dots that something was wrong. I was devastated when the nurse practitioner explained it to me. There was no heartbeat because there’d been no fetal growth. The baby should have been measuring closer to seven or eight weeks, and the doctor told me that if I didn’t miscarry on my own in the next few days, I would need to schedule surgery to remove everything.

I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I was so shocked and didn’t know what to do. I called Jeff and told him, and he met me back at home. I called my mom and she left work and came over. I felt so numb.

Honestly, I don’t think I was really “okay” until I got pregnant again nine months later. After the miscarriage, I was able to get back to my normal life, got on some anti-depressants for the first time, and for the most part, the pain just sat with me. That waiting all over again was the worst. And then not feeling like I could even breathe when I got the positive stick. 

I’ve had two people recently go through pregnancy challenges. For one, it was her first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage. Similar to my situation. Now, she waits again.

The other, which feels like the ultimate cruelty, had a stillbirth. At some point after her water broke, the baby fell into distress and did not survive delivery. I could picture a nursery and a baby in my arms, but she had the nursery, had the carseat installed, the baby shower, etc. That was several years ago, and she’s gone on to have three more children, all healthy and perfect. 

I was talking to her recently before she delivered her last baby this year, and we’d been home for several COVID months at this point. She told me how nice this pregnancy has been for her since she could hide it more. Even though she had 2 healthy babies, she was never able to enjoy her pregnancies because she knew the risks. She knew that until that baby was breathing in her arms, she couldn’t get excited. So not being with co-workers asking her pregnancy questions was a gift for her. She doesn’t get to enjoy pregnancy or get too excited because she’s been through hell. That changes every experience you have going forward.

Becoming a mother is such a personal choice, and for many women, it’s the ultimate dream. Even for career women. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and dreaming of being a mother and CEO is still a very real thing. The patience and trust and faith in your journey to become a mom is a ruthless one. 

Today, I say an extra prayer for every woman.

To the woman working late nights and wondering if her long hours are keeping her body from cycling properly and if her career aspirations are keeping her from her family aspirations.

To the woman who desperately wants a baby but doesn’t want to do it on her own, to the one who is still looking for the right man to earn that privilege. 

To the woman who has no problem getting pregnant but lots of problems staying pregnant.

To the woman buying the 100 pack of test strips on Amazon, wondering when she’ll ever see two pink lines.

To the woman who doesn’t want to be a mom and faces criticism from her family every holiday.

To the woman who had an abortion a long time ago and now can’t get pregnant.

To the woman who is angry at women having abortions when she wants one so badly.

To the woman who is putting on a brave smile and watching her sister, best friend, or co-worker go through pregnancy.

And to every other situation that emphasizes just how complex it can feel to be a woman, to be a mom, to want to be a mom. Keep chasing your dreams.

4 Ways to Encourage Each Other Year Round

I have to admit, I really love surprising people with acts of kindness. I’m not the best at grand gestures, but the notion of ‘surprise and delight’ is one of my core values and when the mood strikes, I love to surprise my friends and neighbors and loved ones with something special. I love to make people feel good when they may otherwise be feeling blah, sad, or lonely. And because I want to spread kindness even more these days, I wanted to share my top four ways that we can effortlessly offer kindness to others at a distance.

Snail Mail

I don’t know about you, but I think there’s something so fun about getting actual mail! It seriously makes my day. I did a market research study at work a few years ago where we literally had people record themselves walking to their mailbox and opening their mail. When someone got something fun like a greeting card or delivery or magazine, we called it “happy mail.” 

I love happy mail. I could spend hours reading every greeting card at Target, looking for quirky, fun, or thoughtful cards. I try and stay stocked up so that whenever the mood strikes, I have just the right one in my arsenal. I’m a particular fan of “BLANK INSIDE” cards that are hilarious on the outside.

I try to never miss a birthday, but I also just like to stick random notes of encouragement in the mail too. This one is geared mostly towards my mom friends. Life is so freaking hard sometimes. I know how much I value someone telling me that I’m doing a kick ass job, so I try to do the same.

My latest stash from Aldi’s and Target – all $2.99 or less!

Venmo Surprise

Who doesn’t want to be out and about living life and suddenly look down on their phone to see that someone sent them a gift? That someone was thinking of them? A couple of months ago, I knew my friend was out of town for work, so I sent her $5 on Venmo. I told her to buy herself a coffee to help her wake up refreshed after her long night out entertaining clients! She was so surprised, and I was just as giddy waiting for her to text me after she got it. I couldn’t wait to hear how it impacted her night. The giving felt just as warm and fuzzy as the receiving, I’m sure!

Notes of Encouragement

I attended Rachel Hollis’s first virtual Rise conference recently, and as part of our “swag” I got a PDF of cute words of encouragement and quotes that I could print out. We’d been in quarantine for about 6 weeks by that time, and I just loved the notes. I decided to cut them out and put one in a ziplock bag for each of my neighbors, along with a variety of tea bags. It would have been just as nice to send them wine, but that would have gotten pricey, and I knew we were all drinking more than normal given our crazy circumstances. I thought the tea was a nice relaxing touch. 

I wrote a short note on the back, cheering them on for doing such a great job at home!

Thoughtful Deliveries

Most of what I’ve recommended so far has been really cheap and easy to do. This final suggestion can range in price points, so these are for when you’re really getting your heartstrings tugged and want to make an impact in the heart of someone else. 

What does your friend need who is suddenly on her own with 2 kids? (She needs dinner delivered… or a house cleaner)  What about your friend who just lost her mom or found out her sister is sick? (Maybe it’s flowers or something to make her laugh). These are really tied to the situation you’re in. 

I have some favorite bath bombs from Amazon that I love to order and send to friends when I want them to find time to unwind. My go-to books are usually something from Glennon Doyle or another author who impacted me personally. And when in doubt, I use for floral deliveries! They make it super easy and I’m a big fan of the flat fee, no surprises. You can get 30% off your first purchase by using that link too!

So there you have it. Simple and thoughtful ways we can start spreading a little more kindness out into a world that is on its head right now. Things are so unpredictable and everyone is stressing in their own way. We all have challenges and good days and bad. What if your simple card and 50 cent stamp is what brings a smile to your friend next week? Totally worth the hours wandering the card aisle of Target! 

Controlling it all and the mental load

Jeff always said we lived in “Ashley’s World” and that I controlled everything.

He was right—I did. I understood why he felt that way and why it triggered so much anger. He continually let me down any time I gave him any wiggle room, and I never felt like I could relax. I had to be in control. It was seven really long years of always being on my toes—always ready to clean up his mess or try to keep his “good drunk” personality around. 

Trying to set rules around drinking is a recipe for disaster for someone who is an alcoholic. Back then I still hadn’t admitted that’s what he was. He was just the guy who embarrassed me at parties.

Living in that world for so long has definitely left some scars on how I live my life today though and how I interact with my husband now. I’m still very Type A and driven and stubborn in a way that makes me want to be in-the-know of everything happening. But I look to Josh to just own things. I don’t want to find the tax guy. I don’t want to worry about paying our mortgage or the water bill. I don’t want to have to take my car to get new tires. 

A lot of those things still I do. But it’s the idea that I can trust him to take them on for me. I trust him and want him to take things off my plate. With Jeff, I could never let something come off my plate because I couldn’t trust that he would follow through as I needed him to. He’d likely never do it or do it 3 weeks too late. It just never worked.

When I think about the mental load that women naturally take on in families, it makes my head hurt. I still take on way too much. I was telling Josh about it the other day. His license expired during COVID and when the DMV opened up for appointments, I had to ask him for 2 weeks to make the appointment. Why? If it wasn’t a priority for him, why can’t I get it off my mind? But it was just one example of something that filled my mind unnecessarily. Same with a doctor’s appointment he was overdue for… it took over 3 months to get him to finally make the appointment. It was causing my all of this extra stress because I worry about his health more than I probably should. This is just a leftover scar from losing Jeff at 36. Even though we were no longer together when it happened, I still felt responsible for his health.

Mental load is something that I don’t think most men understand in a way that women can. And with COVID, motherhood and mental load has amplified greatly. I can’t speak for other households where both parents are working from home, but I suspect the bulk of school work is still falling on the moms. For me, I’m the only one working from home. I have a babysitter here 20 hours a week for the summer, but school is still largely on me. Can they log in? Which programs are they supposed to be using? Why are there so many programs? WHY can’t they just use paper and pen?! As we wrapped up the end of the school year, they had to use my laptop to do the Google Hangouts with their teachers since our desktop we got them is super basic and didn’t have a webcam, and it was stressful always switching over the gmail account to theirs or making sure they were on time for meetings—especially because at that time, I had no child care AND was trying to work and watch the baby all day too. 

It was simply too much. Our school offered paper copies for a lot of the content being offered online. You could go pick it up at school once a week, and I always did. It was just one thing I could take off my plate and visually see how the assignment went. I could put out 2 worksheets in the morning and tell them to complete them before they went out to play. No supervising by me. And when they had questions, I had something tangible to look out. Much easier for my mental load. 

Now we’re in summer school, a chance for the kids to not slide too far behind and also practice for the fall if virtual learning is going to be a thing. This time, I’ve set each of them up with a tablet and downloaded the apps they need for class. My first grader can’t totally do it on his own, but he’s close. And they both need reminders to log in for their small group time. But we’re getting there. It’s taken a lot of work, and it’s not over (ever), but I think I’ve hit my stride. 

But I know there are twice as many moms out there who haven’t hit their stride. Whether they’re single or not, this is all just A LOT. And my heart aches for the families who can’t afford to give their kids a tablet to do virtual schooling and can’t sit and make sure the kids are completing their assignments. The ones who are back at work without care for their kids. The ones so desperately relying on the county to keep providing lunches for their children. I don’t have the answers. This is new for everyone. I’m just scared what it means for our kids, our families, and women in the workplace.

Mental load. It never rests.

Why I Write

It’s funny how you can look back on a past event in your life and realize its impact years later. When I was pregnant with my 3rd child and married to my current husband, I had a random day at work where it all hit me. I finally understood what led me to marry a man I knew wasn’t right for me when I was only 23 years old.

When I was in college, I did my last semester abroad on a ship that sailed us around the world while we took classes in between visiting other countries. But two weeks into our trip, we had what is affectionately known to our shipboard community as Wave Day, where we were left (temporarily) stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This near-death experience left me both fearless for my future (I never get nervous on a plane because I figure you probably only have one major brush with disaster, and mine has already happened) but also totally afraid of being alone.

The shipboard library post-storm

I always thought my life was supposed to follow “the plan” and I needed to get a job, get married, and have kids. Wave Day created a fear in me that made me need to achieve all of those goals NOW. I was so afraid I’d end up alone if I didn’t end up with Jeff, my boyfriend at the time.

I started that trip in love with a man I never saw a future with, just a college boyfriend that I’d say goodbye to when the time came. And then, my brain did a complete one-eighty after Wave Day. I found a way to focus on all the good in this man, even though there were plenty of red flags that should have told a very smart twenty-two-year-old to slow down and take a more objective look at the situation. Was this really the man for me? 

And at the end of the day, I decided that two things mattered to me above all else—he made me laugh, and I knew he’d be a great dad one day. The rest, we’d work our way through.

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way, and a happy ending wasn’t in the cards for us. With two little kids at home, ages one and three, I was all alone and couldn’t find any books on the market for how to be a single mom to toddlers or how to explain to someone so small that dad wasn’t coming home. 

By Ryan’s 1st birthday, it was just the three of us.

I was incredibly judgmental about divorce prior to going through my own experience, and even now. It’s hard when our lives are so private, and people only see what we want to show on social media. It’s hard not to judge. I’ve led a divorce support group twice, and I still find myself wondering why things ended. But I also learned that (almost) every story is really painful and justified. The simple reminder to be kind to others floats through my mind. You never know what someone else is going through—despite was social media says.

And so, I started writing. What started out as a helpful tool for single moms evolved to a memoir of the crazy things I went through, the lessons learned along the way, and how I got to the place I am today—very happily remarried to an angel of a man and one more baby.

Life isn’t perfect, but that tiny human is. And I’m so grateful for every experience I had over the last ten years.

I learned that there’s no such thing as a happy ending. But it’s important to remain optimistic and hold on to hope when things look bleak and scary. That, somehow down the line, you’re going to come out of this blackhole, and life is going to feel good again. 

One day, you’ll wake up and realize you haven’t cried for a whole week. Then, a whole month. You’ll realize that you have the energy to devote to more than just your emotions. That you can be a good parent, a good friend, and a good daughter again. And life will feel good. It won’t be perfect, and there’s no promise that heartbreak won’t come again. But when the moment is good, live in it. 

4th of July watching fireworks in the back of Josh’s truck, our first summer dating

I like to think I’m healed from the trauma of my first marriage, but then a song will come on when I’m alone in my car, and I’ll find myself in tears. It feels like a way to keep healing and learning from my past. It reminds me how strong I am and what an incredibly blessed life I’ve been given.

I hope that if you can see yourself within my journey that it helps you realize you aren’t alone. So many go through what I went through, and while our situations may not be the same—the story, the feeling, the pain—I find that we all generally go through the same stuff. And it helps to know you aren’t alone.

Excerpt taken and modified from my book, The Other Side of the Door

An Introduction

This is the second time I’ve started a blog to share with others. The first time was almost exactly five years ago. I was coming up on my first anniversary post-divorce, and I’d done a lot of healing and soul searching over that last year. My life was completely upside-down, and I’d recently come to the conclusion that I needed to move to a townhome since child support wasn’t coming in, and I was barely breaking even each month.

Then the next day, my ex-husband died. He was 36 years old and had fallen into a dark spiral of drinking. His BAC was nearly 0.4 at the time of his death (0.08 is the legal limit for driving).

Needless to say, that blog never took off, as I got sidetracked with the business of death and figuring out this new life for me and our kids.

But I continued to write. At the time of his death, our daughter Peyton had just turned 5 and Ryan was 2. Jeff hadn’t seen either of them for over six months before his passing, so while the permanence of our situation was tough, the missing him wasn’t as awful.

We had a lot of love and support over those next few weeks, but mostly, I just felt relief. And guilt for feeling relief. But suddenly here I was — no longer wondering what our future looked like and if Jeff was a part of it. No fears about him being in and out of their lives for the next twenty years constantly letting them down. Now he was just gone. A memory. And I could help shape how they felt about that. I could give them good memories and let that be what they knew. And there was financial stability again. Children qualify for social security benefits when a parent dies, and suddenly I was getting double what his child support was supposed to be. We never had to move.

Several months later, I went on my last first date. Josh and I met on eHarmony, and we stayed at dinner talking for over two hours that first night. I never do dinner as a first date, but for some reason I said yes to this one. I came home unsure of our chemistry, but I knew I’d just had a great time, and he didn’t once ask me about being a single parent or anything about my ex.

Fast forward about 2 years later, and we got married at my church, a place that provided so much grace and solace to me during my divorce, and then we had a beautiful reception with friends and family at a farm house nearby.

I’m sure he would have been perfectly fine living in my house, but I wanted us to really start fresh together, so we built a new home in a neighborhood nearby. It was more than I’d ever dreamed, but the neighborhood and all of its family-friendly activities and amenities were too much to pass up. It was the suburban dream I wanted for them–running and playing in the road with kids all around them.

We became a family of five another year later, when Caleb was born, cementing us forever. While I was on my maternity leave with him, I decided that it was now or never if I wanted to finally write a book, liked I’d planned after my struggles finding my way through a spouses’s alcoholism and then as a single mom with toddlers.

So through every nap and with the help of grandparents, I spent a lot of time in front of my laptop turning my journal entries into a full story to help others like me. The week before leave ended, I wrapped up my first draft and sent it out to 2 people – my friend who walked through it ALL with me and one who walked through a similar situation but had never met me. I needed to know if the story was valuable, engaging, and worthwhile.

By the end of December, I was ready to hit Publish. I had to really live a life without fear or shame if I was going to put this out into the world. As with most of what we share with the Internet, it’s hardest to be that vulnerable with those we know and love, especially since not even those closest to me knew the details of my relationship with Jeff and everything we went through up until his death.

But if my goal was to get my book in the hands of women who needed it, then I needed to go big and do this right. So I started an Instagram account and started trying to build followers there to introduce them to my work. And after six months, I am ready to take this next step and keep the writing going.

Thanks for entering this phase with me and being along for the ride. At the bottom of the homepage, you can enter your email to get alerts when a new blog post hits. And if you haven’t read my book or know someone who could benefit from it, it’s available on Amazon.

Talk soon. xo.

Why I’m Here

I have learned A TON this year as I’ve gotten more into Instagram than I ever dreamed possible. I like social media, but I’ve never really been a slave to it. Until I became a ‘public figure’ account and I wanted to show up every. single. day. to build my followers and attract new readers for my book. I did all this work to publish it on my own, and I work in marketing: I should be able to get people to read by book. And I did for a while. My launch was successful and I sold or gave away way more copies than I ever thought possible. But now they’ve really slowed. And I realized I’ve been publishing all this great micro-content on Instagram, but it gets buried and my views per post can range from about 50-60 on average all the way up to 5 or 6 thousand on a really strong hashtag usage.

So I thought the website and blog would make a nice addition. And in order to hold myself accountable, I wanted to set a few goals for it:

  • I will post at least once per week.
  • I will figure out how to set up a mailing list.
  • I will create additional content for the site.
  • And at the end of 2020, if I have achieved these goals, I will continue to invest in growing my brand as a business, both with trainings and investments in book #2.

So, let’s go!

Hi. I’m Ashley.

I decided Instagram wasn’t enough. The curated photos, the planning of each hashtag, the filtering of my thoughts down to just a few words. I needed more. I am a writer after all.

Through high school, I loved to write. Mostly poetry, but I always had dreams of writing songs, poems, magazine articles, and more. I’m not sure I ever dreamed I’d write a book, and when I decided to do just that, I had no idea where to begin.

But with the power of the internet and some very wonderful strangers I met through Facebook groups, I clawed my way through the self-publishing arena last year and wrote a memoir. Deeply personal and raw, but it was something that needed to be in the world.

I began writing regularly 6 years ago, when I discovered that my husband was drinking to start his mornings and finally faced facts that he was an alcoholic. We officially separated just weeks later and my world was upside-down. My oldest was 3 and my youngest was just about to turn one. There wasn’t a single book I could find to tell me what to do and how to parent on my own when my kids are that small.

Did no one else get divorced with toddlers at home?

I knew pretty quickly I never wanted someone else to feel that way, so I decided to share my story with the world, hoping it can inspire and help moms who are just like me.