here’s the story

Here is what I’ve learned in the 46 or so years I’ve been around: at the beginning and the end of every chapter of my life, there’s always me. Amy.

Growing up the oldest of eight kids did nothing to prepare me for raising four children of my own. Instead of paying attention to all the crying and dirty diapers at my mom’s house, I was busy worrying about the boy who would become my ex-husband some 25 years later and smoking cigarettes out my bedroom window.

But now, the whining and the diapers seems like a walk in the park compared to the challenge of raising teenagers. I’ve had a  few intense years of parenting solo that have included conversations I never imagined possible when the kids were young and yummy, like why my son can’t get it on with his girlfriend in my basement and who vomited on a blanket stuffed in a drawer.

But the real challenge is the 10-year-gap I’ve created between the oldest three teens and their baby brother. On the one hand, I wonder what the hell I was thinking, carrying on about needing a fourth child. And on the other, I don’t know what would I do without him. He doesn’t have b.o., kisses me full on the lips out of the blue and shows me everything on his Instagram.

He’s the reminder for me of what the others once were, that link to a past that now seems so much easier; when the rules were more cut and dry.

We don’t eat in the basement. We always say thank you. We try not to poop in the tub.

But now we feel ambivalent about navel piercings. We don’t drink until we’re 21, unless we’re at a family wedding. And The Simpsons used to be off limits until Family Guy came along.

Adding to the excitement of finding beer bongs behind the shrubs in my backyard and apologizing to people after my new driver sideswipes a rearview mirror, has been the demise of my 20-year marriage.

So I’ve learned to scoop dead bunnies out of my pool and operate a cordless screwdriver and perform all the other dude jobs around the house quite handily, except mowing the lawn. I don’t mow. But man, can I carve a turkey.

There’s so much more to tell you about I don’t event know what we’re doing just sitting here blabbing. Come follow me and find out the rest of the story.


43 thoughts on “here’s the story

  1. I’m also the mother of four and there’s a ten year span between oldest and youngest. Love your blog and I’m your new biggest fan….

    • And I am officially in love with you Hillary. Love that you found the blog and that I’m not the only one crazy enough to spread kids out over 10 years. How old are your guys?

      • My oldest is boy (almost 17…my favorite by far!!), three girls (14, 11, 7 (my second favorite – ha!).
        I have a zillion things to do today, yet I can’t seem to step away from your blog! I’m laughing out loud and my malt-shit thinks I’m crazy!!!

        It’s like we lead parallel lives, except you are a few years ahead!

        • I’m so happy to accommodate your proscrastinating! Facebook has been my downfall of late. Glad to hear I have somebody else in the same boat as me. Will try to keep writing more to keep you from laundry folding and all that good stuff 🙂

  2. Your blog is so cute. I love your writing style. I clicked on via a FB link. It took me a minute or two to figure out that I knew the author! Keep up the good work. As a mother of 4 teenagers (all boys though), I can relate!!

  3. I have officially entered the teenage years…Reading your blog scares the bejeezus out of me while at the same time making me breathe a sigh of relief that i am not the only one in this crazy world of hormones. Looking forward to your ramblings.

    • Hi Ann! Well, godspeed to you on your exciting journey through the teenage years! I don’t know what’s more challenging: being a teen or parenting a teen. But seriously, you’ll be okay. And you can always use this blog as a reference for what NOT to do. 🙂

  4. Just found your blog – love it! I have 3 kids and am in the process of working through a near-divorce. It’s definitely nice to read someone whose voice is clear enough to cut through the bullshit. =)

  5. So happy my friend just shared your link – I am a newly divorced mom of 4 teens too…hmmm, I think I see a trend:) – looking forward to checking this out.

  6. Just found you through a link Kelly Corrigan posted and love your writing! I also have a fantasy friends lineup including Kelly, Anna Quindlen, Amy Tan, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Cheryl Strayed, Liz Gilbert, Ricky Gervais, and Garth Stein. They’re my peeps. Looking forward to reading more of your work!

    • Kate … sounds like we share the same group of friends! I also love Cheryl, Liz and Amy. Not familiar with Vanessa so need to investigate meeting her now! I forgot to add Mary Karr, David Sedaris and — how could I have forgotten her? — Oprah! She’s my BFF. Glad you found me … 🙂

  7. Hi, I’ve found your blogs via Scary Mommy. I’m a single parent (41) to two children, Cecilia who’s 7 (next birthday she’s 18) and Leon my baby who’s 4 next March. I love your blog about your son making the coffee and your youngest whipping up the omelette. The phrase regarding the ‘neglect’ had me laughing a lot, or ‘lol’ing – which by the way, I believed meant ‘lots of love’ up until about 6 months ago. Anyway, I digress, your blogs are wonderful and I’m looking forward to reading more.
    Take care

  8. Hi Amy,
    I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m a mother of four young kids, (the oldest is 10 and the youngest is 1) and I separated from my husband 3 1/2 months ago, so this has been a hellish few months. My marriage has been a roller coaster of dealing with his addictions and betrayal so this separation is a long time coming. But, boy, the emotions you talk about ring so true for me. I read your posts and they just speak to me. Something about the understanding that comes with being a single mother of 4 and having faced betrayal by your husband. Anyhow, I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for sharing your wonderful writings/musings/thoughts etc with us all.

    • Sally … I’m so sorry to hear about all you’re dealing with and so glad you find some comfort knowing you’re not alone in your struggles. Hang in there, it totally gets better. And then it gets worse. And then it gets better again. Thank god for wine … 😉

  9. Amy, I just read your recent article on Huffington. I am currently going through a similar situation. Two kids on the verge of teen years, recently separated, unemployed (stay at home mom). A very messy divorce so far. I am the youngest of nine so I understand where you are coming from. I was married for 21 years. I lost myself and am struggling to figure out who I am. I am also 46. I’m so happy to have found your blog. I feel hopeful… thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more!

    • OMG, Maureen … were we separated at birth? It’s totally terrifying but you really can do it. Be true to yourself and remember who you were all those years ago and who you wanted to be. So glad you found the blog … xo

  10. Hi Amy, Just read your blog about divorce, the unknown and moving forward. After 27 years of marriage there was something not right. We both weren’t happy and throughout the later years it was showing through various ways. Marriage counseling, individual counseling and looking within myself made me come to the decision I can’t “pretend” anymore. This decision wasn’t easy, but it is happening. Way too much to explain as to how I/we got here, but when your two grown boys tell you, I understand your decision”, and “you look much happier now”, I know it was the right decision. Never in my life would I have thought I’d be in this position, but here I am. Thank you for this blog, it makes me realize I am not alone. Peace

  11. Hi Amy. I checked out your blog at the recommendation of my life long friend, Meghan McCaleb. Love it! I also have 4 children with a 9 year gap between 1 and 4. 17 boy, 15 girl, 13 boy and almost 8 boy. You are so right, that #4 is a reminder of the sweet stuff.

  12. I’m so excited to find your blog (via the happy hausfrau recommendation) ! Well my name happens to be Amy too, divorced after 20 years and raising (just 2) kids. I love your voice, I keep nodding at your experiences and that xmas landslide gift from your daughter made me teary. Thank you for sharing!

    • First of all, I love any and all Amys — especially ones who happen to like my blog! 😉 So glad you found me through Jenny and also to know I’m not alone in this journey. xo

      • Hi Amy! Found your blog through a link on a friend’s facebook post. I was mesmerized at the first paragraph on the one about getting close to 50. You got me at “bullshit”. I read a few more (loved the Christmas card one) and HAD to subscribe. I get so many blogs anymore I’ve had to unsubscribe from ones that have become a chore to read. I have felt so all alone for a bit now as I am my own demographic; divorced after 22 years and 4 boys who I devoted my everything to hence leaving me in my current state of abject poverty as I had no “career” to fall back on. I have been a “caregiver” my whole life- the oldest of 8 kids, like you. Classic dysfunctional-dad-alcoholic-mom-codependent family. Thought I was doing the right thing staying home raising my 4 boys, then taking care of my widowed mom for 4 years when she required 24/7 care, while being a single mom to my now 6 yr old. Yep- I am a 55 yr old mom to a 6yr old. There are 20 yrs between my oldest who is now 27and actually getting married this Sept after proclaiming his whole life he was NEVER geting married. Did I mention my 6 yr old’s dad is 20 yrs younger and Jamaican? I actually met him while out with my ex and we had such a huge fight in the car I made him go somewhere else for an hour. Society doesn’t value those of us who take care of the young and old and I spend my days scrambling to make the rent any way I can. I recently added to my collection of boys by taking in a 14 yr old Chinese exchange student who now fights with my 6 yr old like a true brother/ Since it’s now after 9 pm and I’ve had my 3 glasses of wine and forgot the point I wanted to make I just hope to connect more with you. 50 isn’t the rough one- it’s hitting 55. You are no longer close to that first half but closing in on 60 and those years referred to as”golden” because the only fillings that haven’t disintegrated are the gold ones. 50! Ha! You are a young chick!

  13. I find myself laughing out loud often to your posts. It is so incredibly refreshing to find a mom blog that is both authentic and hilarious. I relate to the teenagers. At one time, I had two male teenage drivers and was freaking out! I have 3 kids, and my daughter has by far given me the greatest teenage scary material….somehow, we live through it. Recently, I sustained a serious head injury while skiing with my boys. These are the moments when parenting comes full circle. My boys were truly amazing. As I looked up at them while being pinned to a back-board – and full blown amnesia – they were calm and supportive…..they convinced me I would be OK. I was amazed that they held their emotions together and collected all our skiing clothing and stuff which was spread throughout the ski area. We did not lose one thing that night – not even a glove….not even me. Parenting does have magic moments….Thanks for the great blog!

    • Wow. Your accident sounds terrifying and I’m so glad you’re alright! But I SO agree, some of my most satisfying mom moments have been when the kids have stepped up and looked out for me. It’s when I know I’ve done something right. Glad you found the blog and are reading along … xo

  14. Hahaha! I love your writing! I love that you write it! I have 2 girls, perfectly planned 23 months apart, and Keirah 8 years later. I sometimes honestly do not think that I have ever fully recovered from having my 3rd…and she’s 5 years old! Hahahaha! But what I am truly in awe of, and in search of , is honesty about raising teens! I am exhausted by the time I get my older 2 daughters to school! Your t is for teens doesn’t have anything in it, which made me laugh out loud! My oldest is 14 and hanging on by a thread of hope and faith. Have you been there? Have you seen the other side? She’s not even in high school yet. Wtf? Oh! AND…I am the 7th of 8 children. The youngest girl, with a brother 11 months younger!

    • Jenny … Girl, you need to just hang on to your hat for the next few years. Does it get a little better? Yes it does. Does it feel like it takes an eternity to get there? Errr … well, let’s just say it’s not gonna be all rainbows and unicorns any time soon for you. Hang in there!!!

  15. Ha! I laughed reading your comments. My oldest girl is going to be 44, mother of 2, a girl & a boy, 6 & 4. She’s a veterinarian with her own hospital. husband is its CEO. After a few miscarriages I had my son, now almost 39, married, and my “baby” girl, 37, also married but living on the Northwest coast. We divorced when she was 6 months old. Had catastrophic accident shortly thereafter, was in a coma for 6 weeks.Thank God for my mother. Recuperated from that with limited ROM on my left arm and a sense of balance that sucks. Raised my children alone in the house until I met my present husband and it was time to move. Great memories of Little Silver, where I even taught Spanish in its schools. Was great re-visitng the old homestead with my son and his wife. Thanks Amy, you did good by it, Fondly, Paddy

  16. Hey Amy!
    I’m still not getting your publishings via email?! Was with Laurie Miller, Michelle Blough and Elise Bonn out in Vail few months ago. Always good to catch up with the UD sisters. Good luck w the move. Merry Christmas!

    • Hi Danielle! So good to see your name here and sorry my posts aren’t getting to you! I tried fiddling around to fix that but please email me at if it continues and I’ll find someone smarter than me to make it work. 😉 Jealous of you Vail ladycation with UD ladies and wishing you a Merry Christmas … xo

  17. I stumbled upon your blog today and I have to say as I sat here reading through some in my “rare” quiet time, I was laughing and trying not to get too loud. Your life is sooooo much like mine. I have 4 children ages…….2, 5, 15 and 17. Seriously, keep up the blog!

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