Eight years ago, my boyfriend walked out the door. Our daughter was 7-months old, and I'll never know for sure what put him over the edge. He was bipolar. He drank. He was fragile. He didn't leave a forwarding address.
This was a time when I believed that love would overcome anything. Well, it certainly overcame me. I've always been the kind of woman who plans. "Control freak" has been used to describe me. But I grew up in a chaotic household in the 1970s: my parents divorced when I was a toddler, and my sister and I were never sure whose house we'd be sleeping at. I like to know what the program is.
Single motherhood sent me into shock. Before I had my daughter, Mae, I was a newspaper reporter. I got my first job at age 20 at a weekly paper in Connecticut. I love deadlines. Then, I moved to Prague and wrote for an English-language newspaper. Back in New York City, I earned my journalism degree. At age 28, when I was pregnant, I was a researcher at Time, Inc.
After having Mae, I slid into the world of textbook editing (thanks to an ad in The New York Times). It was the perfect gig because I could clock in hours from home. I'm self-disciplined. My child does not yet know the word "domineering." I can be that, too.
I'd dreamed of starting my own editing business with my ex, who'd been studying computer programming. Single motherhood was not part of the plan. In 2000, I had to bow my head and ask my family for financial help. They were generous. I was lost. I didn't know any single mothers who ran their own businesses. Actually, I didn't know any single mothers.
I'd love to hear from moms who work for themselves. What do you love about running your own business? Say, getting paid for doing something you love? Or, taking a break in the middle of the day to exercise, or to drive your kid to soccer practice?
What's challenging about working for yourself? For me, it's hearing my daughter say, "You love your computer more than you love me." Paying my own health insurance is a huge stretch for me, too.
I'd love to hear from single moms who do it all: work, parent, grocery shop, cook, go to parent-teacher conferences. How do you balance it all?