I Was a Happy Homemaker — When that Blew Up, I Went on a Sexual Journey and Became a Writer
In February 2018, when I debased myself by searching my husband’s phone to figure out why he had become cold and distant from me, I found myself smack in the center of a cliched midlife crisis story.
I had, until that fateful night, led a fairly quiet albeit hectic life as a stay-home mom to three children. The older kids were teenagers, but the youngest was seven years old and still required plenty of hands-on momming. We structured our lives around holidays and seasons, papering our front door with hand-drawn signs that read “May the Luck Of the Irish Always Be With You” or “Kisses to Our Valentines.” After ushering the teens out the door for their subway commutes to school, my daughter and I would rush out the door ourselves, stopping to admire Halloween decorations on brownstone doors or crocuses pushing through frozen soil.
I would pass off her backpack and lunch with a quick kiss on the top of her head and linger for a few minutes, catching up with other moms. I was fully immersed in this community, having been a parent here for thirteen years and serving a two-year stint as PTA president. Then I would amble over to a Pilates class, stop at the farmers market on my way back home to buy fresh flowers and eggs, and blast NPR so I could hear it from every room while I made beds, fluffed pillows, washed breakfast dishes, threw laundry in the machine.
I’m painting a picture of a happy homemaker, possibly even one from another, much earlier, decade, and that’s what I was. I had given up a career in book publishing to have this life. I missed having my own paycheck and the feeling of achievement that comes with professional success, but I had long ago made peace with this being my life instead. I was content, possibly not greeting each morning like Snow White did at her peak, but grateful nonetheless.
When I read text messages that made it undeniable that my husband was in love with another woman — and simultaneously disenchanted with the life he had been leading with me — my “happy homemaker” role was written off our family show. Now what?