At 36 years old, I had what seemed to be the ideal life. I had a beautiful five-year-old daughter and a rambunctious three-year-old boy, both of whom I love terribly. I was married to a good man who I had been with for 13 years and lived in a spacious three-bedroom condo in Honolulu. I also owned an award-winning design firm and won the prestigious Pacific Business News Forty Under 40 Award. Life was just peachy from the outside.
But my "real" life was far from it. It was hectic to say the least. For years I was the star of my own juggling act that consisted of two demanding kids, a dying marriage, a messy home, and a struggling design business to take care of. I was also trying to start a new business with friend and psychologist Dr. Martin Johnson. Ironically it's an online community created to help women find, maintain, and deepen lasting, loving relationships called LoveInsight.com.
With all of these balls in the air, I had no time for sleep, let alone sanity. What looked picture perfect from the outside was far from ideal under the microscope. I yelled at the kids all the time. I saw my design business take a turn for the worst and worked relentlessly to keep it afloat. I resented my husband for all the things he did (or didn't do) that put more stress on the family and me. No matter what I did to try to change things, nothing seemed to work. I hated my life and all the obligations, demands, and stresses it gave me. I was in my own hell, concealed by a façade of the perfect life.
Then came chaos. Long story short, my marriage ended, we sold our home, and the kids and I moved in with my parents. (Now there's a blog topic that could go on for days!) With so much change, along with trying to save my financially-crippled design firm and trying to start a new online business, my life became even more unpredictable when a new guy entered the picture.
Yes, a new guy! He was tall, handsome and treated me like a princess. LoveInsight.com started to ramp up for our big beta launch right around the time I started dating him. Luckily, I had worked with Martin for a solid year on LoveInsight.com and took notes on his advice while we built the website. All that exposure to why guys do the stupid things they do has paid off. I also see the errors I made in my marriage that I vow never to repeat again. I've learned how I want to be treated and I know how to ask for it. And I learned how to get over my split with the ex ... which reminds me of the one benefit of a divorce that you will never get in any other situation: Your children become real treasures. Yes, children should always treasured, blah, blah, blah. But really, during the daily grind of things, as a hard-working mother shuttling the kids to activities, putting food on the table, cleaning the bathrooms and wiping poop off the walls, how often have you taken your kids for granted? The ex and I share equal time with the kids, so when I do get to see them, I cherish every moment and focus only on their needs. I try to really see them for who they are and not be distracted with other tasks and work. They get my full attention. They're pretty cool kids, I must say.
So between managing two businesses, the kids, my new boyfriend, dealing with the Ex, living under the same roof as my parents again, and finding time for myself -- wait, I still don't have that last part -- my life is in obvious chaos. There is no "Perfect Life" facade anymore. But I love it. It's just me, my chaos and lot more hope in my heart.