3 min
October 16, 2022

Dear Charlie

I’d love to hear more about your prenup and how it went.

Here’s the deal: When you get married, you're signing a contract with your partner. You either let the state dictate the terms or you can figure out what works best for the two of you. 

If you both have little money coming into the marriage a prenuptial agreement may not be necessary. Regardless, each state has a different agreement in place, so if you do not create your own contract, absolutely make sure you read what the state has decided. 

In my case, I had zero money and Sam had a lot of money. It wasn’t fun to have these conversations and put a price on how much money someone should get if we got divorced, but those were the conversations we had to have.

No one gets married and thinks they’ll get divorced. But people get divorced all the time. Shit happens. People change. I look at it this way: if Sam and I get divorced (which I don’t think will ever happen), all I’m going to want to do is mourn the loss of my marriage. I am not going to want to battle him in court over money. That sounds like a nightmare. By signing a prenup we make all these decisions beforehand. So that when the nightmare of divorce does occur, we can part ways without the added stress of figuring out who gets what. Plus, I’m pretty sure it gets really expensive to go to court and figure out those things after the fact. A prenup is clean, practical, and a money saver. 

Things got tense when we had to put a price on how much money I should or should not get. At times I felt greedy and other times I felt undervalued. It was difficult because Sam and I would discuss what seemed fair and then I’d go to my lawyer and she would question the amount. 

Then we had to discuss if one person cheats on the other and how to deal with that. Again, these are not fun conversations to have, but imagine how much worse it would be when it actually happened in real life. 

A note about lawyers: Sam and I each had our own lawyer. I loved mine. She was warm and kind and understood how much Sam and I love each other. On the day we signed the agreements she hugged me and said she expects to never hear from me again.

I understand why people don’t sign a prenup. Especially if you never get divorced. What’s the point of talking about hypothetical, difficult scenarios?? But if you’re practical and you have the hard conversations, you can sign the prenup, put it in a drawer, and go out to dinner with your husband to celebrate that it’s over. 

How about a drug-related story with a sprinkle of reflection?

For a long time, I thought of the first time I did molly as the greatest night of my life. I was 29 and randomly hanging out with my ex’s sister, Mary, and her friends. I wanted to go home but I was stuck at this weird, free outdoor concert. Mary asked if I wanted to do molly. I didn’t even really know what it was, but she said it would be fun so I said sure. 

It hit me HARD. I looked at Mary and loved her so much. I was surrounded by strangers and wanted to hug all of them and know all of them. I wanted to get up on the trashcans with the other people and dance. I felt amazing. I felt so good in my skin. I was so, so happy. I could feel the beat of the music in my skin, pulsing through my body. I had never felt more alive. We danced for hours and I never wanted the night to end. 

Reflection: I had wanted to leave the concert because I had gotten to that point from drinking beer where it turned from fun drunk to bloated drunk. This was always the point in the night where I started to really dislike myself. I wanted to retreat to my room and drink wine, eat Cheez-its, and watch Gossip Girl. But the molly made me feel skinny, like I didn’t have a care in the world. It also made me lose my appetite, which was the best high for a girl who was always hungry and scared to eat in front of people. The way I felt on molly was how I wanted so desperately to feel in my real life. 

But that was not my real life. Molly was a band-aid that temporarily covered up my depression and self-hatred. Side effect of molly? You grind your teeth. Which is especially bad for someone with TMJ disorder (it causes pain in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement). So the next day my jaw was wrecked and I felt pretty low. I really just wanted to do molly again. 

When you add in the reflection bit, my first experience with molly was actually quite depressing. The only reason molly felt so good was because I felt so bad. 

What’s the importance of organized sports for children?

During my junior year of college I started to panic that I had done it all wrong. I chose my college solely on athletics. I wanted to play Division I field hockey. But there was no future in field hockey. Had I wasted my four years playing a sport that would do nothing for my future??

Thankfully, no. My time on the field prepared me for real life way more than my time in the classroom. 

There are so many reasons why organized sports are important for children, but here are three important aspects:  

Be a Team Player: To be successful, you have to play together and trust each other. It doesn’t matter how many all-stars are on the team. If there’s no trust everything falls apart. I had to be respectful, encouraging, accountable, hard-working, and resilient if I wanted my team to do well. 

You learn that it’s not about you - it’s about the well-being of the whole. If you can be a great team player, it will make your life so much easier in all work situations. 

Gain Mental Toughness: I’ve never pushed myself harder than in conditioning for sports. There were many times I told myself I couldn’t go any further. But I didn’t have a choice. It was expected of us. Plus, everyone around me was doing it so I had no excuse. 

When you learn how to push yourself past your limit, you become mentally tough. And mental toughness can get you through hard times.  

Learn How To Fail: It’s easy and fun to score goals and win games. Real character is built from falling and then picking yourself back up. 

Losing gives you the chance to stay positive and learn from your mistakes. Problem-solving takes place. How can we do better next time? What changes can we make?

Most of our greatest successes are only possible because we first failed. 

Tell me a day in the life. What is it right now?  

7am(ish): wake up with George, change his diaper, breastfeed. Sam makes coffee. I ask, “What are we doing with him?” 

What I’m really asking is, “Is there any place we can put him where he won’t cry and we can both do other things?” There are multiple hopeful options (bassinet, bouncer, swing) that probably won’t work. If George cries we’ll try putting him on one of us in the baby carrier. If that doesn’t work, one of us just has to hold him. I’ll usually go out on the back porch because he tends to calm down when he’s outside. Eventually when he calms down (if he calms down), we’ll try the options above until he lands in one. 

Otherwise when it’s 10am, we’ll change his diaper and feed him again. This is the three hour cycle for most of the day. It feels a bit like the movie Groundhog Day. Which can make you feel like you’re losing your mind a little bit.  

During the times he does go down, I will, in the following order: eat, shower, pump (for bottle feeding), do laundry, write, check email and sometimes Twitter, and text a picture of George to family at some point because they demand it. 

Breakfast and lunch don’t exist. Standing at the kitchen island and snacking only. Around 4pm is usually George’s worst time of day when he is very upset for reasons we don’t understand. Some people call it the “witching hour.” I call it, “What happened to my baby?” 

Dinner is sometimes eaten in shifts. 

We’ve just hit the month mark so we are trying to stretch one of his nighttime feeds from three hours in between to four hours. Big goals. George has been running the show up until this point. It’s time for us to regain control!

What is your favorite thing about being George's mom right now? 

Giving birth gave me a magical superpower to comfort my crying baby. Of course it’s not every time, but when it does happen I might as well be wearing a cape.

Also I love looking at him. I could stare at him all day. As long as he’s not screaming.

What is the hardest part that you had no idea would be hard?

Three things: 

  • I knew I wouldn’t get sleep but I really couldn’t prepare for how little I’d actually be getting. Since he was born, I haven’t slept more than three hours at any one time. 
  • I didn’t realize how much I would have to not only hold him, but hold him while standing and bouncing him up and down. It’s like he knows I’m sitting down in a comfortable position and wants to make sure I remember he’s there. 
  • This might seem like a minor thing, but night sweats are so bad that I now lay a towel down on the bed and another one on top of me and still wake up drenched and shivering with my clothes sticking to my body. It’s especially unfortunate when George is actually sleeping and I wake up anyway because I’m so uncomfortable.

How do you ask people you know to sign up for your brand new newsletter, the subject of which may or may not be directly interesting to them?

I’m probably not the best person to ask when it comes to promoting myself. For better or worse, I like things to happen organically. I’ve had a very slow and steady climb in subscribers. I started at 15 in February and seven months later have 121 subscribers.

Since I write under a pseudonym, I didn’t ask too many people I know to sign up for my newsletter. I did email 15 people in my online writing course and said: “There’s zero obligation to sign up, but if you’d like to receive my newsletter, click the link!” 

As far as the subject being of no interest, it’s about finding what’s universally interesting to everyone. For example, I write a lot about being a new parent, but it’s less about that and more about my candid and transparent perspective that is interesting. What are you offering that is unique to you? 

Finally, growing your audience takes time. But there are major benefits to having a small audience. Read my blog post about that here

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I shit myself.

Good news: I was alone, parked in my car. 

Bad news: I had just arrived at a sporting event that I was covering for the local newspaper. I had to call my sister and tell her that I had shit myself and she needed to come with pants and toilet paper and towels and whatever else she could think of. I don’t remember how I managed to clean myself and change in my car in broad daylight. I do remember that I threw out my underwear but salvaged my jeans. ...I liked those jeans. Jeans are expensive.