About

In February of 2011 I read a New York Times Magazine cover story on Mommy Bloggers. At the time, I was going through a bloodcurdling custody battle. My ex-husband, “Prince Machiavelli,” who is super-rich and loves to fight, was suing me for full custody of one of our children. I am not super-rich and I don’t like to fight, so I had become a trembling blob of anxiety.

Since I couldn’t afford therapy on top of obscene legal fees, I had taken to e-mailing friends and relatives updates of my custody saga. But then, when I read about Mommy Bloggers and how many of them mine their lives on their blogs, I decided to start one of my own. Blogging would be cheaper than therapy, I figured, and it would keep me from burdening those close to me with my ongoing tales of post-divorce woe.

Before my divorce, I had been a writer. I wrote essays and articles on lifestyle, parenting and health issues for print and on-line magazines. I dreamed of writing a book, but had to jettison that pursuit when my marriage blew up, and necessity forced me to go back to school and begin working full-time. Between my job and having primary custody of my two kids, my previous identity as a writer melted away.

Until I discovered there was this thing called blogging. Knowing virtually nothing about blogging platforms, SEO, or social media, I stumbled through WordPress instructions and launched Perils of Divorced Pauline on February 27, 2011. I based the title on Perils of Pauline, an amusingly melodramatic damsel-in-distress film serial from the early 1900s. In my blog, I changed all names and identifying elements to protect myself from being sued, and to safeguard the privacy of my family.

Speaking of family, here they are, their photos cropped to preserve their anonymity:

My second husband, Atticus, without whose love and support I might have crumbled.

Atticus

My 19-year-old stepson, Caleb, an amazing musician and photographer, now in college.

Caleb

My beautiful 14-year-old son, Luca, the quintessential spirited child, now in boarding school.

Luca

My soon-to-be 10-year-old daughter Franny, who awes me with her sense of humor, kindness, social butterfly-ness and fashion panache. She is with us 62.5% of the time.

Franny

My almost 8-year-old stepson Kevin, a sweet-natured, Lego-loving kid who has become a true brother to Franny. He is with us 30% of the time.

Kevin

And our cat, Clementine. We actually have three, but we play favorites. She is with us 100% of the time.

Clementine

As soon as I posted my first blog piece, my writing ambition awoke from its long slumber. I blogged my way through my custody battle, my son’s special need issues, and anything else I found compelling — like blog trolls, historic preservation, and celebrities. I try to inject some sardonic chuckles into my writing because, as my mother always told me, you can’t get through life without a sense of humor. And she was so right.

Along my blogging way, I picked up a following and began to publish my work on other sites: Babble, Salon, Mamapedia, Good Men Project, and Huffington Post.

My custody battle is now resolved, although not the way I’d hoped. Six-figures deep in legal fees, without even getting to court, I was spent, both financially and psychologically. My son was falling apart from the conflict. So I did the previously unthinkable. I gave my ex virtually everything he wanted: full physical custody of our son and sole decision-making power over every major issue. If you want to know more about that down-the-rabbit-hole process, read here.

In writing about divorce, custody, and complicated children, I have found a community of other mothers who have gone through similar experiences. Their comments on my blog, Facebook friendships, Twitter followings, and e-mails have inspired me. Writing is not just about the love of the craft, or making meaning out of life’s twists and turns — it is also about making connections and helping others feel less alone.

As my sister says, I am practically in the Witness Protection Program, so you’ll never see my face. But you can hear my voice as I talk about Parallel Parenting on Super Mommy Not.

If you want to contact me, I would love to hear from you. You can follow me on Twitter @divorcedpauline or Pinterest, friend me on Facebook, fan me on my Facebook page, or e-mail me at divorcedpauline@aol.com. I am friendly, and I spend an ungodly amount of time in front of the computer, so I promise to respond.

Finally, if you are a blogger and you would like to participate in my Blogger Space series, please send a photo of your blogger space, a blurb about why you write where you do, and a link to your blog to divorcedpauline@aol.com.

Pauline

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20 Responses to About

  1. S.ophie says:

    Hi Pauline, I’ve been reading your posts on open salon for a while now and decided to have a look at this page. I just wanted to tell you that I’m sorry your ex-husband is putting you through this. He seems like a really merciless kind of guy and I just don’t get how someone who used to love you could to this to you now (even though you hated each other at the end of your marriage). Please don’t give up – and by don’t give up I don’t mean not to agree to compromises that might end up being inevitable, but not to lose your love for life, for your new husband who sounds like a great guy, and never to stop being a great mom to your children in whatever way you can. I’m sure that Luca will realize that his dad is manipulating him at some point. Take care and stay strong.

    • Hi Sophie:

      First of all, thank you very much for reading my posts on OpenSalon and for taking the time to leave a comment here. I appreciate your thoughts and support, and I think/hope you’re right, that Luca will one day have a more balanced picture of what’s happened.

      Thanks again!

      “Pauline”

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi “Pauline,” ; )
    I read your post on Mamapedia this morning. I’m very sorry about your difficult situation. I tried to share my blog link with you via my response on Mamapedia, but for some reason it won’t show up on Facebook (Mamapedia links to Facebook). I’m a single mom, too, and I blog from a Christian perspective to encourage single parents. Perhaps you will find something there to brighten your day and help you on your journey. I think single parents are the best source of encouragement for each other. God bless you today.
    Love,
    Lisa

  3. Cassandra L. says:

    Hey Pauline,

    As a kid of divorce I can tell you its world changing for a kid to go threw, and thou you think that Luca is being manipulated.. he is just tryin to fix what he used to have. Hang in there! Before you know it things will be better. Stay Strong ❤

  4. bronnie says:

    I can relate to so much of what you write. Even though it’s different countries and situations, the feelings and the helplessness of watching your kids go through this, is so familiar. Sending you hugs! xo

  5. sanewife says:

    Hi Pauline,

    I stumbled across your blog last week and I love it! You are a gifted writer. I am so very sorry to hear about the struggles with your ex; I have walked a very similar path. I linked your blog to my new blog that I just started; I hope that’s ok.
    http://survivingthecrazy.com/

    Take care,

    SaneWife

  6. OMG thank goodness I am not the only one going through an unjust and ugly divorce. As sick as this sounds I am glad that there are others who wake up with the feeling of dread wondering what lies and false accusations the “other side” has come up with today. My ex has Asperger’s and when you combine that with his being a pro kick boxer/ ultimate fighter and the thousands of blows to the head you end up with someone who is detached from reality and makes up stories starring him as the worlds best dad and me as the stay home mom that did nothing. Needless to say his mind is literally mush. Thank you for having a place to vent from the insanity of divorcing a crazy person. But I now live by the mantra of “The crazy person does not get to run the show or make the decisions.”

  7. I just found your site today and I can sense the addiction forming already. I am forcing myself to post this comment, then leave before I spend the entire day reading instead of doing the things I have to do. But I can assure you I’ll be back.

    I’m a therapist who works with youth/adolescents. I’m also a divorced mother. I have worked in a psychiatric hospital, directed a group home, and now provide therapy in a high school where I see almost 10% of the kids enrolled. It’s amazing and heartbreaking how many of them are where they are because of parent/custody/divorce issues. And the posts I’ve read here so far further break my heart because I rarely to get to hear the perspective of the parents on the “other side” of the issues.

    Anyway, your writing is amazing and I can’t wait to dig in and read the rest of your story. Hugs and prayers to you – I can only hope someday to be as strong as you are.

  8. Melissa says:

    Just found this site as well. My children & I were emotionally & verbally abused for 12 years. I got up the courage to leave and he came by in the middle of the night and kidnapped them. Took them 1500 miles away and 2 years later still has them. Why? Money wins? Why? He is a narcissist and can manipulate his way into anything. Only those of us inside know who he truly is. Judge wants to give him custody and full rights. As of today, I have no access or knowledge of their medical, therapy, school etc matters. They moved and I only know because the kids told me. He doesn’t listen to the judges suggestions or what he has been told to do, yet the judge is ok with it. At the time he had myself & my daughter from a previous relationship evicted from our house, took my car and all the while I had no job as I had been a SAHM for 12 years. All this is fine with the judge. I am told daily to keep fighting for my kids who tell me regularly they want to come home. I’m running out of strength and hope….I’m at a loss……..

    • Hi Melissa:

      What you’ve been through sounds horrific. It’s hard to believe these things can go un-fixed in a court of law, but when you’ve been through it you know that they do. It sounds like your kids have his number and when they’re old enough I would think they’ll be able to choose to live with you. Generally judges let older teenagers decide with whom they want to live. My very best to you and your kids.

      P.

  9. May I put you on my blogroll?

  10. Hi Pauline – I just gave you a Sunshine Award as one of my favorite blogs – no idea what it is, but you can check it out on my blog – gabicoatsworth.wordpress.com. Enjoy 🙂

  11. Hi,
    Like any award recipient, I want to congratulate my fellow winners! Congrats on receiving the Sunshine Award from Gabi Coatsworth. I hope to check out your blog soon.

  12. singlemum says:

    Hello, Pauline I found out about your story after reading an article on Huffington Post and I can relate to this situation. Except the relationship I had was sort of over before it began but I already knew that but went along with the flow since I had a new-born child. This was a very emotionally abusive relationship that could have escalated to more of a physical type of abuse. Right now custody is shared and nothing has happened through the courts, but he is very difficult and still has not gotten over the fact that we are not together. He really cant’ see things happening any way than his so he would love to have full custody and keep my child away from me if he could. He is older and has more stability to a certain extent so our child is better off with him but I know that in the future I would love to gain custody of my child.

    What do you think?…any advice?

    • I feel for you. I’m not a legal expert so I can’t give advice. I would strongly urge you to consult with an attorney so you know your rights, and what might happen down the road if your ex gets full custody now. All my best to you.

  13. Jen says:

    Hi Pauline,
    I just read your 2/12 article on Huff Post, and I am so grateful to know that I am not the only mother who had had to give up custody of their child in order to not lose her entirely. I am STILL trying to divorce my “prince” after 4 years [yes, I’ve always called him the prince!] and a brutal custody battle that still rages on even though she is living with him temporarily this year. I’ve watched my daughter be manipulated and alienated from me – and like you – it wasn’t until I let her go that I got her back. Its very hard for people who have not experienced this type of brutal divorce and custody battle with someone who could care less about their child, but just wants revenge to understand WHY and HOW kids end up with utter psychopath fathers. I swear I think we had the same forensic psychologist!
    I see the comments on your Huff Post article and it is so aggrivating. I know its impossible for most people – especially mothers – to understand how you could let go – end the battle. It makes me so upset to see the mean, awful things that they say. I hope none of them ever have to know what it feels like to make that decision to end the war that is tearing your child apart. I wanted you to know that there are other women like me who have gone through this and I am so grateful to know that I’m not alone. Thank you.

    • Hi Jen:

      One of the few good things to come out of this situation is the ability to connect with other parents who have been through the same thing. Divorce and custody are topics that people don’t like to talk about and then when you toss in the “mother blame” in our culture…I know you know what I’m talking about. Thanks for stopping by to comment. And, yes — it’s impossible for most people to understand why a mother could end the battle. This is a very complicated issue and most people try to make it black-and-white. All my best to you and your daughter.

      Pauline

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