I’ve been keeping something from you: I’m writing a book.
I’ve been working on it, on and off, for more than three years. Frankly, it’s been lonely. I’ve wanted to talk about it on the blog—in fact, it seemed dishonest not to talk about it, since it’s related to all the things I write about here—but somewhere along the way, someone who works in publishing told me that I would ruin (positively ruin!) my chances of getting a publisher if I shared this information in such a public way.
Much later, someone else who works in publishing told me that this was not true, but by then I was spooked and decided to limit this information to my personal circle of friends and family.
Three years is a long time to work on anything. It only took nine months to make each of my kids. Many times I thought about giving up on the book. Life would be so much easier! I could have free time again. I could go for a hike, or see a movie with a friend, or organize the kids’ closets instead of toiling away in my upstairs office. But then I would get an email or a comment from a stressed out mom or dad who read my blog, and it kept me going.
Which brings me to my other, bigger piece of news: I have a publisher!
Maxed Out: A Memoir, will be published this fall with Seal Press, an imprint of Perseus Books. Here a short description from my proposal:
Every day, millions of women like me give our all at work. Then we come home and give our all to our kids. When the kids go to bed, we go back to work. We’re not just busy. We’re living beyond our physical and emotional means, spending energy that we don’t have, making ourselves sick and depressed.
I learned about the dangers of carrying too much psychic debt one sunny Saturday afternoon when I was driving to Target to buy diapers, and I broke down. Not my car. Me.
I pulled over to the side of the road, my hands shaking, barely able to breathe. I called my husband and sobbed, “I can’t do this anymore.”
Just like that, my carefully built career shuddered to an end, and my journey through depression, anxiety, and insomnia; medication, meditation, and therapy began. As I learned over the months to heal my body and my mind, I searched for answers to one question:
What the hell happened?
MAXED OUT: American Moms on the Brink is about trying to do it all, failing miserably, and what comes after.
Now my only pressing concern is making enough time to finish the manuscript.
This blog—your comments and emails—have not only given me the morale support I needed to keep writing, they’ve also educated me about how entrenched and nuanced this “problem that has no name” really is. You’ve helped me see that our individual struggles add up to a bigger, more profound collective struggle to realize our potential, to have our efforts matter and be recognized, and to not be alone in doing the important, necessary work of raising the next generation. In many places I quote from your blog comments in the book, and together, they tell a much richer story than I could have told alone.
I may post some questions to you over the next few months as I finish the manuscript. I hope you will bear with my sporadic blogging schedule (still aiming for once or twice a month), and keep reading and sharing your stories here. Although I don’t respond to every email and comment, I read them all. They matter.
Most of all, I want to say thank you.