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For the past few weeks, Facebook has been a steady stream of back to school pics. Children marching into the future without even a glance back.  And every year, we parents wonder, “HOW CAN OUR KIDS BE THIS OLD?”

You’d think we’d eventually get used to it but we somehow we don’t.

Kids are forever changing and maybe it’s time for the parents to change too.

For awhile, I’ve been a bit stuck. I was living in a town that didn’t fit me, I desperately missed my friends and the energy of New York, I had grown weary of the daily responsibilities of parenthood (laundry, dishes, clean up, repeat) and I felt isolated by my career (freelance writing).

My world needed to change or I was going to dye my hair, get a neck tattoo and hitchhike to Europe. Can you hitchhike to Europe? Well, I would find out.

I think midlife can come with a lot of stuck. As our children forge onto new frontiers, we watch from the sidelines. Which is wonderful. But people (even parents) need more than sidelines to thrive.

It’s not a clear path how you get unstuck in life. But I have found you take a bunch of steps (that usually involve fear) until you feel a little better. And that’s when you know you’re moving in the right direction.

In the midst of my stuck, a friend said to me, why don’t you go back to TV reporting? I was a TV reporter before I had kids. I had a million reasons why it wouldn’t work. But I decided to ignore them all. Because I truly did miss the energy and pace of a newsroom.

And I know how to be a TV reporter. I have no clue how to hitchhike to Europe.

I emailed my former boss to see if I could come back as a freelance reporter when I was up North for a month this summer.  He said yes.

At this point, I had no idea how I would possibly work out childcare. I have five children. They would all be up North with me. But my plan was – say yes. And then figure out how to make it happen.

Through a combination of camp, before care, after care, babysitters and the help of amazing grandparents, I was able to do a bit of freelance TV reporting this summer. And yes, when I got home from the station, I had to make 5 lunches, fold laundry and get kids to bed. But it didn’t matter. I felt so normal again.


Donald Trump Rally, Fairfield, CT

The pursuit of happiness requires a certain boldness. If you stay on the same path, you will get the same results. Or you say, yes. It’s kind of like that “lean in” thing. Except you are leaning into your true self.

I got a call the other day from BBC radio. They wanted to interview me about baby name regret. I get interviewed on this topic from time to time because I’ve written about it for The Washington Post, Alpha Mom and some other outlets. What time was the BBC interview? Smack in the middle of my kids’ bingo night.

I said yes anyway.

I’d figure out the details later.

I sent my older kids into bingo night and brought my 3 year old to the car. That kid pulled out every single item of my wallet and purse while I blabbered in my American accent about baby name regret.

It all worked out. And the next day I did an interview for BBC Ulster in Northern Ireland. Same topic. And I still had that American accent. But thankfully, my 3 year old was at preschool.

Just forge ahead.

We all get overwhelmed by the enormity of a goal. But it’s the small steps that actually get you there. So you make a promise to yourself. Make one small step today or this week towards what you think might bring you more happiness, more fulfillment. Closer to your true self.

Our children are marching into the future. Let’s march with them.

26 Responses to getting unstuck

  • Suzanne says:

    I love this post. And it has come at a very appropriate time for me. I have a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old and I need to find myself again. There are so many things I miss doing, but I get trapped in the daily grind – work, laundry, lunches, cooking, etc. – that having fun or carving out time for myself seems too hard with all the planning required. And how horrible is that?! Fun shouldn’t be hard! I like your approach. I’m going to make time for myself and figure out the details as they come.

  • Jenna says:

    So happy for you! And how great for your kids to see you pursue what makes YOU happy.
    After posting my 3 kids “leaving for first day” pics on Facebook I gathered up my own notebooks and started nursing school this quarter. It’s been fun to not only get unstuck but to see my kids enthusiasm for my new endeavor.
    I grew up in Fairfield – surely your team whomped us regularly – Roger Ludlowe was not known for its sports – ha!
    Thank you for all your writing. I so enjoy reading your work.

  • Kim says:

    I loved this. It resonates more than I can say (hitch hiking to Europe is pretty much where my head is these days, too). Happy for you that you got unstuck, and hopeful for the rest of us moms who need to do the same.

  • Anne Wansing says:

    With an 18 year old and a 16 year old, I am done but not done. Time to find me….but not really sure who that is. Thank you for this.

    Plus, we moved to a new neighborhood 2 years agao and I hate it…..can’t wait until we can move to somewhere that is more us. That may take some time but I am willing to wait.

    I love this post. I love your writing. And I think Cash is hilarious.

  • Angi says:

    Hope you are liking your new digs in your new city. Best of luck and have fun with getting unstuck! I think you’re speaking to a lot of us who can relate! When I feel stuck, I usually pop a cork. Maybe that’s why my wine rack needs restocking… hmm… Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure!

  • Nancy Horn says:

    Love this. As moms we don’t put ourselves anywhere near the top of the priority list for anything (not self care, not what we want to do careerwise, not for many other things). You did something that made you happy and you figured it out how to make it work. That is big and a good example for all of us.

  • Amanda Drago says:

    Kelsey, that’s amazing! Good for you! You really are an inspiration and incredible role model for your girls. You deserve everything you work for and more!

  • Judy P says:

    I’m not even a people mom but this was still a good reminder that there is more to life than the daily grind. Time to reinvest in the hopeful anticipatory me I used to be…

  • Natalia says:

    Omg! You are such a baller !! I’ve been reading you since I had no kids, and now I’m a PHD student with a 15 month old.
    It’s just so inspirational to see you embracing your passions, and saying yes to some pursuits that can feel so overwhelming to when we have little ones.
    You put it beautifully, we are marching into the future with them!

  • alexandra says:

    The hope in me says yes. The lazy in me convinces me that, um, er, maybe I’m still too busy. But you’re right, I know you’re right. I will march forward. Thank you for this.

  • Dennis House says:

    Kelcie, I was at the Trump rally waiting for an interview that never happened. I thought it was you but ruled it out because I thought what would you be doing there? When I asked someone your name, they said “some new girl at News 12.” I should have said hi rather than being that creepy guy who walked by a few times, but it didn’t occur to me that it could be you. Anyway, I got a call from the Trump people early in the day offering an exclusive interview. Left Kara and the kids at the beach, drove to Fairfield, and waited hours in that heat only to be told at 7:30 at night Trump was cancelling because he was delayed. What a day. Great to see you, Rick and the family are well.

    • Kelcey says:

      Hi! How funny!! So relieved they describe me as “some new girl at News 12” and not “some old chick that used to work for News 12.” Hope you are doing great! 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    Years ago I would have jumped through hoops to do something I wanted to do. I do that now, but just for my kids. When did I become so complacent? Thank you for reminding me that my life is worth watching, too.

  • Wow. I’ve had this post (minus the 5 kids and doing on-air television reporting) in my head for a few years now and therefore you have just related another inspirational nudge for me to get moving. It’s hard to be at a crossroads when you are normally the one doing the encouraging. This year, I have my eldest starting college, my 2nd in high school, my 3rd in middle school, and my 4th in elementary. I can’t keep excusing my refusal to move forward on me any longer after reading your great story and so many of your readers’ comments. Thanks for sharing! Truly!

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kelcey kintner