Second Act: “Hi, I’m Lisa”

I begin as most of us do these days when introducing ourselves, “Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m a mom”.  It’s the wonderful way we’ve come to identify ourselves, but truthfully it sometimes feels as if we’re all at some Mom’s Anonymous meeting, grasping paper cups full of coffee and hoping that acceptance is the first step towards independence. (Who are we kidding – I know what’s REALLY in those cups.)But I AM a mom to two great and growing children, my son (Monkey)who is 14 and a 10 year old daughter (Ladybug)*.

This column marks a return to writing for me.  I spent a number of years “mommy blogging” when my kids were younger.   It was the perfect age for folly, and every week I had no trouble finding material for my column.  Oh how we laughed at stories of our attempts to shortcut diaper duty, the hapless tooth fairy and the chaotic jumble of toys our house had become.  But as the kids got older, I found the jokes weren’t so easy to come by.  I would sit down to write and find myself staring at a blank screen.   I just couldn’t find anything amusing about parenting.  It was scary territory.  Our kids were getting bigger, the concerns more foreign and the smells more disturbing.  After an exhausting day of dealing with the moods that hormones brought on, the turmoil of assisting with homework that was beyond my comprehension level and the challenge of dealing with people who were taller and more complex than me, I just couldn’t see sitting down at the computer to hash it all out again.  It felt like having newborns again and I was back to being that green mom unable to discuss her fears with anybody; sure that I was the ONLY PERSON EVERY IN THE HISTORY OF PARENTING to experience this.  I alone was missing some crucial piece of the parenting puzzle.   Added to this frustration was and still is my own tangled path towards “self-actualization” – the need to remember who else am I besides a mom?  What will I do when these people leave my house (please, God, let there be a day when these people leave my house.)

In the midst of all of this, I had lost track of one of the most basic yet crucial elements of mommyhood; we’ve all been there.  And if we haven’t been there yet, we’re on our way.  And we should talk about it.

Recently, a phrase caught my ear that I’d never heard before.  “Second Act” – the  career or life change that signals second half of one’s life.  I loved the grandeur of the phrase; rather than have the negative stigma that comes with hitting “middle age” or the terrifying angst that comes with changing careers, this phrase holds some kind of glory.  Filled with possibility.  And this is where I find myself –  at intermission, waiting for my second act.  A midway point for my parenting, my career, my life.   The good news is I have a glass of wine by my side and I’m excited to share the stories with you as we write our second acts.

*For those Tori Spelling fans out there, I want to assure you that I was using these nicknames long before Ms. Spelling became the world’s largest manufacturer of blond babies.


Lisa hails from Rhode Island, where she lives with her husband, son and daughter. In addition to writing, Lisa has worked as a drama teacher, swim instructor, museum interpreter, shopkeeper and professional organizer. (Well, not really, but once her mom's friend paid her $200 to clean our her basement.) Lisa's parenting philosophy can be summed up as, "What doesn't kill us will be great fodder for therapy later."