Moms Anonymous: From Hip Journalist to Totally Invisible

You Can’t Go Back

SG Buckley

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Photo by Majestic Lukas on Unsplash

I’m at a reporter hangout waiting for a friend. It feels like years since I’ve been in a place like this. I’m so happy. If I weren’t here, I’d be home cooking or cleaning or sitting cross-legged on a floor stacking rainbow rings.

The bar is dark and candlelit. Around me sit slightly scruffy, intense journalist types. The woman at the table next to me speaks in a slow, confident way. She’s a reporter and is wildly name-dropping. There’s a famous politician she’s interviewing, an actor she knows, a fashion designer whose house she went round to for Sunday lunch. Her companion, another journalist, crouches below the table with a broom and dustpan, sweeping up names.

If only.

I used to know people in places like this. I used to talk like they did, with purpose and the feeling I played some part in the day’s events.

Now here I sit, an anonymous mom, self-conscious over whether I look suburban in my mom jeans and tangerine sweater.

My friend enters the bar, glowing from the cold and visibly buzzing from her day. It’s at that moment, I spot blood spot on my sweater.

My daughter had her first nose bleed just as I was walking out the door. She was using our sofa as a luge run.

An attractive woman in black waves my friend over, giving me time to dunk my sleeve in water and rub out the blood. When I look up, they’re both at the table.

My friend introduces me to the woman in black as a “a great journalist,” one who used to work at The Wall Street Journal. The woman, yet another journalist, is polite, but the past tense of my career registers on her face.

As the pair keeps talking, I feel myself fading from the scene. Neither looks at me as they speak.

I get it. I’m not part of their club anymore.

But this is the part of motherhood I didn’t know would be so painful: Losing your identity.

I feel better about it all when I’m home and busy with my daughter. But here in a bar where I used to hang out, where I used to be someone else, I feel I’ve lost something.

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SG Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.