My Former Self

Stephanie Land because i said so

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“Well,” they say, “at least you get a break!”

Full-time, year-round moms refer to this when my daughter goes to her dad’s. It’s true. I get a break.

Recently, I had five days off from school, work, and parenting. I gallivanted through the deserts of southern Utah. My whole demeanor changed. I easily fell into the essence of myself. I wrote, lived out of a backpack, and read prose. I drank whiskey with my coffee while watching the sun rise. I became my own, philosophical a priori. The former self.

I’m genuinely grateful for the ability to reconnect with this person. But it came at a cost. Years of court battles, arguing through lawyers, and spending Christmas mornings alone.

I’ve been told I have it easy, being a single mom. Even that I’m not a real mom for getting this freedom.

But this almost six-year-old girl of mine continuously reassures me. I am.

About the Author

Stephanie Land

Stephanie Land's work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Vox, Salon, and many other outlets. She focuses on social and economic justice as a writing fellow through the Center for Community Change, and through the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Her memoir, MAID: A Single Mother's Journey from Cleaning House to Finding Home, is forthcoming through Hachette Books. She writes from Missoula, Montana, where she lives with her two daughters.

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