When syndicated parenting columnist Tracy Beckerman gave up her high-powered Manhattan TV career to focus on motherhood, she, her husband and their two young kids left their quintessential New York lifestyle behind for a different one in the Jersey suburbs. Her new life as a full-time mom, however, left Beckerman in a funk. “Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir: How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs” tells the story of how the author found her groove in Jersey and learned how important a sense of humor is in raising a family.
How did you decide to swap your city life for a suburban one, and what was the transition like?
After I had my son and went back to my job as a writer and producer for the local news, I never expected that I was going to not really care about it anymore. I felt like I was missing out by not being with my son. So we made the decision that I was going to quit my job. Then we realized that we couldn’t afford to stay in the city! So we moved to New Jersey. I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t have my job to define me anymore and I just sort of lost it. It made it tough to be comfortable in my new role.
How did things begin to change?
My low point is when I got stopped by a cop driving in my dumpy bathrobe. I thought, I’ve got to turn my life around! When my kids went to school, I thought about what I could do that is just for me. One day my son came home from school and told me something funny that happened, and I wrote it down. [The story] came flooding out of me, and the local paper ran it. Soon after, two more papers expressed interest. I realized this was going to be my second act. Finding the humor in parenting made me so much happier.
What should women in this situation keep in mind?
If you defined yourself by your career, it can be very hard when all of a sudden your job title is Stay-At-Home Mom. You need something for yourself that’s not just about your kids — something just for you that you feel good about. I think you end up feeling happier, and it makes you a better parent.