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Midlife Isis: Can kids be happy with divorced parents?

As you may remember, I wrote my first "Midlife Isis" blog and promised a weekly installation detailing my separation from my husband of 13 years and our plan to raise our sons in a loving-but-non-nuclear family. That was three weeks and three rough drafts ago. Turns out, writing this is more difficult than I expected.

The decision to transform our family was the biggest and most difficult decision of our lifetime. First and foremost, we had to answer the question: Can our kids be happy without having both parents under one roof? Or will this, inevitably, screw them up?

Like numerous friends, I grew up in a family with unhappy parents who made the decision to muddle through their bad marriage until the kids turned 18. In the meantime, they faked it, and consequently, I saw them at their worst.

And yet, I know now -- as an adult facing many of the same issues that they did -- that my parents did the best they could and were following a model that was thought to be the best choice. The "staying together until the kids are 18" concept was common during past decades -- particularly the ‘80s -- but because of my experiences, I can't do it. There are so many reasons for this.

I want my sons to someday live with partners they are truly in love with. I don't want to model a relationship for them -- even with their father -- that is anything less than that. Sure, their father and I love each other, like family members do, but we are not "in love." And we are too young to give up passion, even for the sake of our kids. However, our society -- even the supposedly progressive community in which I live -- suggests that I'm being selfish.

But despite judgments, we soldier on and return to the afore-proposed question: Can our kids be happy living in two households?

Deep thought, conversation, reading, soul searching and weeping -- so much weeping -- helped me come to the conclusion that yes, my sons can be happy living in a non-nuclear family. …

Now: Killer coffee and cerveza!
Now: Killer coffee and cerveza!

Fuel serves beer?!

It's true: Riverwest's Fuel Cafe started serving beer today. A sign in front of Fuel reads "Our beer is so fresh it's still a little warm."

The beer list include $3.50 bottles of various Lakefront beers, Ale Asylum, Pacifico and Point. Schlitz Tall Boys are available for $3.

I did not order one because I was in midday caffeine mode, but the addition of alcohol was noted. I look forward to washing down a Buttafuoco or a cheesy tomato sandwich with a Pacifico very, very soon.


Know a good teacher? Send him or her my way!
Know a good teacher? Send him or her my way!

Looking for teachers for the teacher spotlight

Starting in September, will run a six-week series of articles called the teacher spotlight. The articles will run in the Kids & Family channel on the site.

Every Monday, will showcase an outstanding Milwaukee Public Schools' teacher. Hence, if you would like to nominate one, please e-mail me at with his or her name, the school where they teach and contact information.

Happy back to school, Milwaukee.


The Brew City Bruisers are one tough team.
The Brew City Bruisers are one tough team. (Photo: Royal Bonde-Griggs)
Even the really rad skaters wipe out.
Even the really rad skaters wipe out. (Photo: Royal Bonde-Griggs)
The jam.
The jam. (Photo: Royal Bonde-Griggs)
Three cheers for the Beerleaders!
Three cheers for the Beerleaders! (Photo: Royal Bonde-Griggs)

The Brew City Bruisers could kill me features a series called "Switch Shift" that requires the editors to work a few hours at a job that's very different from their usual work. For example, managing editor Bobby Tanzilo worked as a used record shop clerk, senior editor Drew Olson flipped burgers at George Webb and I was a magician's assistant for master illusionist David Seebach.

For about a year, publisher Andy Tarnoff and I have chatted about the possibility of me taking a "shift" as a member of the Brew City Bruisers female roller derby team. This sounded like fun to me, and I even picked potential names: Molly Ringworm or Molly McBlooder.

So with all of this in mind, my kids and I went to the last Brew City Bruisers' bout on Saturday night.

It was my sons' first time seeing live roller derby -- I had seen a bout once before -- and, as always, the bad asses-on-wheels put on an entertaining show and a great fight despite their losses. (In the first half, the Brew City Battlestars lost to the Steel City B-Unit, 124 to 195; and in the second half, the Brewcity Allstars lost to the Steel City Steel Hurtin', 45 to 168.)

However, while watching the bouts, I came to the conclusion that there is no way in hell I could hang with these surly rollers.

My mediocre skating skills -- developed solely during the ‘80s at Waukesha Skateland -- are not going to help me in the least. These grrls are competitive speed demons with a crap-ton of talent and skill. Sadly, I came to the conclusion that if I attempted a single lap with my sub-par skating abilities I'd end up extra-flat roadkill in fishnets.

Maybe Molly Ringworm will lace up in the next life.