The Kristen Chase you see on the The Today Show as a frequent guest chatting about parenting and parenting culture, you might not guess that I survived many years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of my alcoholic father.
The last time I saw my dad alive, he slapped me across the face.
I spent most of my childhood dodging mean words and sticks or spoons, then left as soon as I could — the ripe young age of 16 — to start college.
I threw myself into education, and earned a degree in music therapy in just under 3 years, then working with children with disabilities, through graduate school, and right into a position as a college professor.
I soldiered on, as we do, marrying my oldest’s dad — a military, then commercial pilot, and found myself alone for many days at a time with my daughter, then son, and finally two more daughters.
During that time, in between several moves that took me away from my job as a college professor, I starting blogging to try to connect with other women who might feel like I did: alone and totally out of my league with the whole parenting thing. What started as a silly hobby turned into a website called CoolMomPicks.com, which I created to help support small businesses, and momtrepreneurs. I spent all my free time, often very late nights, building the site into a network that now reaches millions of parents.
After my divorce, I found myself alone, with four kids, doing my best to juggle everything. The loneliness began to set in, and the fear I felt as a child was brought to the surface.
But with my kids as my inspiration and motivation, I kept getting up everyday. On some days, it wasn’t pretty, but I believed that hard work would take me far or at least, distract me from the pain I was feeling.
And so far, it has. Well, that and therapy, meditation, acupuncture, and a wonderful new husband. Hey, it takes a village.
Now, as the Director of Social Media for One Tough B, I’m dedicated to creating a community where women can feel supported, and reminded of the amazing strength they have within them.
I’m still juggling, and hustling, and on many days, struggling. But I’ve learned that’s just part of living. So I can either choose to let it take me down on a sinking ship, or lift me up to new, greater things.