The Divorce Cat

I said I’d never get a cat. 

As a self-declared cat-hater, I swore there would never be one in my home.

Except for one random Sunday afternoon I ended up inviting over a lady with a crate of four kittens, and she walked out of my house with only three.

I named her Moxie, after my most favorite book of all time (Of Mess and Moxie, by Jen Hatmaker).

“You know what Moxie is?”


“Our DIVORCE cat.”

The word had come out of her mouth so seamlessly…yet it simultaneously sucked all of the air out of my lungs.

My six-year-old seemed more comfortable with the word divorce than I had ever felt.  In fact, at this point, I wasn’t even sure I had ever said the word out loud…

I’ve been absent from this incredible mama-tribe-blog for almost a year now.  Because, about a year-and-a-half ago, my life as I knew it – my life as I loved it – was ripped out of my hands.

There was an actual single moment I can still taste and see and hear… I can feel the way my breath caught in my lungs in shock, despair, heartbreak.

I remember the outfit I was wearing. The way my boots sounded as they paced around the hardwood floors of my home, trying to find my next breath.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

The moment that began a season of my life I never, ever saw coming.

I was a scared, confused mama of three littles – ages five, two, and four months.

Because of the ways in which I found myself drowning, gasping for air, covered in darkness… all while trying to keep three tiny humans alive and well and happy and oblivious… I had to step away – hide – from so many parts of and people in my life.  I had to retreat while I tried to make sense of the wreckage that surrounded me.

Writing – speaking my truth, letting go of the thoughts and feelings of my innermost self, finding therapy in the tapping of a keyboard…was something I needed to walk away from for awhile.

And finally, finallyhere I am.  Walking into the sunshine, finding out more about myself with each passing moment, finding my way in this new role…a role I am finally comfortable enough to say aloud, thanks to my courageous, six-year-old daughter.

And a word I am now also finally brave enough to type.

I am divorced.

I am a divorced mom.

I am a divorced mama of three small children.

Divorced, divorced, divorced.

Two years ago…only two years ago – if you would’ve told me I’d be sitting here in this position, I would’ve told you that you were insane.

And yet, here I stand.

While all of the details of my divorce aren’t necessarily important, what is important for me is to speak my truth. To own my heart, to stand on my own two feet and speak with conviction. Saying I loved hard, I felt big, I forgave, I tried with all my might, I found strength to hold on even when it felt impossible, and one day it just wasn’t enough anymore.

I can tell you over the past year and a half I have had the darkest moments of my life, moments in which I truly believe I only survived because of my children and because of my faith.

I can also tell you I am proud of who I’ve been, and I’m even more proud of and in love with who I am becoming.

Divorced and all.

And I can tell you that the word divorce is just that – a word.  It does not define me, it is not who I am nor does it determine how I will live the rest of my life.

It is a word that means I experienced a grief like no other…a grief that comes with little closure because the other person is still visible, still there, still around (and still an active part of your life if you have children).

It is a word that means my family looks a little different now.

It is a word that brought the most real, raw pain I have ever felt. Like a wound left wide open, my heart literally felt bruised and broken and ripped apart for a very, very long time.

But because of my divorce and the events that surrounded it, I believe with all of my once-broken heart I am stronger than I ever even imagined. I am worthy, and I am resilient. God may not be able to fix all things, but that he can make beauty emerge from all things.

And I also believe if I keep letting the sunlight shine on my divorced, scarred heart…new life and new love and new joy and new hope will find roots to bloom for all the rest of my days.

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Jessie Peele
Jessie is a happy-hour-loving, cupcake-eating, running-obsessed, reality-tv-addicted single mama, currently living in Carrollton, GA. She was born and raised in Columbia, SC, attended Clemson University (Go Tigers!), and taught elementary school for about ten years in Winston Salem, NC. Life brought her to Carrollton in January of 2014, and after four years in Georgia she's still getting used to living in a small town. Jessie was a stay-at-home mama for 3.5 years, but when life took an unexpected turn, she became a divorced mama who found her way back to the classroom. With three kids in tow (Cameron Kate, 7, Everette, 4, and Brooks, 2), she is now a full-time elementary school teacher and a part-time skincare business owner via Rodan + Fields. In the nooks and crannies of her day, she loves running (bonus if it's WITHOUT the stroller!), binge-watching on Netflix, baking and eating anything sweet, drinking a good craft beer/vodka cocktail/cold margarita, and blogging about all things mama-hood on her blog Cupcakes & Running Shoes:


  1. So nice to read your words again. Thank you for sharing your truth as one divorced Mama to another… HUGS and love. XOXO

  2. Thanks for sharing. I’m about on the same timeline with this divorce trauma as you. I also have 3 kids I had to walk through this season. It’s encouraging to hear a similar heart and message about something I’ve so intimately experienced. It’s also hopeful that our divorce isn’t our shame or identity.

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