Her Idyllic Life Existed Only on the Mommy Blog

'Elle' profiles Natalie Lovin, who had to reckon with the collapse of her marriage, world
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2019 4:14 PM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2019 2:06 PM CST
Her Life Was Perfect, but Only on Her Mommy Blog
Stock photo.   (Getty/SbytovaMN)

If you happened to be a casual reader of the Hey Natalie Jean blog several years ago, you might have envied the life of author Natalie Holbrook. She and her husband and baby boy were living what appeared to be an idyllic existence in New York City, with Holbrook a stay-at-home Mormon mom and her spouse making good money as a financial services manager. What's more, Holbrook's blog about all this was taking off. "Her life is one you want to have,” wrote Nona Willis Aronowitz after interviewing Holbrook in 2011. Flash forward to the present day: In a profile for Elle, Aronowitz is again interviewing Holbrook, who now goes by her maiden name, Lovin. That's because Lovin's marriage broke up in 2016, and with it went her successful blogging career. (At her high point, she was pulling in $70,000 a year and had 700,000 monthly visitors.)

"I had to reckon with the fact that I'd been lying to people," says Lovin. "I had to go back on my word and say 'Just kidding, I was actually miserable, I just didn't tell you.'" She realizes now that in putting up a varnished version of reality, "I was erasing myself." The profile details Lovin's struggles as she became a single mom in Portland, Ore., as well as her dawning realization that her view of womanhood wasn't in sync with her religion and her ex. Today, she finds herself in a better place. This year, she landed a full-time job writing publications for Nike; she's dating casually, posting to her blog occasionally, and is thinking about writing a second book of advice—but one much different than one she wrote as a supposedly blissful married mom. It will be "the real story this time," writes Aronowitz. Read the full profile. (More Longform stories.)

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