In 2015, I joined Literary Mama as a social media editor. At the time, my daughter was nine years old, and I remember the school drop-offs and pick-ups, volunteering at her school, leaving love notes in her lunch, and planning play dates. Literary Mama offered a lifeline in those years, where I ambled through motherhood, where my identities as a former lawyer, writer, and mother morphed as one. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but listening to the voices of other mothers and the community of writers I found at Literary Mama, I understood I wasn’t navigating motherhood alone.
The end of the year and the beginning of another always pushes me to reflect on the season that has passed and what may come ahead. This year marks almost a decade at Literary Mama, and my nine-year-old turned 18 this month. As my daughter shed recess and began working on homework and assignments that mattered, I graduated from social media editor to blog editor and read several different voices on motherhood, learning that parenting and writing evolves. We hone new skills and pivot, discovering what works and what doesn’t. When my daughter graduated from middle school to high school, I transitioned into the role of Reviews Editor. This position offered the privilege of working with other writers and authoring several reviews. I critically assessed the essence of a particular work with careful attention and an eye on what worked for the reader. At the same time, my parenting shifted to targeting the needs of a young teen, which required a different kind of parenting, involving more dialogue and various growing pains (and tense exchanges) on friendship, beliefs, and academic challenges. I realized my daughter was becoming her own person and her opinions and actions wouldn’t necessarily align with my thoughts. Parenting evolved as a collaborative endeavor. The same could be said about my navigating different positions within Literary Mama and how to handle push back from a writer on a paragraph or juggle the responsibilities of reviewing and editing submissions.
My current role as a senior editor feels like a metaphorical parallel with my daughter turning 18. As a senior editor, I read and review all pieces in an issue and offer a larger and smaller perspective, knowing when to push forward with an edit and understanding when I need to pull back so the writer can preserve their voice. Similarly, parenting an 18-year-old requires knowing when she needs me to voice my thoughts and when to stay quiet. It’s a process—writing, editing, and parenting.
As you read the January/February 2024 issue, I hope you reflect on your personal transitions and evolutions as writers and mothers, evaluating how far you’ve come and what you hope to learn as you continue writing and mothering. It’s a humbling journey, certainly, but one that comes with extraordinary and lasting life lessons.