A Guest Post
“You can’t blog about it.”
by Rachel Sarah
My first “Single Mom Seeking” column for Literary Mama–in which I wrote about my dating life as the single mom of a toddler – went live in 2003. I knew someday that my daughter, who spun around me in her tutu as I wrote, would become a teenager. But that day seemed so far away.
Which explains why I wrote about my life so openly. The nights when I felt like I had no one to turn to, my readers showed up and left comments. Four years later, my Literary Mama column landed me a book deal with Seal Press.
Deep into single motherhood by then, I knew I could do this alone. But I didn’t want to. Underneath my self-deprecating jokes, I longed to be with a man who’d say “I’m here” for the rest of my life.
A year after my book was published, I squeezed myself into a tiny chair for my daughter’s second grade parent-teacher conference. By now, I was used to showing up at her school by myself. But as much as I patted myself on the back for raising my daughter solo, I still longed for a partner.
As my daughter’s teacher told me what a creative, sweet child she was I wanted to glance over at him. Whoever he might have been, and watch his face beam with a that’s-our-girl smile. Instead, I thanked her teacher, walked home, and logged online.
Blogging for me had turned into that comfortable chair in which I cuddled up at the end of the day, the place where I could vent. I blogged about going to the parent-teacher conference alone, and my readers, thankfully, were that “someone.”
Then, I met him. When I told Chris — a cute, funny scientist who’d shown up at my friend’s book launch party — that I was single mom (certain this would scare him off), he smiled, “My mom raised me and my siblings by herself,” he told me. “I call my step-dad ‘Dad.’ ”
I smiled back. Because I felt like he got me.
Around this time, when I picked my third grader after school, she was scowling. I figured she was hungry, but a bowl of macaroni and cheese didn’t change her mood.
“I’m listening if you want to talk about it,” I told her.
“If I tell you,” she barked back, “you can’t blog about it.”
I bit my bottom lip. The day was here: she didn’t want me to write about her anymore.
Fortunately, I’d met that “someone.” I married Chris in 2010, after he’d asked if he could join our family. I longed to tell my readers about the challenges of joys of blending our family – but that’s challenging to do when you’ve got to leave out one of the main characters.
When I got pregnant this year, a girlfriend asked me, “You’re having another baby so you can blog again, aren’t you?”
I laughed. Yet she had a point. Do we, as writers, have a right to record our children’s lives when they’re little? But at what point do our kids’ stories become their own?
In April, after giving birth to a second daughter in April, I told my readers: “It’s a girl!”
But I haven’t blogged much about my new baby. Because I’m still trying to figure out how much to share about our new addition. For now, most of my thoughts and feelings live offline. And for now, that feels right.
Rachel Sarah is one of the founding editors of Literary Mama. This year, 20th Century Fox optioned her book, Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World, for a TV comedy show. Check out her blog here. Read her work published by Literary Mama here.
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