We’re thrilled to celebrate two decades of great writing about various occasions and events in the lives of mother writers, whether they be mundane, milestone, or mind-blowing. With Valentine’s Day this week, we’re taking the opportunity to showcase some of the writing we’ve featured that has focused on love and sex, from the viewpoint of mama writers.
Bad Girl, Single Mom Seeking Column April 2006, Rachel Sara
The fourth floor of the Holiday Inn Pleasant Hill reeks of old cigarette smoke. The deep voice of a TV newscaster seeps under the door, out into the empty hallway I’m walking down. I’ve emptied my backpack of cracker crumbs and crayons for everything I need tonight: my toothbrush, a pair of Levi’s, clean underwear, and condoms. I’ve also brought along some food to accompany the wine that I look forward to sipping. I’m just a few miles from where I grew up in these conventional suburbs.
But at this moment, I’m so far from anything conventional. I’m a good mom, but I’m also a bad girl.
My bad girl — the part of me that exists despite all the responsibilities, tasks, and pressures of single-motherhood — hasn’t emerged in a long time. She’s not exactly bad. She’s this desperate part of me that wants so badly to do things that might be out of character and risky. She makes her most dramatic appearances when I’m feeling out of control with balancing the demands of being a single mom with the need to maintain adult relationships.
The Unpredictable Sex Life of the Tooth Fairy, Poetry Sep/Oct 2021, Minna Dubin
When out of his dark room
strides our son, victorious
as a cowboy, opening his mouth
to reveal a fresh emptiness, thrusting
his fist towards us, in his palm
an offering, a glistening
star, still red
on one end from the tussle,
I know our plan to have
sex has disintegrated
into a trip to Target—
such is the unpredictable
sex life of the Tooth Fairy.
Difficult Terrain, Doing It Differently Column July 2007, Ona Gritz
Only a week before, Dan and I practiced a very different kind of silence. I suggested we not contact each other for a few days. This was a first for us. Though we still live in separate cities, we’ve talked at length every night for two years. We don’t do this out of some strict idea of couple-hood or any sense of obligation. We cherish these conversations that are rich with ideas and shared insights and warm with humor and affection. They add a rhythm and symmetry to our days that we’ve come to count on.
Only once in awhile, we hit a snag, always the same snag. And this time, after two days of trying to slog our way through it, I finally said, “I need to stop and catch my breath.”
Daddy Lover, Poetry October 2004, Catherine Newman
We are parents.
But still something else, too:
The thing that got us here
in the first place.
You with your dark hair,
your sly smile.
your slinky moves.
Come here, Baby.
Let me unzip you from that Daddy costume.
You can put it right back on —
I promise —
when I’m done with you.
Sneaking Sex, Under the Saharan Sun Column April 2007, Jennifer Margulis
Our prime time is when the older girls are at school and Etani is napping, though even then it’s hard not to have an ear out for him or for the doorbell (which seems programmed to ring at only the most inconvenient times) or even for the washing machine, which has been emitting a burning smell lately along with the thunderous rumbling it makes on the spin cycle.
But the last two and a half weeks have been school vacation, which means all three kids have been home. “Let’s make them take naps,” James suggests, putting his hand on my thigh.
“One hour of Quiet Time,” I announce to the girls. “In your beds.”
“What’re you and Daddy going to do?” My 7-year-old raises her eyebrows suspiciously.
“We’re going to have Quiet Time too,” I say.