When I sent an over-the-top enthusiastic email to the lovely Jessica Ashley from Sassafrass — because, wow, it’s amazing how much we have in common, including our ages (42), our years as single mamas (almost decade for each of us), the whole “Oh, you have two first names” comment we both must get, and now our growing families — I was a little worried that my eagerness might scare her off.
Fortunately, Jessica seemed to take my enthusiasm just fine because she wrote back, “I’m totally in.”
Please welcome Jessica, former senior editor at Yahoo! Shine who recently made a leap of faith by leaving her job to launch Single Mom Nation… oh, and to have a baby!
How did you tell your 9-year-old son, E., that he was going to be a big brother?
“Over ice cream that was doughy, way-too-sweet, with frosted sugar cookies from the grocery store. We had all the makings of a celebration. Including the announcement… His mouth dropped. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so caught off-guard.”
You wrote on your blog that E. has had some fears, about what it’s going to be like from just you two.. to a family of four.
“As I tell him regularly, it is OK to not be sure what to do with all of that or how to feel about it, but to remember that a sibling is a lifelong relationship that goes far beyond a mommy and a daddy and a mama’s boyfriend, or anyone else. I know he will be an amazing brother – he loves babies and is endlessly entertained — and he also has a tenderness and sageness that surfaces around the goofy-boy-ness. I know this will help create a protective and tender and super-fun relationship with a brother or sister.”
When’s the sweet baby due?
“At the end of August. E. and I are laughing over ridiculous names we could maybe name this kid.” (Gender? It’s going to be a surprise!)
So, who’s the lucky guy?
Jessica has always referred to him on her blog as “the Not Boyfriend.” He’s an officer in the National Guard and he’s opening a wine bar this fall.
This little bambino will be the Not Boyfriend’s first?
“Yes. He is so happy. He has been the fun uncle to many friends’ children for many years, and I think he’s really excited to have this family of his own. He is a chef who loves to tend to the table and the home, and I love to envision him nurturing another child in this way, too.”
Any plans to get married?
“We’ve both been married before and throughout our relationship, have discussed here and there whether it is something important for the two of us as a couple. We’ve talked out the financial and insurance and other logistical benefits. We’ve wondered aloud if it would impact how we are together already. What it has always come back to is that we want to be together and be strong and happy and committed and take good care of ourselves and E — and now this new baby. That doesn’t mean marriage, at least for us.”
What’s living together like?
“Moving in together has not been easy, particularly for me. I would laugh with my single-mom friends that the perfect relationship with a man is sending him back to his own home in the morning and then going back to sleep in the middle of your own bed. But underneath the jokiness, I was very apprehensive about sharing a living space with a man again after making such leaps of confidence and security and happiness in creating a home for my child and I when I was getting divorced.”
“At one point, after we’d been looking at houses and condos and apartments exhaustively for months and months, I had to press pause on the whole process to deal with that apprehension. It meant clearing out a lot of clutter, literally and figuratively, from my marriage that I did not want to invite into a new home with my now-love. That was really hard on both of us, and we certainly are still working out how we live together in the best and happiest ways, but it was necessary for me so we could get to this place.”
And congrats to the winner of Mamas Write…Maria!
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