Personal Essays, Reviews, & Journalism

Redbook: I Didn't Choose This

If you were to see me in the Target parking lot near my home in Massachusetts with my blue Subaru Outback and my two school-aged kids, you'd probably never guess that I had an unconventional upbringing. My childhood looked nothing like my children's. My mother died in a car crash when I was 2, leaving me to be raised in 1970s San Francisco with my single gay father, a struggling poet and critic. As a kid, I spent more time at smoke-filled poetry readings than at playdates. I was taught to pee standing up and urged to forgo my dreams of being a princess—Princesses are so boring! Don't you want to be President?—because my dad wanted me to be a feminist and was more concerned with the literary arts than the domestic ones. Here's what I never learned: how to clean a floor, bake a cake, sew a stitch, remove a stain. What did we know of mothers in our house, let alone stay-at-home mothers? Yet here I am, in this parking lot with my Subaru and two kids, appearing for all intents and purposes like any stay-at-home mom struggling with her oversize shopping cart.

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