Amanda Freeman spent 10 years “trying to get out of New York.” She had earned her MFA in creative writing at Columbia, and enjoyed teaching the subject at CUNY — particularly to low-income women. But the final straw was an “awful experience” trying to get her daughter into kindergarten.
Her husband — the writer/commentator/professor Trey Ellis — fell in love with Westport. A year ago, they moved here. “I would have gone anywhere,” Amanda admits.
Though the city is more exciting for adults, she and Trey love seeing their children walk out the door to play outside. The kids are taking full advantage of so much that Westport offers.
As they do, Amanda writes.
Her specialties are blended families and single parenting. Like any good writer, she’s focusing on what she knows.
Her first husband left to pursue another relationship — while Amanda was pregnant. She raised her daughter alone (with help from friends and family).
When her daughter was 18 months old, Amanda was writing a single parent’s guide to New York. She met a single dad: Trey. The rest is history — and a blended family. (Their kids are now 13, 10 and 6.)
Amanda’s guest posts on the New York Times Motherlode blog caught the eye of folks at Parentables, a TLC blog. This summer, she joined the staff. Now, in addition to her teaching and parenting gigs, she blogs 3 times a week.
Oh, yeah. Amanda is also working toward her Ph.D. in sociology. Her focus: the American family.
Amanda has blogged about “sweaty palms at 1st grade orientation,” “commuting with your toddler” and “what happens when a tomboy gives birth to a princess.” (As a one-time “militant feminist,” that topic is intensely personal for her.)
Amanda writes about “things that people think, but are afraid to say out loud.” Her posts certainly resonate. Around town, women offer critiques and suggest story ideas.
As a sociologist — and a parenting blogger — Amanda has a unique eye on Westport’s “mommy culture.” While a number of women hold full-time jobs – many in New York City — plenty of others have chosen to stay home. (While only about 7% of the national population of middle- and upper-class mothers don’t work outside the home, in Westport it’s much higher.)
Those stay-at-home moms “help make the schools fantastic,” Amanda says. “So many women volunteer so much time and energy and expertise.”
However, she says, “it does create a special social culture. Sometimes I feel like I’m just darting in and out of the schools.”
Every woman makes her own choice. For Amanda, blogging about parenting is a great option.
“So much of parenting is frantic,” she says. “You just try to get through the day.
“Writing about kids makes me hyper-aware. I like being able to reflect on parenting, and writing helps me do that. I appreciate that opportunity.”
As do countless readers — on Amanda’s road, back in New York City, and around the country.