SMW Asks Lori Gottlieb; What are Your Successful Single Mom Secrets?

By Melissa Chapman

Author Lori Gottlieb, irreverent no-holds barred choice single Mama is balancing her two-year-old son’s entire world, on her delicate petite shoulders with lots of humor, help from the grandparents and an innate understanding that –balls are going to drop. She shares her unique brand of insight about being a single woman in the article “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” and in her new book, I Love You, Nice to Meet You, written with Kevin Bleyer of The Daily Show with John Stewart.

She Grants SMW a glimpse into what makes her tick…

SMW: How were you able to break into book publishing and comedy writing? What were the challenges you faced as a single women?

Lori: I started writing by accident. I found my journals while looking for something else in my childhood closet and a friend suggested they might make for a good book. I laughed at the suggestion, but he was right. I don’t think I faced any specific challenges as a single woman. In fact, it probably gave me more material.

SMW: What was the inspiration behind your current projects?

Lori: The article “Marry Him!” was inspired by the perennial conversation friends and I, in our thirties, seemed to be having about love, romance, relationships, and marriage. I felt that nobody was saying the obvious; in the media, it was all about finding your soul mate and that, in turn, meant feeling some kind of divine spark, the bolt of lightning. And the reality is, you can find something romantic and wonderful, but it might not look like that.

SMW: What is your average day like?

Lori: With a toddler, it starts at 6 a.m. with the first cries of “Mommy!” Then I basically spend the day fighting the urge to reply to emails and instead hunker down to write whatever I’ve got a deadline for. Then it’s time with my son, dinner, and that delicious bedtime ritual with a 2-year-old.

SMW: How do you juggle your career with the demands of being a single Mom?

Lori: Well, often some of the balls drop, but you pick up the ones you can and hope you always have at least one ball still in the air.

SMW: How do you feel about being a single Mom; what are your greatest joys and the challenges you face on a daily basis?

Lori: The joys are just the incredible joys of parenthood — single or not. It would take me pages to list them all and even then, I’m not sure I could articulate them in a way that would do them justice. They’re so profound. But the challenges, well — time pressure, financial pressure, inability to urinate in a timely manner, lack of sleep, loneliness. And yet, most parents face these challenges, just not to the same degree that many single moms do.

SMW: What are your coping skills? What are the “secrets” to your success?

Lori: Grandparents! My parents live in town and when I need to call in the troops, they’re there.

SMW: What is your advice to other single Moms out there-trying to “have it all”?

Lori: I’d say to stop trying to have it all. Nobody has it all. Pick what you want most and don’t waste time pursuing the unattainable.

SMW: What does your child think of his Mommy and the work you do?

Lori GottliebLori: He’s two, so all he knows is that “Mommy’s working” instead of “playing” and he’s not down with that. I do know that he isn’t particularly concerned about my sleep or my deadlines. Like, he was up all night last night, for some inexplicable reason (he’s normally a good sleeper), and at 3 a.m. he decided to throw a tantrum. I tried everything to calm him down — and I mean, everything — but when I asked him, “What do you want, sweetie?” he screamed, “SOMETHING ELSE!” He didn’t care that I had to be up at 6 to tape a TV show.

SMW: Why do you think your life-story thus far can serve as a source of inspiration for other single Moms out there?

Lori: I don’t know that it’s inspiring. It’s simply one path and as I say in the Atlantic article “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough”, it’s not the path for everyone.

For more information about Lori, check out and her book I Love You, Nice to Meet You.

More Single Mom Articles
Successful Single Mom; Mary-Ellen Rozak
Online Dating Tips for Single Moms
Managing Anger Between Parent and Child