Dani Alpert is the author of the new book The Girlfriend Mom: A Memoir. In addition to being a writer, she is a performer, producer, and director. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Babble and Modern Mom.
Q: At what point did you decide to write The Girlfriend Mom, and how would you describe the idea of a "girlfriend mom”?
A: I was blogging as the Girlfriend Mom when I was still with my ex. I’d post articles about what it was like joining a family already in progress—the humorous trials and tribulations.
After we broke up, I thought people might be interested in my story and unique home life, so I started writing the book.
For me, the Girlfriend Mom represents women who have decided not to have children, but for a myriad of reasons and circumstances, find themselves parenting someone else’s kids.
I think the girlfriend part is an essential component. My ex and I never married, and that complicated my relationships with the kids when we broke up. I had no rights. It was up to the kids and me—and the ex-wife, to create an environment that was comfortable for us.
Q: You describe many personal situations and interactions--what do your family members think of the book?
A: I recently gave an advanced reading copy to my parents, and they called to tell me that they were laughing.
My mom did take issue with my portrayal of her incessant laundering. In my defense, she was only on page 10. I told her to keep reading and not to worry because, in the end, she comes out smelling like a rose.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from The Girlfriend Mom?
A: I want readers to laugh and be entertained (even at my expense).
I want readers to see that choosing to be childfree doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman doesn’t want kids her life, or that there just may be a part of her that does want to mother. Only not conventionally or traditionally.
Q: Do you think the definition of family has shifted over the years, and what do you see looking forward?
A: The definition of family has most certainly changed. I don’t think there's one definition anymore—and to me, that’s progress. Who we come from, may, or may not, be who we consider our family.
Choosing who we call family can be so profound and exquisite, as it was in my situation.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Not catching Covid-19, my follow-up memoir The Ex-Girlfriend Mom, and a documentary.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I was so desperate for attention when I was little that I told people that Herb Alpert (Tijuana Brass) was my uncle. And when there was a demand for more information, I played coy and asked people to respect my privacy and walked away. Fun! And sad.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb