Brett Paesel is a writer and author of Mommies Who Drink: Sex, Drugs, and Other Distant Memories of an Ordinary Mom
. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons – Spencer, who is seven and Murph who is three and a half. In her interview, Brett talks about her book and what inspired her to write it, shares some great tips on what helps her keep the work-family juggle going, and reminds all busy moms to find some time to spend with their friends, sans husband or child.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career? You went from being an actress to writing - what prompted the change?
I was prompted to make the change by necessity. 40 year old actresses don’t work as much as younger ones do. And then I became pregnant on top of getting older. It felt like a good time to switch careers. Truth is, I enjoy writing more. So I’m thrilled that I got a cosmic “nudge”.
Tell us about your book, Mommies Who Drink – how did it come about?
At first, I was just writing stories about my life to work on my writing skills. I was taking a class and I’d bring in a bit each week. I didn’t think of it as writing a book about being a mom. Well, it wasn’t a book – yet. I’d write these little essays and then I’d read them in spoken word venues around town. A literary manager came up to me at one of the shows and offered to help me get an agent. With that kind of encouragement, I really sat down and conceived the pieces I had already written as a book. Then I thought that I’d include these Friday cocktail hours as a runner throughout the book. I’d been meeting with my girlfriends, many of whom were moms, on Fridays for two hours since my first son was born. The bartender at our local bar started calling us “the mommies who drink” and the name just stuck.
The book became about my first four years of parenting. I had a pretty rough go of it initially. I felt isolated and I really missed my pre-baby independence. My husband was a doll through the whole process, but my girlfriends were the ones who really understood that I was going through a kind of loss. Eventually, I got back more than I lost. But it took me awhile to figure that out.
What do you hope your readers get out of your book?
Taking time out to be myself with my girlfriends was very important to me and it’s obviously celebrated in my book. What I liked about being with them was that I got to be just myself – separate from the label of mom, wife, worker. It was (and is) total downtime. Hey, even when I close the bedroom door at home for a quick snooze, there’s the possibility that I will be interrupted by my sons or by my husband. On Fridays, it’s totally my time for 2 hours.