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Lauren Sandler has published reporting and essays about cultural politics, gender issues, economics, and religion for many publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and Time, and is the author of One and Only, to be published by Simon and Schuster in June.
I’m an only child and the mother of one. When I was pregnant I swore I wouldn’t shift my focus from what I deemed the crucial, hard matter: wars over ideas, and wars fought abroad, with the occasional foray into the lairs of pick-up artists or the kitchens of renowned chefs. It didn’t take me long to realize that family—especially motherhood, and in particular our fertility choices—is exactly the stuff of all that hard matter. Just as women felt called to write about the battleground of sex—its politics and its pleasures—in the sixties, so I feel that today’s war is fought on the field of family. This is where our very freedoms are defined, often by other people. I wrote a Time cover story dismantling the stereotypes of only children, which evolved into my new book One and Only, published by Simon and Schuster. In the book I attempt to redraw the discourse on family size, wrestle with how best to reconcile motherhood and modernity, and think through what a liberated adulthood might require.
My own attempt at such a life takes place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in a house my husband, daughter, and I share with friends. I cook like mad and listen to records and read novels. I go see rock shows and movies when I can. And I travel-—anywhere, from Branson to Beijing—-at every opportunity, often with my kid.