Corrections or additions?
This article by Jamie Saxon was prepared for the May 25, 2005
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Kids, There’s a Man in My Life
When Ellie Slott Fisher’s first husband, an attorney in Philadelphia,
died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart condition, she was in her late
30s and her two children were just five and nine. "I would speak about
my husband’s condition and give lectures at private schools and
synagogues to parents. But at the end, people were more curious about
how I was surviving socially. More than one said, you have to write a
Fisher, who grew up on the Main Line, Philadelphia, the daughter of a
builder and a stay-at-home mom, says that after her husband died, "it
took me a while before I felt any interest and courage in dating
again. Then I made all the mistakes you can make. I was a great mom
but I didn’t know what I was doing when I started dating again. I met
someone, got swept off my feet, and let the relationship go too fast
without being aware that my children weren’t traveling along with me.
Then I married this person. I divorced after two and a half years. By
that time, my daughter was 16, my son 12. When I resumed dating, I was
a lot wiser. And throughout this whole period, I’ve always been
approached by single moms asking, how do I date?"
She did write the book, "Mom, There’s A Man in the Kitchen and He’s
Wearing Your Robe: The Single Mother’s Guide to Dating Well Without
Parenting Poorly" (Da Capo Lifelong Books, February, 2005). Fisher
gives a book signing at Barnes & Noble MarketFair on Wednesday, June
1. The book has already gone into a second printing, and sold more
than 10,000 copies.
"It’s a humorous, honest approach to dating as a single parent, based
on my own experiences, and interviews with single moms, the children
of single moms, the men who date single moms, and a few
psychologists," says Fisher. "It’s meant to be a very down-to-earth
candid view written by a woman who’s been there."
Fisher earned a bachelors in journalism from Temple University in
1973, then married her first husband, whom she met in school, in 1975.
She became a reporter, then bureau chief of the state house in
Trenton, then New Jersey state editor for UPI. When her daughter was
young and she was pregnant with her son, she went back to Temple to a
three-year program in landscape design, and earned her degree in 1987.
But even in her new profession, writing would beckon and Fisher turned
an industry newsletter of the APLD (Association for Professional
Landscape Designers) into a full-fledged trade journal.
Determined to pursue her two dreams of becoming a magazine writer and
writing her own book, Fisher went back to school again, this time
earning a masters in English and publishing from Rosemont College
(near Bryn Mawr). In 2003 she graduated, the same year her daughter
graduated from Johns Hopkins, and her son graduated from the
Lawrenceville School. She prepared a nonfiction book proposal and
sample chapter and was able to get an agent. "Once I had an agent, I
knew it was just a matter of time (before the book sold)," she says.
She was given six months to write the book, all the while keeping up
her freelance work, as a feature writer for Main Line Today magazine.
She has also written for Child magazine.
Following are five tips Fisher says she likes to share from "Mom,
There’s a Man in the Kitchen and He’s Wearing Your Robe:"
Date when you’re ready and not when others think you should be. Ignore
the comments of well-meaning family and friends and nosy neighbors who
will judge that you’re dating too soon or not soon enough. You’ll know
when you have the desire to be held again, to have sex, to have a man
to flirt with and to confide in.
Feel good in your own skin. Too many
people aren’t healed after a bad marriage, and they go out there
making their own mistakes. You need to like who you are before
starting another relationship.
Be honest with your children from the outset. Too many people say,
I’ll tell my kids when I’m in love, but by the time that happens,
their children don’t even know they’ve been dating.
Lose the guilt. You are entitled to have a social life.
Save your unbridled passion for behind locked doors. We do not realize
how much passion will play when we resume dating, particularly if
we’ve been in a sexless marriage. Hence the title of the book. Women
get caught all the time.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6, "And You thought Sex was a Thing of
"Maribeth judged the mothers who got caught in inappropriate moments
as being reckless. That was before she met Wally. After a few dates, a
physical affection began to develop between them, taking on a life of
its own, a breathless, out-of-control, God what have I been missing?’
quality. Self-control gave way to lust.
One evening, Wally, confident Maribeth’s children were safely squared
away in bed, lifted her onto the top of the washing machine. In their
hot-blooded, libidinous excitement, Maribeth’s very naked butt hit the
timer on the machine, discharging an excruciatingly loud buzzer into
the quiet of the night.
A moment later a little voice said, ‘Mom?’"
Fisher might as well add, "Believe in happy endings" to her list. She
has been dating a man who lives in Princeton for three years, who she
actually met 10 years ago, at a funeral of a close friend’s parent.
But, recently widowed, Fisher felt it was too soon to date. Over the
next seven years, they came in and out of each other’s lives, with one
being available when the other was not. Three years ago, the close
friend’s husband had a heart attack and went into a coma. Fisher and
her new love seemed to always be at the hospital at the same time.
Fisher says: "He finally said, maybe we should get together out of the
hospital." And how are her kids taking it? "They have grown to be
very, very fond of this man. And here’s another coincidence: he’s a
graduate of Hamilton College, just like my son." Go figure.
– Jamie Saxon
"Mom, There’s a Man in the Kitchen and He’s Wearing Your Robe," book
talk and signing by Ellie Slott Fisher, Wednesday, June 1, 7 p.m.,
Barnes & Noble MarketFair. 609-716-1570.
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