Welcome to Pregnancy & Newborn‘s Book Club! This month’s book is Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner.Simply reading the table of contents of this tell-it-like-it-is guide had us nearly wetting our pants (and not because we’ve been slacking in the kegels department). The four moms behind the hilarious read put onto paper the very things we’ve all been ashamed to think (let alone say aloud) since giving birth, and the result couldn’t be more comical. If you’re looking for warm and fuzzy (or are easily offended), head in the opposite direction. But if you’re having one of those days where you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, read a couple pages of the unapologetic parenting handbook and the decision will be made for you. And in the mean time, check out our interview with funny moms Alicia Ybaro and Mary Ann Zoellner.
Name: Mary Ann Zoellner
Job title: Producer, Today
Resides in: New York
Children:Zurielle, 8; Arabella, 6
Age:I’m not falling for that!
Job title:Mom, TV Producer, Author
Resides in: Upper East Side, New York City
Children: Jack, 9; Lucy, 7
Pregnancy & Newborn: Hi, ladies! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us about Sh*tty Mom. Tell us, what were you hoping to accomplish when you set out to write the tongue-in-cheek parenting guide?
Zoellner: What we started with and what we ended up with are completely different. When Karen, Alicia and I came up with the idea we were just trying to make “ourselves” feel better about our shortcomings in parenting and we thought there might be a big group of women out there who felt the same way that we did. We were so lucky to have Laurie Kilmartin brought in and she took our idea and added the humor and charm to the book. Sh*tty Mom has ended up not only making women laugh but bringing women together to share their own sh*tty mom moments and assuage some of the parenting guilt.
Ybarbo: Almost every mom we know is in a state of “overwhelm.” We’re overwhelmed at how perfect we’re supposed to look and act, at how our meals should be nutritionally balanced and our homes design-ready for magazine spreads, all the while our kids acting beautifully behaved. And when one of these things is not up to snuff, we feel crappy about it. Our goal was to lift our moods in solidarity while poking fun at this modern day parenting pressure tank.
P&N: How does it work with four of you writing a book? Did you divide and conquer or do you have individual strengths you played to?
Zoellner: Karen, Alicia and I wrote down our ideas and did a first draft, Laurie added the humor. But the book is filled with universal things that most parents can relate to.
Ybarbo: We all own up to a few of the chapters in the book. My husband and I send our children off to California every summer for six weeks to spend with their grandparents … and I learned early on how to ignore those cries in the middle of the night. I guess you could say Chapters 13 and 24 help define me …
P&N: We can’t get through the table of contents without literally LOL-ing and interrupting our co-workers to recite said LOL-inducing passage. How much fun did you have writing this book?
Zoellner: There are so few really funny parenting books so that is a joy for us to hear. I still can’t get through the Zoo chapter without laughing so hard I cry.
Ybarbo: Laurie gets all the credit!!! She really had an enormous challenge in front of her and managed to make four voices sound like one.
P&N: Are we correct in assuming the majority of the content in this book stemmed from real life experiences. And if so, can you tell us a personal anecdote that spurred a section/chapter/paragraph/sidebar?
Zoellner: I am definitely the queen of sleeping until as late as possible on Saturdays and Sundays also when my daughter made the competitive gymnastics team I froze for a second when they said it is three days a week, three hours a day. Luckily, that program was full so she went to the two day a week for two hours a day.
Ybarbo: My favorite chapters are the ones that are universal to moms everywhere. Motherf*cking Babies on the Motherf*cking Plane … Someone Stole Your Baby Name … Tantrum at a Tar/Wal/K/Sam’s/Mart/Club/Get (or Sears)! … Oh, You Just Had an Epic Meltdown … It’s so much fun to mention these titles to other moms because they start sharing their less-than-perfect parenting experiences faster than a ripcord that’s been pulled from a parachute.
P&N: With chapters like “How to Drop Off Your Sick Kid at Daycare Before the Teacher Figures It Out” and “Old Moms: Hey, Look Who Had One Good Egg Left!”, you take on topics with a brutally honest, if not sarcastic, tone most of us are afraid to even think, let alone put to paper. As you were writing, were you worried about offending anyone?
Zoellner: Sure I’m from OKlahoma which is very conservative, I thought “oh no” I can’t let my family members read certain chapters, but they weren’t offended at all and bought several copies for their friends/clients/patients as Christmas presents. The only people we’ve heard from that were offended by the book haven’t even read it, they were just offended by the title.
Ybarbo: We dedicated this book to all of our mothers, because they’re the original Sh*tty Moms. They took time to care for us children while never losing sight of their needs in the process. That is the goal of Sh*tty Mom, parenting with less effort. We still love our children and would do anything for them, but there are times we need a moment to press the “recharge” button.
P&N: If you give this book to one person (and force him or her to read it), who would you give it to?
Zoellner: Amy Chua aka Tiger Mom
Ybarbo: What I wouldn’t give to see K K K K Kim Kardashian holding our book or, dare I say, The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton?
ZOELLNER’S FIVE FAVES
Celebrity: Ryan Gosling & Jessica Chastain
Beauty product: Epicuren face products
Weeknight dinner:Red wine 🙂
YBARBO’S FIVE FAVES
Celebrity: Anyone from Downton Abbey, Girls or the Housewives of BH, NYC or Jersey
Indulgence:Actually taking the time to watch all those shows from my DVR
Workout:Walking to and from work everyday
Beauty product: Eve Pearl’s Salmon Concealer
Weeknight dinner: Usually something that oozes out of my Crock-Pot