A Conversation with some Sh*tty Moms

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 9.26.43 AMEvery once in a while a book comes along that is so funny, so irreverent, and one that I can so completely relate to, that I need to give it a Lost in Suburbia shout out.

Today Show producers and self-appointed sh*tty moms, Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo  just released a sequel to their NY Times bestseller, Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us, called, Sh*tty Mom for All Seasons: Half-@ssing it All Year Long. Unlike most sequels, I actually think this one is funnier than the first.  Or maybe I just think it’s funnier because I have been a mother longer now and I’m that much more jaded.  Either way, I liked it so much, I just had to sit down with Mary Ann and Alicia and talk to them about the book.

image2Me: First of all, I have to tell you this book is hilarious and I’m definitely on Team Sh*tty Mom, too.  My kids have gotten significantly older since your first book (although, mysteriously, I have stayed the same age), but there is still so much here I can relate to. Your kids have also gotten a bit older since the first Sh*tty Mom book.  How has that changed your approach to parenting?

Mary Ann: The good thing is I think it has helped me be more relaxed. The bad news is my threats aren’t working as well.

Alicia:  Of course we want to dote on them and fix every boo-boo, but I have to sometimes listen to my own advice. Its hard to step back and try not to get involved when things go wrong in their world. We are there to be their parents first, friends second (or in some cases never).

 

Me: Your chapter on finding the right gender bathroom is a hot topic in the news right now.  As for me, when I have to go, I always use the bathroom with the shortest line.  I mean, seriously, why should I wait on a ginormous line with two dozen other women who will all probably pee on the seats (what is with that anyway?) when the men’s room is empty and much cleaner?  I encourage my daughter to do the same. Does this make me a Sh*tty Mom?

Mary Ann:  No, it makes you smart! I’m trying like crazy to get my daughters 9 & 11 to do the same but they refuse. I’ll get ’em.

Alicia:  My kids go anywhere I go so we are set. It is those freeway rest stops that get all of us laughing!

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 9.48.55 AMMe: I love your descriptions of the different kind of moms you find during the holidays.  I’m the opposite of Holiday Dieting Mom.  I look at the holidays as an excuse to eat everything in sight.  Chocolate-covered Matzoh?  I’m so there.  This gives me just that much more of a panic attack when I realize bathing suit season is just a month away.  Which Holiday Mom are you?

Mary Ann: I’m the don’t get on the neighborhood listserv mom. I’m too busy being a sh*tty mom.

Alicia. I am just like you. Eat everything in site. And don’t get me started on stress eating!!! Everything tastes better with holiday stress!

 

Me: I’m so impressed that you actually throw your kids’ school artwork away.  My kid went through a stage where he drew every single person with a pipe coming out of their head. Not their mouth. Their head.  We probably have sixty thousand variations of Pipe Head Man in our attic.  How do you recommend tossing the “art” surreptitiously?

Mary Ann: Do it while they are sleeping then hide the evidence really, really well beneath coffee grids or a hole in your backyard because if they catch you – boy are you in trouble.

Alicia: I got caught more than once. Now my kids sleep with one eye open!  Seriously, even though they are no longer that age, sometimes we would have conversations on who to ‘gift’ certain art to. Always a great idea to send art via snail mail.

 

Me: I find one of the scourges of summer is the required summer reading list. Every year my kids would leave it until the night before the new school year started and then we’d all panic and rent the movie or buy the Cliffs Notes or I’d just read the damn book and give them a synopsis.  What would a Sh*tty Mom do when confronted with this misery?

Mary Ann:  The same – Tracy you are sh*ttier than we thought! Or we often take the opposite approach – I’ve already done 6th grade… this is your journey. Let them fail.

Alicia. The panic is inevitable. Let them know how to start cramming now. It will prep them well for college.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 9.41.28 AM

 

Me: Once the school year started, I was usually in such shell shock that I often found myself waking up ten minutes before the bell and driving the kids to school in my ducky bathrobe.  Did this make me a Sh*tty Mom?

Mary Ann: Yes! But in good way.  Your kids are teenagers… they can get themselves up now. You’re hAlf@ssing it – we applaud you.

Alicia: We have all done that at least once!  It makes for a great photo opp and future currency to threaten your children with down the road. ‘You don’t want me showing up at school in pjs, do you?’

 

Me: Which brings us to school lunches?  In general I think the schools do a much better job of providing lunch for my kids than my typical maximally processed lunch meat sandwich with a side of high trans fat snack food and a box of juice that is actually only 2% fruit.  Do you see a problem with this?

Mary Ann: One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was making my kids lunch because once you start you can’t go back.

Alicia. A Bag of Pretzels, a prepackaged cheese stick and a clementine are easy to toss into a lunch box. Instant lunch.

 

image3Don’t shoot me, I’m one of those moms who gets her holiday cards right out after Thanksgiving.  But the one thing I will never do is include one of those dreaded holiday letters.  Do I care that your kid spent a year in space with Scott Kelly and then came home and got the Nobel prize for curing baldness (something he figured out while living in space with Scott Kelly).  No, I really don’t.  As a Sh*tty Mom, are you pro or con the Holiday Letter?

Mary Ann: I’m always just impressed that someone goes to that much effort. They put more effort in the holiday card then I put into my kids😉

Alicia: We giggle with excitement when we get them in the mail. But you will never catch us sending one. Could you imagine what it would say?

 

Me: Thanks so much for being here.  Let’s get together at some point and share the Halloween candy we stole from our kids!

 

Sh*tty Mom for All Seasons: Half-@ssing it All Year Long by Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner with Erin Cline is available in bookstores and on Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com and other online retailers.  For more info and a peak inside, Click Here.

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Filed under Celeb Encounters, Da Holidays, The Writer's Life

What Would Erma Do?

bombeck-writers-workshopIn preparation for my trip to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, I scheduled a number of appointments so I could put my best face/hair/nails forward.

Of course this workshop is all about being with a community of other funny women (and a few guys) and not at all about what you look like, what you’re wearing, or whether or not certain parts of you have been bedazzled. Still, you don’t want to show up with the hair on your legs so long that the other workshop attendees mistake you for a Yeti. So, while a little pre-conference maintenance is not mandatory, it can certainly be appreciated.

2454444_c44d739aHaving been away the week before, I only had three days to accomplish all my grooming goals. So I scheduled my manicure for day one, my waxing for day two, and my haircut for day three.

And then Mother Nature forced me to change my departure plans.

With scattered thunderstorms scheduled for the day of my flight, I realized I needed to move my flight up a day to ensure I got to the workshop on time.

While this was all good in theory and made a lot of sense so I would arrive without the possibility of lightning striking my plane, it did create a problem for my grooming schedule.

New flight = no haircut.

If you don’t happen to be familiar with my hair, it is short and a little spiky. It looks pretty good when it is just the right length, but when it gets just a little too long, I look like a Chia Pet.

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In case you are wondering, looking like a Chia Pet is not really an improvement over looking like a Yeti.

Of course, if I kept my original flight, I got my haircut, and my plane DID get hit by lightning, I would end up looking like a Chia Pet anyway, so you could see how this could potentially be a no-win situation.

Still, I wondered if there was a way to have my cake and frost it too (I don’t eat cake, so I needed to make this idiom work).

That’s when I decided to cut my own hair.

I had seen my hair stylist do this a bajillion times, and while I appreciate the skill she brings to the job, I thought, if I went slow and didn’t get the hiccups in the middle of the haircut, I could probably do it myself.

… And it is this line of thinking that generally causes empires to fall.

I could see that there were a couple of ways this could result in a haircut gone horribly wrong and I could end up looking like this:

 

2527019d2ea768b2767ece3edeeafcf2Or this: Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 12.11.03 PM

Or worse yet, this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 12.11.48 PM

Still, I’m nothing if not a risk taker (sometimes I wash my whites and my colors together!), so I decided to go for it.

All was going well, until the unthinkable happened.

I was in mid-snip… when I sneezed.

It was not the kind of sneeze that you feel coming on and you can prepare for. It was the kind of sneeze that is totally unexpected and, when it happens to you in a car, causes you to drive into a tree.

And so I sneezed and snipped a big hole in my hair.

This was the kind of thing that not even a well-seasoned stylist could cover. It was the kind of thing not even a Donald Trump hair sweep could cover. It was a gopher hole in the front of my face.

Now, in the Bombeck community, when faced with a dilemma, we often ask ourselves, “If confronted with the same situation, What Would Erma Do?”

As I stared at my bald spot in the bathroom mirror, I decided Erma would stand up straight, look herself in the eye, and say, “This doesn’t change who I am. It’s going to be OK.”

And then she would run out and buy a baseball cap.

©2016, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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