Tag Archives: Books

Why James Breakwell is Only Dead on the Inside

Like 982,000 other fans, I follow humor writer James Breakwell on Twitter (@Xplodingunicorn), where he tweets really funny snippets of conversations with his four daughters, ages 7 and under, who mercilessly show him who’s boss (spoiler alert: it’s not him).






… interactions with his wife,





… and his pig.







Sadly, even the pig is a girl.

So… what do you to keep your sanity when you’re the only man in a house with five women and a sow?
If you answered, “Make sure you put the toilet seat down,” you’re partly right. Breakwell, however, decided to take a different tack: he wrote a book about parenting and zombies. This is not to be confused with other books about parenting zombies. This is a book about fighting zombies as a parent, and using your parenting superpowers to make sure you don’t get eaten.

Sound like something you can relate to?

Well, James Breakwell, is pretty sure the zombie apocalypse is going to happen (hopefully before he has to pay for the weddings of all four of his daughters so he can get out of that expense), and he’s happy to share his practical and hilarious survival tips in his new book, Only Dead on the Inside. Chockfull of sage advice like “Don’t eat the family pet,” and “Don’t kill any relatives, even if they are zombies. It sets a bad example for your kids,” Only Dead on the Inside takes on the dual challenges of potty-training your toddlers and lopping the heads off zombies (yes, often at the same time).

I had a quick conversation with James (you have to make it quick when you’re talking to a guy who’s watching four little girls) to find out definitively, which is scarier, a zombie apocalypse or four girls with a jar of glitter?

Me: Zombies?  Really?

J.B.: They’re a real threat. At first, I thought I was making it all up, but then my publisher told me this book is nonfiction. Clearly the publishing industry knows something about zombies I don’t. Watch your back.

Me:  You do realize that even if you survive the actual zombie apocalypse, your girls will turn into zombies when they become teenagers, anyway, right? Maybe not the flesh-eating kind, but still somewhat frightening.

J.B.: My kids already terrify me on a daily basis.  That’s why parents will be so well prepared for  the zombie apocalypse. The big monsters trying to knock down the front door are nothing compared to the tiny monsters we raise in our own homes every day.

Me: My kids are older now, so we are well past the diaper and umbrella stroller stage. Do you think this means we are at a disadvantage in the case of a zombie apocalypse?

J.B.: To a parent of small children, it seems like the apocalypse has already started: the house in shambles, there are random screams at all hours of the day, and no one has slept in three weeks. If you’re a parent with older kids, you’ve made it out of the crisis stage, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your skills. The apocalypse is like riding a bike. Once the zombies show up, you’ll remember what to do.

Me: With Halloween approaching, how can we tell the difference between a real zombie and someone who’s just dressed up as a zombie?

J.B.: Offer them candy. If they bite your hand, they’re a zombie. Or a toddler.

Me: Are you worried that if we have a zombie apocalypse now, it could really mess up your book sales because zombies don’t read?

J.B.: If the zombie apocalypse starts now, my book will be the most read book in the world, even if only two people are left alive to read it. It’ll be a New York Times bestseller by default.


About James Breakwell: James Breakwell is a professional comedy writer and amateur father of four girls, ages seven and under. He is best known for his family humor Twitter account @XplodingUnicorn, which boasts more than 950,000 followers. The account went viral In April 2016 and transformed James from a niche comedy writer into one of the most popular dads on social media. Only Dead on the Inside is out on October 10 but is available now for pre-sale at Amazon and fine booksellers everywhere. You can follow James on Twitter @Xplodingunicorn and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ExplodingUnicorn


*Note: I was not paid or compensated in any way for promoting this book. I just found it hella funny and wanted to help get the word out! Okay, well, he did offer me some chocolate zombies in return, but I politely declined.

©2017, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Husbands and other Aliens, Uncategorized

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.


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