Friday, April 11, 2014

No Mother Is Perfect: (an interview with two women who know all about it) PLUS: A Giveaway!

Do you remember before you became a mother all the fantasies you had about how wonderful it was going to be…all the time? I barely remember if I showered this morning but I do remember those laughable fantasies I had about how I was going to be a perfect mother with perfect little children. Well thankfully I have come back down to earth and realized perfection is laughable.  You know who else knows perfection is laughable? The authors of the new book The Mother of All Meltdowns. (Get your copy now through Mother's Day for only $0.99 on Amazon)
In fact they recently launched a new website called No Mother Is Perfect, a community for the perfectly imperfect mother! A place where you can let your guard down and talk about the meltdowns, struggles, and less rosy aspect of being a mom. (Sign me up!)
When they asked me to be a host for the No Mother is Perfect Blog tour I said yes without hesitation (because I know all about being less than perfect). To celebrate the blog tour they’re having an amazing giveaway and you could win one of three amazing prizes including a three night spa getaway for two.   So be sure to enter by clicking the image below or the link above. The sponsors include:The Oaks at Ojai, Cariloha, Wicker Central, Metropolis Coffee Company, Wind and Fire Jewelry, Chuao Chocolatier, Global Rose, and Anew Riesling.

You can imagine from the title alone that the authors know a thing or two about having a bad day in the world of motherhood and lucky for us they are sharing their stories.  Listen I don’t know about you guys but not only is it nice to know I’m not alone; it’s even nicer to be able to laugh about it. 
I recently had the opportunity to talk to two of the book’s contributing authors; Debra Cole of Urban Moo Cow and Karen of Baking In A Tornado.  Debra is busy with a toddler while Karen is dealing with grown teenagers. I loved being able to talk to two women at different ends of the motherhood spectrum.

Hi Debra I just finished reading your piece in the book and I laughed and laughed because I could relate on so many levels.

When you hear the word meltdown what one word immediately comes to mind?

Tears (mine).

Your story was so relatable. We’ve all been on the other side of a person judging our parenting style or abilities. Do you think you were ever guilty of saying or doing something to another mother that made her feel judged before you had children?

Definitely. I don’t think you realize how fraught new motherhood is until you are in it. Plus, I’m not the most tactful person alive. When my sister gave birth to her first daughter in 2009, I slept on the floor of the hospital waiting room until my niece was delivered. A couple of hours later I went in to see my sister and told her I couldn’t believe how big her belly still was even though the baby was out. OOPS. So, yeah, I think everyone puts her foot in her mouth once in a while. Having said that, people are extremely brazen with perfect strangers in a way that I don’t think I have ever been or ever will be. That’s what my story was about.

What advice would you give to a new mother or a soon to be mother on dealing with her own meltdown?

Just breathe. Breathe and know that this has (likely) all happened to someone else at one point or another. Try to find the humor in the situation. And know that it makes a great story for a book, a blog or a dinner party!

What was your favorite thing about contributing to The Mother of All Meltdowns?

I loved getting to know Crystal and seeing her process. She is a genius!

Besides your own story what was your favorite story or story you could most relate to by another contributor in the book?

For a “funny” meltdown, I really liked Norine Dworkin’s (Science of Parenthood) piece about Lego Stress Land. I have a little boy who is increasingly into building things with blocks and Play-doh. And I’m like, Play-doh! Yay! Let’s make a ball! Let’s make a pizza! Because I’m totally effing useless at creative arts. And he’s like, no mamma, let’s make a train. I know I will break his Lego model someday. I just know it. So I laughed at that one.

For a heartbreaking meltdown, I cried my eyes out at Kristi Rieger’s (Finding Ninee) essay about yelling at her little boy on the soccer field.

In two words what would you say is the best part of being a mother and the worst part of being a mother?

Unbounded love. Loving someone so much is at once intoxicating and terrifying.

Finally, what’s next for you?

I am continuing to write on my blog, Urban Moo Cow, and also pitching to other sites. I recently had a couple of essays published on the Brain Child blog and I have one coming up at Mamalode about why little boys like trucks so much. I also have an essay being published in a new anthology about sleep (or lack thereof) published by the incomparable Lisa Nolan. Plus, we just moved from Brooklyn to a quasi-suburb in the Bronx, so I’m trying to find my new way around a new community. Excellent fodder for new stories.  J


What do you immediately think of when you hear the word meltdown?

I cringe when I hear the word. Although this entire book was about admitting that it happens to us all, that we’re human and we all lose it, they aren’t exactly our proudest moments. Maybe some of them are our funniest moments (well, in retrospect at least), but still not our proudest.

I loved the part when you said: “And then I had teenagers. I really didn’t mean to; I meant to have babies.” What do you think is more meltdown inducing being in the trenches with babies and toddlers or with teenagers?

When you’re in the trenches with babies and especially toddlers you think it can’t get any worse. But take my word for it; they’re just the opening act. I think teenagers are more meltdown inducing, but the reason is my own fault. I taught those d@mn kids to talk. Big mistake. Teenagers are just big toddlers who can not only aggravate you with their actions, but add in the trouble resulting from whatever may come out of their mouths and you’re on the non-stop to Meltdown City.

What advice would you give mothers with young children who will one day find themselves in a house with teenagers?

Stay in shape. Because somewhere in the not so distant future those kids will be teenagers and it’s best if you can really run. Yeah, I’d like to be all intelligent and thoughtful and insightful but let’s get real here, the best advice I can give is “run”.

What was your favorite part about being a contributor for The Mother Of All Meltdowns?

I liked the diversity of the group that put this book together. The greatest part about reaching out to people with our stories is the fact that we are all different people with unique life circumstances. But we all came together to admit that sometimes things get harder than we expect. And in those moments we can all lose it, then put ourselves back together and go on trying to be the best parents we can be.

Besides your own story what other story in the book was one of your favorites and why?

Now I adore you, Jennifer and you know that. But I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday. No way am I picking out a favorite. And not because “if I told you I’d have to kill you”, but because if I told you someone could kill me.

In two words: The best part of motherhood, the worst part of motherhood.

I only need one word. For both parts of the question: kids.

In some circumstances they are our greatest achievement. In others they show us our own flaws. But we wouldn’t have it (or them) any other way.

Finally, what’s next for you?

This is the hardest question. I’m not really sure. One son started college this year and the other goes next year. My muses have left the building. I won’t be baking as much. I won’t be venting as much. I expect I’ll be incredibly lonely. How I write is, by necessity, going to have to change.

I’m fortunate enough to have a very interactive Facebook page. I asked the people who’ve been reading me for the past year and a half what they’d like to see me write about and I’ve got some great input from there to consider.

And I’m honored to be supported by an amazing group of talented bloggers who I’ve never met but call friends, including you. I’ve been encouraged by many to write a book of humorous illustrated Fairy Tales inspired by an amazingly popular post I wrote called Fairy Tale. Don’t know if I’ll finish it but I’ve started it.

I have a few other collaborative book offers I’m considering as well. So I guess I’ll be busy after all.


I would like to thank both Karen and Debra for being open and honest (just like their stories in the book) with these questions. I can tell you without any hesitation that you will be able to relate to more than one story in this book. You will laugh, you will cry and you will shout HOLY COW I AM SO GLAD I’M NOT ALONE!  So what are you waiting for? Order your copy for only $0.99 on Amazon now through Mother's Day and don’t forget to enter the Amazing Giveaway.


  1. Thank you so much, Jennifer, for the great interview. I loved working with you again.

  2. Loved the interviews! Since I have teenagers, I can so relate to everything Karen is meltdowns are definitely different these days! You love them and they drive you nuts all at the same time!

    1. Thank you Michelle. I love getting a little preview of what the teenage years will be like. :)

  3. What a great interview with two incredible ladies! Thank you so much for hosting us and for reaching out to them!!!!

  4. Great interviews!! Thanks so much for hosting us today!

  5. LOVED these interviews!!!! Two amazing moms and incredible writers I am proud to know. Thanks SO much for hosting this campaign and allowing Debra and Karen to to share their wealth of insight and experience! :)

    1. Thank you Chris! It was my pleasure. Debra & Karen are the best.

  6. FINALLY! A minute of peace to comment and share! I'm sure Karen is right about teens being horrendous (since I was once one of said teens), but there is NO REST FOR THE WEARY with a toddler. Holy crap. Anyway, thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to spew more randomness into the ether. Glad you enjoyed the book! :)

    1. I hear you Deb! I am convinced toddlers are natures way of telling us we're stronger than we think. It's nonstop! We can cry to each other when these toddlers turn into teenagers! Thanks for participating. I loved having you.

  7. Great interviews! Thanks for supporting us!

  8. Excellent interviews! And I'm not just saying that because Deb likes me ;) (and thank you Deb!!!)
    This line: Loving someone so much is at once intoxicating and terrifying. - so so true. And I had to laugh at Karen's advice to stay in shape for teenagers. My husband's daughter used to live with us and I can admit that both she, and my now 4 year old son are meltdown-inducing in different ways but very meltdown inducing!

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