For all the moms—and future moms, friends of moms, daughters of moms (heck, everywoman!)— you’ll want to check out Sh*tty Mom, a laugh-out-loud humor book about all those awkward parenting scenarios. Like how to drop off a sick kid at daycare (um, not that I’ve ever tried that haha!). I loved, loved, loved the book and was honored to catch up with two of its co-authors, Mary Ann Zoellner (left) and Alicia Ybarbo, who happen to be producers at the Today Show.
Debra: Okay, why the title Sh*tty Mom?
Alicia: Why not Sh*tty Mom? Whether we choose to admit it or not we’ve all been (or are going to be) Sh*tty Moms . . . Yes, the title is an eye opener (we love attention) but the overall message of the book is to liberate women from this “all or nothing” ideal of parenting. Moms need to cut themselves a break and laugh at those less-than-perfect parenting moments while finding a way to press the recharge button. A happy mom is a happy family. Right?
Mary Ann: Because there is no better word to describe those moments when you just fail as a parent. This isn’t about being a “Bad” mom. It is about being a relatively good mom— but not being that good always. Basically, parenting the way our parents parented.
Debra: In the book there’s a hilarious chapter suggesting McDonald’s as childcare so mom can work. You both have demanding jobs at the Today Show—so how did you find time to write the book?
Alicia: Well, it takes a village! Mary Ann Zoellner, Karen Moline and I were out to dinner—enjoying margaritas and chips and salsa —when we had our Aha parenting moment. We realized that instead of letting the guilt ride us for “life” happening (like buying store bought Halloween costumes or eating one too many take-out meals during the week) we needed to embrace them. Think of it as parenting lite, with 40% the effort. Lowering expectations on yourself allows you to love your children more, smile more, laugh more. Anyhow, the three of us came up with the idea and brought on comedian Laurie Kilmartin (a stand-up comic and writer for Conan) to deliver the funny.
Debra: Most of the book is tongue and cheek, which all us moms appreciate. But what’s your best real tip for managing the proverbial juggle?
Alicia: Let the balls fall where they may. There’s no secret to juggling work/life, because it is truly impossible to do. Understand that some days work is going to win and other days your family will win, but rarely do I as a career women handle both with similar success. Rely on husbands and partners, and thank them often, and be in the moment as much as you can. Now that’s a quality I wish I was better at.
Mary Ann: It’s impossible. Try as hard as you can without driving yourself, your kids or your partner crazy. Some weeks we are great at work, other weeks we are good at home, other times we are good with our husbands. It is a major balancing act and knowing that you will fail to be perfect helps alleviate some of the guilt.