Mom Interviews

Jenna McCarthy

Author of "The Parent Trip"

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What was the most difficult part to write?

Honestly, none of it! It’s my life, and I’m a writer, so it all just sort of tumbled out of me. I wrote this book because there were -- and are -- so many things about being a mom that I feel really strongly about, but couldn’t find a lot of validation for in print. I didn’t love every minute of being pregnant, and I really wanted a girl! I lied about how much weight I gained (and frankly people, it was none of your effing business so it’s your fault for asking), I sometimes resented my new role and, once in it, I tended to overreact. A lot. Women aren’t supposed to admit these things, but I can’t believe I’m the only one of us who thinks or feels them. If one woman reads my book and says, “Oh thank GOD I’m not the only one” it will have all been worth it.

There's one passage in The Parent Trip where you're trying to get back to work and you realize that you've somehow become the default caregiver. You detail how you went about hiring some help, but could you tell us how you dealt with the internal struggle that came along with the realization?

Let’s just say therapy helps! Seriously, I was not thrilled about having all of the responsibilities fall onto me. But I realized (and this was not new information, believe me) that I really do like to do and have things “my way,” and the only way that was going to happen was if I did them myself. This continues to be a bittersweet pill to swallow, but in the end I’m happier this way. There’s a lot of letting-go you have to do as a mom; the sooner you accept this fact, the less likely you’ll be to turn into a resentful hag. At least, I hope that’s the case.

Share your favorite tip for getting work done at home while you have your little girls underfoot.

Enlist as much help as you can, and lower your standards. The last part is really the only thing that works. And although I personally cannot stand television, it’s a lifesaver. Of course I wasn’t going to be one of “those moms” who plop their kids in front of the TV to get some work done, but seeing as I work, sometimes it has to be done.

What do you wish someone had told you before you became a mom?

That you can’t be a perfect mom because there really isn’t any such thing. That once you become a mom you are never, ever off the job -- not for 20 seconds, not even if you’re in Aruba and the kids are with your parents in Florida. That you’ll never be able to go to Aruba and leave your kids with your parents in Florida. That you’ll have your heart broken 25 times a day, and laugh 25 times more. That your priorities will shift so dramatically that having a flat stomach or “perfect” thighs really, honestly, won’t seem all that important. That you might find the smell of another tiny human being so totally intoxicating that it can make you dizzy. That those breasts you used to laugh at in National Geographic will suddenly, and seemingly overnight, appear in your bathroom mirror, attached to your body.

2 comments so far...

  • I'm looking forward to reading your new book/books. The tagline on your book "from high heels & parties...." caught my attention as I have a new children's book coming out Oct 8th called: Mommy's High Heel Shoes. It's a children's picture book that celebrates a working Mom and her sweeter than cupcakes relationship with her children. Check it out:

    I love contests so I hope I win a copy!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mommyshoes on 20th September 2008

  • Thanks Jenny, I am also looking to pursue my passion for writing, finally after working in Corporate America for five years.
    I would love to learn more about you and your career as a writer.
    I would also love to win your book. Thanks.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 19th September 2008