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I’m going to let you in on a little secret: The first year of parenting is HARD. Okay, so maybe that’s not a total secret, but as anyone who’s ever lived through it will tell you, the first year is way harder than they probably expected. Between the massive learning curve, the late nights, the round-the-click feeding schedules, and the fact that spit-up is basically the new black, having a baby is a tough and dirty job that requires an endless supply of coffee and a great sense of humor.
That’s where Alison Wong comes in.
Wong is the mother of 2-year-old Elliot and the brilliant heart and mind behind NewMomComics.com. She also just so happens to have a fabulous new book out, titled, New Mom Comics: The First Year, which chronicles those epic first parenting moments we all know and love so well. You know, the ones that are both a nightmare to experience, but also super hilarious to look back on later (once the trauma has worn off). It’s that very essence that Wong truly nails in all 120 pages of her laugh-out-loud book, packed with comics that all moms can relate to.
“I’ve always loved drawing since I was a child and created various strips when I was younger,” Wong tells Babble. “It started as a visual diary for myself, to capture the daily joys and struggles in a rich medium that I’m so familiar with. I drew them to remember those precious moments at a later time but then realized that others enjoyed and related as well. I really enjoy motherhood and felt like I could help others with my drawings.”
As a mother of three rambunctious kids myself, I can totally see the natural comedic material that parenthood provides — but I can’t imagine taking it all and turning it into a work of art. For Wong, the creative process developed alongside her sense of humor.
“The first year had so many new firsts that I struggled to keep up!” she tells Babble, explaining that ideas for comics would often come to her following (yet another) new parenting debacle. “Sometimes it would just be a concept, i.e. phantom shower cries, but other times, my son would do something so funny (or my reaction was so ridiculous) that I could write out the comic idea right away. Having this perspective helped me see the humor in even the most trying of moments.”
After illustrating over 60 comics in the course of that first year, Wong says she realized a compilation would make a pretty great book — and she was right.
Here are just some of our favorites from her laugh-out-loud book.
1. With Bated Breath.
Ah, yes … waking a sleeping baby while checking to see if the baby is sleeping is one of those ironic parenting moments that make you want give yourself a face palm. But hey, sooner or later, we all do it.
2. Open 24 Hours.
You know, I’ve always suspected the reason Amazon Prime is so successful is all thanks to moms, ordering up a storm on their phones while trapped under a child … I’m just sayin’.
3. Again for the Camera.
Yup, I’m 7 years into this parenting gig and I don’t think I’ve ever captured magic yet. Just a lot of eye rolls.
4. Rinse and Repeat.
This is DEFINITELY a form of hazing for moms. So much so, that there are often stretches of time when every mother starts to wonder if using a baby wipe counts as a shower. Thanks, kids …
5. 3-6 mos.
GUILTY! (Sorry, Mom.)
6. Pumped Up.
I’m currently in the land of pumping and I too swear that that machine is talking. I hear “doughnuts doughnuts” … but then, I guess this sort of like an audio version of a Rorschach test.
7. Food For Thought.
And yet I still can’t lose that baby weight. Hmm …
8. Motherhood = A Free Gym Membership.
ACCURATE! Who needs a gym, when you’re on your feet bouncing, pacing, dashing, dancing, and stomping around all day long?
9. Guilty Pleasure.
The grocery store … Target … heck, even getting gas alone can feel like a vacation when the kids aren’t there. My favorite kid-free activity is to try on clothes in the dressing room and TAKE MY SWEET TIME!
10. Dada, Mama!
Oh, the poetic injustice of hearing your child say “Dada” after months of secretly trying to teach them “Mama” …
It is truly amazing how babies can figure out their way around all forms of baby-proofing or manage to get hurt on the ‘safe’ stuff.
Ah yes, and last but not least, that first year will bring you up close and personal with baby poop in more ways than you ever thought imaginable. So BUCKLE UP.
“It’s amazing how quickly that first year goes,” Wong tells Babble. “And now that my son is a toddler, I look back so fondly at those fleeting moments and struggles. Some of my favorites include the one where I check to see if he is breathing, but then accidentally wake him up.” (Hey, what mother isn’t guilty of doing that at least once … amirite?)
As for her best piece of advice to other new moms embarking on that first year, here’s what Wong had to say:
“To enjoy the present moment, and to not worry too much about the next phase … that will come soon enough, and you may miss something now. Though I feel like drawing comics pauses time ever so slightly, and since I draw them in the moment, it helps me relive what I was feeling then.”
If you’re a new mama who’s wading through the trenches now, good luck out there — and remember; you got this.More On