Stefanie Wilder-Taylor's 'Naptime is the New Happy Hour: and Other Ways Toddlers Turn Your Life Upside Down. The Babble.com Five-Minute Time Out.Jennifer V. Hughes
Wilder-Taylor doesn’t trust people who don’t drink. She suggests Tico the Squirrel in Dora-land might be gay. And when contemplating a second child she lists “Demerol in the hospital,” in the plus column. On her popular blog, she offered this quiz: “My Little Pony names or Porn Stars,” and she once referred to her unborn twin daughters as “womb bitches.”
Wilder-Taylor is the BFF you wish you had.
Babble talked to Wilder-Taylor about the Mommy Lit trend and her first book, Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay, about why moms lie and whether she’s writing about her twins, who were born in November, six weeks premature. – Jennifer V. Hughes
So what do you think about this whole Mommy Lit trend? How long will it last?
I think it’s done – I wish it wasn’t. Even though motherhood will always be around, and I think it’s great we can be communal about it and hear about each other’s experience,. Unfortunately, I think you just get a glut and then people get turned off. It’s like how no one reads Daddy books – they just don’t buy them.
Why do you think that is?
In general, dads go to work and they’re not hanging out with their dad friends, going on playdates and to the gym. They should be – but the audience is just not there.
I wonder why the Mommy Lit trend never hit before.
It’s just like any other trend. It’s the same thing as addiction memoirs. They were this big secret thing that no one talked about until Augusten Burroughs wrote Dry, and then suddenly it became very sexy. Now, suddenly it’s okay to say you don’t love every minute of being a mom. Once that wall is broken, then everyone goes, “Oh my God – me too! I want to write a book!”
When you were writing Naptime, what experience did you find to be the most profound and surprising?
I think that most people like that I call moms out for being liars. I realized as my daughter got older that, oh my God, everyone is lying! Even my friends lie to me! People have this weird need to pretend that they are a superparent. I really believe that none of us are. I cannot believe that there are moms who do not let their kids have any sugar or watch any television. How can you possibly get through the day without at least a half hour of Sesame Street ?
That’s so funny – your “New Mommy Math” was my favorite part of the book! (“When Smug Mama tells you straight to your face that she absolutely allows only one hour of mind-enriching educational TV a day, just go ahead and add two hours. If she tells you ‘No TV ever!’ add six. It’s that simple.”) Why do you think women do this crap?
It’s the same reason why women try to be skinny for other women; how women dress for women not men. It’s a little competition kind of thing – it comes out of our own insecurities. I’ve found validation in just being honest. My thing was always searching for ways to connect with other moms who were willing to be honest.
You’ve written some pretty brutally honest stuff on your blog – about your postpartum depression, your emotionally distant mother. What is it like to have so many people respond?
People respond to honesty, that’s what I’ve found. I was very scared before Sippy Cups came out . . . I thought Moms would be angry and no one would want to hear about how I had so much trouble breastfeeding and I didn’t bond with my baby, but I found the opposite was true.
People want to read things that people don’t dare say – that I didn’t love my baby instantly.
My point is that what I’ve found to be very profound is that people want to read things that people don’t dare say – that I didn’t love my baby instantly. I felt ready to care for her in a primal way but I wasn’t like, “Isn’t this great, isn’t she cute?” To be honest, I don’t feel that way about my twins yet. They’re okay, but they’re not like my daughter, who I’m madly in love with. And I think that’s okay to say that it takes a little while to fall in love with your kids.
One of the things I love about your books is that you are so not afraid to write things that might possibly tick people off. (I’m thinking about how much you can’t stand scrapbooking, Dragon Tales, suburbs, date night, etc.)
Why are people going to buy your book unless you have something to say? That always kills me – people say things like, “How dare you make fun of people who make their own baby food?” I’m not making fun of it per se – I’m just willing to say that it seems crazy. Okay, maybe that is making fun of people, but I’m not saying you’re a loser for doing it; I’m just never going to make my own baby food.
So you just had twins! How totally stressed are you to be promoting your new book, caring for two babies (daughters Sadie and Matilda) and a toddler (Elby, three)?
It’s hard. It’s harder than writing the book through morning sickness and finding out I was having twins. Fortunately I have help during the day, but it’s still a little crazy.
So is your next book about having twins?
I think a book about twins would be: “Don’t do it.”
Photo by Alex Asher Sears Photography