We started our obsession with Amy Wruble when her column "40 Effed Up Things About Being 40" spread like wildfire on the web a few years ago (#27: "I still think 21-year-old guys are hot. And they’re like, 'Mom?'”). Whenever we are feeling a little blah, one look at her column and we are nodding in acknowledgement and laughing out loud at her wry observations of parenting and marriage in "Carriage Before Marriage." Recently, she bemoaned the fact that while she and her husband began their relationship "roughly equal on the attractiveness scale," he seems to have disturbingly gotten hotter, the bit of gray perfectly salting his dark pepper hair, while she has to scurry to the salon every other month for highlights. Sister, we've been there, and we feel you. She talked to us about the special memories she has of having her daughter at her wedding, how she treasures the hospital keepsake hat from her miracle baby, and that time her one-year-old locked her out of the house.
What do you do and why do you do it?
Before having kids, I was a reality television producer working 18 hours a day and traveling nonstop. It was a fun career, but there was no way to keep up those hours while being the kind of mother I wanted to be. What I really wanted was to stay home. After my first daughter was born, I started my blog (Carriage Before Marriage, so named because we got married after we started having kids) as a creative outlet and discovered that I loved the flexibility of the writing life. The blog led to freelance writing gigs, and I feel super crazy lucky that I can work from home and on my own schedule. My writing has appeared in Parenting, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and iVillage and I’m a regular contributor to mom.me and Momtastic. When both my kids are in school, who knows, maybe a book?
What's your favorite memory of your wedding? Did you save any mementos from the wedding--especially anything that might be surprising?
I’m not saying everyone should wait to get married until they have kids, but it was pretty special having my three-year-old Viv walk down the aisle as our flower girl. She was just spectacular. One of my favorite wedding moments was when her bedtime arrived and we hadn’t yet cut the cake. I figured, hey, I’m the bride, and I snuck her a big piece that I surreptitiously sliced from the back. Speaking of the cake, I found someone on Etsy to make this fabulous customized cake topper that represented all three of us. That’s a keeper!
How do you think having a blog about parenting has affected you as a parent? Has it made you do anything different?
My blog is generally humorous and self deprecating, so I don’t have to pretend to be an expert in anything (phew). But working in the mom blog world, I’m exposed to tons of parenting writing and it can be overwhelming, just taking in all the conflicting opinions and advice, not to mention all the judge-y comments on the internet. You know, how you should set limits but try not to say “no.” And you should give your kids independence but also watch them every minute or something horrible will happen. And you should breastfeed but Oh My God are you still breastfeeding? That kind of stuff. Sometimes I need to take a break and just read some fiction.
How do you think your kids will describe your job as they grow up?
My daughter Viv tells people that her mom writes stories, and that she’s going to be a story writer too (also a doctor, fashion designer and hip hop dancer). I love that. Of course, I haven’t yet reached the stage where my kids can read what I’m writing about them, so things may take a turn.
What part in your family journey or your own journey has surprised you the most?
Having a second child has been a revelation. I never imagined how different it would be. With my first, I was terribly anxious and stressed during a lot of her babyhood. This time it seems so much easier and in a lot of ways more joyful. I can see why people keep on having kids!
What's in your library?
I saved the hat that Viv wore home from the hospital as a newborn. It’s so tiny, it would barely fit a doll now, but there was no way I could get rid of it. This adorable purple polka-dotted number was part of a “going home” outfit I’d bought when I was about five months pregnant and knew I was having a girl—a dream come true for me. Just a few weeks after that shopping trip, I’d been declared high risk and put on bed rest, which was rather terrifying. Miraculously, my baby girl made it to term and was born healthy and perfect, the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Holding her hat in my hands helps me remember what it was like when she weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and lived in my arms. Today, that baby is a free-spirited kindergartener who never sits down!
When my kids grow up, I hope they'll remember the time we...
Had all those dance parties in the kitchen and made up terrible beat box raps and laughed.
The family nightmare that became a good story:
My toddler recently locked me out of our house with her trapped inside. I was so scared. There happened to be a construction site next door, and within about 30 seconds I had a workman smashing my entryway window with a crowbar so I could crawl through and get to her. You better believe this story made it into my blog!
On weekends my family....
Catches up on sleep! My husband and I are two non-morning people who gave up sleep for the love our children. On the weekends, we spell each other so we can take turns sleeping in and exercising. But we try not to divide and conquer so much that we don’t spend any time together. I love to make a big Sunday night dinner for the four of us and eat it outside. We’re lucky to have my husband’s mom nearby, so sometimes we’ll go up to Grammy’s and swim. My favorite weekends are when we also get to the beach or park—nature makes everything better.
The memento I wish I'd kept was....
I’m known as a huge packrat, and while that can be aggravating for my husband at times, it means I’ll never regret throwing away something important. The thing I’m happiest I saved is a huge collection of costume jewelry, accessories and special clothing items, some of which date all the way back to my great-grandparents. My two daughters absolutely love playing in my closet, trying on sparkly rhinestone necklaces, vintage half slips, feather boas and sequined shawls. Just wait until they can fit into my mother’s 1960’s halter dresses or my original black leather pants.
The best thing my kid said this week was….
My 17-month-old was snuggling in a “Mommy Daddy sandwich” in our bed one morning, and she announced, “Baby happy Chloe.” Not only was it sort of a sentence, but it was an amazing sentiment.
My favorite childhood memory is....
Growing up, my younger brother and I spent our summer vacations on Cape Cod, looking for horseshoe crabs at the beach, jumping off the diving board at the pool, playing miniature golf and duckpin bowling, climbing trees and drinking Mr. Pibb from glass bottles our parents let us buy at the vending machine. I made a friend whose family vacationed next door and we were pen pals for almost 20 years. This was before Facebook—we wrote letters! Yes, I saved the letters.
My favorite family photograph is...
I snapped this picture of my girls sharing a shopping cart seat at Costco. It’s not the most glamorous of settings, but the way they are gazing at each other just melts me. I look at them and just think, “I MADE that.” If I do nothing else with my life, I can rest on those laurels. They are the greatest gift to me and hopefully to each other as well.