Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

New book offers fun take on parenting; Q&A with 'Mommy Shorts' mom before Raleigh visit

Posted October 16, 2016

Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts

Ilana Wiles is in the midst of the really hands-on parenting stage. With two young daughters, ages 3 and 6, potty training, princess birthday parties and that first loose tooth are hardly distant memories.

But, in just a few years, Wiles, who lives in New York, has managed to rocket herself to online fame with Mommy Shorts, a wildly popular blog where she writes about the sweet and not-so-sweet moments of early parenthood.

Wiles is here to let fellow parents know that these early years aren't all cuddles and glitter (that's easily cleaned up). There's plenty of poop and sleepless nights involved.

Wiles will visit Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh at 7 p.m., Oct. 27, with her new book "The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting." The book, which came out in September, includes topics such as “9 Examples of Crap Husbands Pull While Their Wives Are in Labor” and “The 10 Phases of Taking a Shower With a Newborn in the House.” The book covers many of the challenges of the baby-to-todder phase with humor.

I checked in with Wiles by email to learn more about how she got here and her book. Here's our Q&A:

Go Ask Mom: How did this all get started? Were you just generally frustrated with the articles and pictures and websites that showed only the rainbow and puppies side of parenting?

Ilana Wiles: I started my blog Mommy Shorts after getting laid off from my job as a creative director in advertising shortly after my maternity leave. It was a way for me to keep creating and building something while I looked for a new job. I used humor and honesty to tell my stories about new motherhood and got a really amazing response pretty quickly.

There were readers who told me how much reading my stories helped them when they were having a tough time and there were readers who gave me really good advice. It taught me that parents are all struggling with the same things and I found that feedback invaluable as a new mom.

GAM: What are your own memories of childhood and how has that informed your parenting style and Mommy Shorts?

IW: When I was little, my mom was a stay-at-home mom and the most generous selfless parent. I've always felt like I could never live up to my mom's example. But then she recently told me that she admires the way I have been able to build a family and a career at the same time and wishes she had been able to do that for herself. It just showed me that no matter what choices moms make, we question our decisions and wonder if there was a better way to do it.

GAM: Why do you think your message resonates so much with today's parents?

IW: There are so many images of perfect parents out there that a lot of moms start to feel like bad parents, when really they are just having a typical experience. I think the sooner moms accept that there is not one correct way of doing things and that no one is perfect (not even the moms with the beautifully curated instagram accounts), the better parents they become.

Most parents are not telling a complete story on Instagram or Facebook. They are posting the one picture out of 50 where everyone is smiling. Yet this tricks us into believing that everyone else is constantly smiling except us. My book, my blog and my Instagram accounts (especially @averageparentproblems) aims to make people feel better about their parenting because they see how universal all our struggles are.

GAM: What's your book all about?

IW: First and foremost, my book is an entertaining take on parenthood. It is a celebration of all the universal parenting truths that we can't control, with helpful tips and advice along the way. I just want people to know that you can struggle and still lead an aspirational life. Most of parenting is not what happens, but our reaction to it. If you learn to laugh at your mistakes, you've won half the battles.

GAM: Your kids are still pretty young. How do you think your work will grow and change as they get older and hit those tricky years in middle and high school?

IW: One day, my kids will go back and read everything and I want them to be proud of it. It's their story as much as mine. As my kids get older, I only want to tell the stories they are comfortable telling. I've already found that talking about things we do — activities, travel, etc. is a great way to tell stories and share insights without getting too personal. I'm also finding that my kids share my sense of humor and they like contributing, so I'd love to give them the freedom to create for the blog too. If they decide they don't want to be involved, I'll just have to get more creative.

GAM: What do you have planned for your visit to Quail Ridge?

IW: Nothing yet! But I'm sure people will tell me what to do over Snapchat.

Go Ask Mom features moms every Monday. Usually they're local - but we stretched the Triangle's boundaries (tremendously)  for this one. Quail Ridge's website has more information about Wiles' visit and her book.


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