Today, in the ridiculously popular interview series TMI Fridays, I am talking to the beautiful and talented Amy from Funny is Family. Amy is a contributing author to the hilarious book I Just Want to Pee Alone with her essay "Embarrassment, Thy Name is Motherhood". Amy is a mother of two children, aged four and six. She writes on her blog about parenting, life and womanhood, and she always keeps it real.
Amy is a Pacific Northwest transplant to the East Coast. She relocated five years ago with her husband and their then 12 month old baby. Initially she was nervous because of the nationwide stereotypes about East Coast people being cold and abrupt, but she soon found out that adorable babies happen to be great icebreakers and she loves where she currently lives.
There is one major regional difference though; the wave. No, we aren't talking about the kind you do in a football stadium. We're talking about the drive-by wave. In her hometown of 5,000 in the Pacific Northwest, it is customary to wave at people as they're driving, biking or walking by you. If you don't wave, you at least nod your head or raise a finger in acknowledgment. This is often followed by the head snap for facial recognition of your wave's recipient. This head maneuver is also known by it's ninja name, "GAWKING". Gawking is the best way to figure out if you actually know who it is that you just waved at, nodded to or saluted.
Since I am a road waving expert (being from a small town in Iowa automatically catapults you into the category of "Expert Waver"), I decided to evaluate Amy's personality based on her style of drive-waving.
· Entire hand= Overzealous and friendly, or STOP! You owe me money.
· Multiple Finger Salute to Forehead= I'm actually practicing my synchronized swimming routine and people think I am greeting them.
· Head Nod= All of this waving is annoying me. I'm actually on this road to get somewhere, not to make friends.
· Multiple finger salute with hand on wheel= I see you. I also see that school bus, the four way stop and my children in the rear-view mirror. I SEE EVERYTHING.
· One Finger Salute= This one can get problemy.
Amy is a three finger in the 12 O'Clock position on the steering wheel waver.
I'm a head nodder and a one-finger waver.
That should explain a lot.
In five years of living in Connecticut, Amy finally has stopped waving at one of her neighbors. This neighbor has never once in five years waved to Amy. I hope this neighbor never moves to small town Iowa; they'll totally be blacklisted from BINGO night in the school gymnasium.
What IS fabulous about her neighborhood in Connecticut is that instead of waving, people simply show up at your house with beer if it is after 4 pm and you are in your yard.
I'm probably moving to Connecticut.
Johi: Did you always aspire to be a stay at home mother/writer?
Amy: No, initially I wanted to be a pharmacist, like my grandfather. Then I took chemistry and I blew a hole in the ceiling of the lab in my high school. I thought, "This is not for me."
I worked in retail management for awhile, which I liked, but did not love.
Then I had children and stayed at home with them. I'm lazy. I don't want to work outside the home.
Leaving the workforce was easy for me, because I wasn’t passionate about my career. It would have been a harder choice if I loved my job. Also, living 3000 miles away from all family members makes it very difficult to have two working parents, especially when one of them works as much as my husband does. Staying home works well for our family right now, and my husband is even being somewhat flexible with his work schedule to accommodate book signings.
Johi: Do you find working at home challenging?
Amy: I don't think it is terribly difficult. Maybe that is because I don't put a lot of effort into it... but then again, I don't really "keep" a house. Staying home with my children isn’t hard in of itself. I like their company, we do fun things, and we have freshly made baked goods on a fairly regular basis. It gets more difficult when other things are layered on to it. Like blogging.
Johi: Did you always want to be a mom?
Amy: Um... yes. I never really liked babysitting though. I thought that kids were cute, but I never really wanted to spend a lot of time with them. Now that I'm a mom, I truly like kids.
Johi: Ditto on all of that. I dog and horse sat for people. Rarely did I babysit.
When did you start writing, and what made you start writing the blog?
Amy: As a kid, I liked to write. In high school, I wrote stories and terrible poetry. My friends and I wrote roasts in rhyme. I've always enjoyed writing with humor.
As far as the blog, friends kept encouraging me to write one. I didn't really understand blogging and I thought what I talked about had already been done. I've been writing for nine months. I thought that I would run out of things to say, but I didn't.
Johi: Do you have hobbies? Do you still do those hobbies after having babies?
Amy: Yes and NO. I love to ski. I haven't skied in four years. I also love to read books. I read more blogs now. I still drink beer, but not as much as I would like and I'm not as adventurous with my beverage choices. It's hard to drag kids to a beer festival.
Johi: What is the worst noise on the planet?
Amy: Easy. It's a two way tie between the sound of a metal hanger on a metal bar, and teeth on silverware. If I ever decide to leave my husband it will be because he sometimes lets his teeth touch his fork.
Johi: Let's play a game called Would You Rather! Would you rather: Spot Bigfoot or visit Jurassic Park?
Amy: Bigfoot. Jurassic Park scared the crap out of me and no one has determined that Bigfoot is a bad guy. I would just give him a piece of beef jerky.
Johi: Would you rather: Be pregnant for 19 consecutive months or birth quadruplets?
Amy: Oh shit. Ummm.... pregnant. Shorter term pain.
Johi: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Amy: A cat. I am lazy, selfish, and hairy, and I adore lying in the sun, stretching, and giving people the stink eye. Cats are gross, and so am I. I do not, however, enjoy showing people my butthole.
Johi: Speaking of cats, which cartoons do your kids adore but they make you feel like stabbing kittens?
Amy: Callou, but they don't watch that anymore. My Little Pony. The voices, the story lines, the repetition and the fact that my kids watch it all. the. time. But I really shouldn’t complain about any cartoon. It’s not like I’m watching it, or even hearing it for that matter, and anything that keeps those kids from crawling up my ass is aces in my book.
Johi: Do you have a mentor or an idol? Who is it and what about that person inspires you?
Amy: The people I most admire all fit the same mold. They are women who speak the truth with love or a healthy dose of humor. Usually both. Eleanor Roosevelt, my oldest friend, Tina Fey, Mother Teresa, my mother-in-law, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are a few examples. Strong, brave women make the world go round.
Johi: Which celebrity is your "free pass"?
Amy: Ben Affleck
Johi: You're going to have to fight Ashley for him. I'll bring the video camera.
What is your favorite essay in I Just Want to Pee Alone?
Amy: Meredith Spidel's "Love, Tears and a Few Scattered Ashes". I loved Meredith's essay because my dad died almost five years ago, and it was the most horrifying experience of my life. Despite that grief and shock, or maybe because of it, I felt nurtured, loved, and supported. I reconnected with people I hadn't seen in years, I laughed harder than I ever have, and I know that my dad is happy to know that through our tears, we truly celebrated his life.
Honestly, asking me to pick a favorite essay is like asking me to pick a favorite child, because it depends on my mood. If I'm missing my dad, or laughing irreverently, it's Meredith’s. If I'm wondering what my daughter is thinking when she sees me naked, it's "The Big Reveal" by Jessica Watson. If I'm wishing we would remember to put a lock on our bedroom door, it's "Don't Stop Believin'" by Michelle Newman. If I'm judging another family's choices when it comes to procreation, it's "The Other Mommy War" by Nicole Leigh Shaw.
When I finally take my kids to Disneyworld, I'll think of Karen Alpert, and if I ever accidentally eat shit I'll be like, "Oh, that's what Patti Ford was talking about.
Check out more of Amy on her fabulous blog, Funny is Family. I also stalk her on Facebook. Be sure to buy your copy of I Just Want to Pee Alone for Mother's Day so that you can read Amy's fabulous and funny essay!