Posts Tagged ‘ author ’

“Ramshackle Glam”: A Great Book, a Great Guide, a Great Gift–All in One

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I met Jordan Reid on a TV shoot about moms, called MomTales. This is how we bonded:

Me: You know, when I’m not with my kids, I miss them terribly and I just want to be with them. Then as soon as I’m with them, I want them back in preschool.

Jordan [nodding]: There are only so many hours in the day you can spend playing Triceratops Versus T-Rex. At some point, you really just need a good trashy magazine and a margarita.

From there, we never stopped talking, except when the director told us to pay attention to the shoot.

This is a woman who runs a million miles and hours with a smile on her face, high heels (though she disputes that in her new book), and a wit about her that makes you instantly relax and laugh.

She has a 2-year-old boy, 2 dogs, a husband, and a full-time career as a style blogger on her site, Ramshackle Glam. Which means she also does TV appearances, goes to conferences, meets with advertisers, and somehow manages to post numerous times a day. With pictures. I’m lucky to get 2 posts out a week. Now she just came out with a book, also titled Ramshackle Glam. Where she gets the time to juggle all this is beyond me. Oh, and did I mention she’s pregnant with her second child?

People like her both inspire me and give me a much-needed dose of mom energy. But what I really like about Jordan (and her book) is that she keeps it real. She’s so relatable; she’s the kind of mom friend you picture having a glass of wine with and talking about how you may have accidentally-on-purpose thrown a remote at your husband last night because he forgot to tape The Bachelorette. Or how all your hair — no, but seriously: all of it — fell out six months after you gave birth. (Except for the hair on your legs; that’s holding on just fine, and you know that for a fact because you cannot for the life of you remember to shave it.) [This is a true excerpt from her book, fyi.]

I tore through it in just 3 nights. Then passed it on to a friend who is expecting her first child. It’s a super fun, entertaining read that also gets to the core of why motherhood can be so damn hard, heartbreaking, heartwrenching, and heartwarming at the same time.

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Know anyone expecting? Or a new mom? This is the gift to get them.

Here is my interview with Jordan about her book:

What inspired you to write a book?

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember — since I was about four years old — but after I had my son in 2011 I realized that I had a lot to say about motherhood, and especially about the judgment that can so often color a new parent’s experience. Before I had my son, I would not have called myself a “maternal person” at all (and honestly, I still don’t know that I would; I mean, I adore my son, but I’m not one of those people who’s just awesome and natural and amazing around kids), and I was very, very nervous going into motherhood.

I was frightened that having a baby would take away some fundamental part of me, that I wouldn’t be able to recognize myself anymore once I was a Mom. But what I discovered is that having a baby changes a lot, but it doesn’t change everything. You can still do all those things — from wearing the clothing that makes you feel good to connecting with your partner to having a house that feels like a home instead of a Baby Zoo — all that you used to do “before”…but you just might have to be a little more creative, that’s all.

How would you sum up your book? Is it for expecting parents, new parents, old parents?

The advice in the book is tailored towards new moms, but really, the fashion, beauty, home decor, and entertaining tips are only a small part of the book. What Ramshackle Glam really is, is a memoir of motherhood, and I think that the stories about marital struggles, guilt over your parenting choices, and the challenges of making friends as a mom are things that every parent — young and old — can relate to.

What has been the hardest part of motherhood for you?  

For me, the hardest part of motherhood has been figuring out how to live in the moment, and to not worry too much about “how fast it goes.” I can’t tell you how much that stressed me out, hearing from everyone on the street, “Oh, it goes so quickly, they’ll be grown and gone before you know it!” But over time I’ve discovered that while of course you miss every stage when it passes…the stage that you’re in right this very moment is almost always the most fun and exciting of all.

What about pregnancy? Have the challenges changed from your first to second pregnancy? 

With pregnancy, I’d say the hardest thing for me the first time around was just wrapping my mind around what day-to-day life would look like a few months down the road…because I had no idea. I couldn’t fathom how I’d get my stroller up the stairs to my walk-up apartment, let alone how I’d actually, you know, raise a human being. And that’s part of why I wanted to write Ramshackle Glam, to let people who may feel similarly get a peek into what’s-to-come, and to know that yes, it’ll be hard…but it’ll also be okay. The best ever, actually.

With this pregnancy, the hardest thing has been the fact that there’s really no “chilling out and enjoying the experience.” There’s no downtime to rub oils on my skin or meditate on the life we’re bringing into the world or play classical music to my stomach or whatever it is that we did when we were expecting our son — I can’t even remember; it feels like a lifetime ago. So honestly, when this baby arrives it’s going to be a bit of a shock. Fortunately, we’re also a little more prepared this time around, so hopefully that will balance it out.

You are a woman who is all about how to funk up your style, your “glam”…how do you feel in this regard about having a daughter? 

You know, I actually wrote about this the other day because I had a few friends say to me something along the lines of, “you must be so excited to be having a girl!” And what they meant was that I must be excited about the girly stuff that comes with having a daughter…dresses and such. And of course I am excited about those things — I’ve certainly spent my share of time in Baby Gap over the past couple of months buying little cheetah-print outfits — but the truth is that while I certainly am looking forward to all the things that come along with having a daughter…what I’m most excited about doesn’t have anything to do with her gender at all.

She may be into dresses or she may be into board shorts or she may be into things I can’t even imagine, and all of that is just part of what makes having a child so exciting. I know that who I’m raising is not a “little girl,” but a person, and our experience as parent and child will be as individual as she is. The style stuff is fun, of course, but when it comes down to it the most important thing I can do — the only thing I can do, really — is to support my daughter and be there for her whoever she may be and wherever she may go.

How the hell do you have time to do your life? You seem like superwoman. Tell me your secret. 

Ha! Thank you. Does “constant, massive anxiety that propels you into action” count as a secret? That, and the fact that I keep obsessively detailed lists of every single thing in my life in my iPhone — that helps.

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Delia Ephron Says You Can Have It All

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

We all have moments in our day when we have peace and calm, right?  Mine usually comes after I pop my Lexapro in the morning or sip my wine at night. Okay, I’m kidding. Those who read my post know I’m neither a drug addict nor an alcoholic, though I sometimes aspire to be–especially when Emmett pulls Fia’s hair, coming away with fistfuls. She in turn clubs him over the head with Big Bird. Cue the wails and tears. It’s not fun. A lot of parenting isn’t fun. And yet, yet, it feels like the greatest thing I’ve done with my life.

I was a world traveler before. I was a TV host. I was a reporter. I never wanted kids. I never wanted to be tied down to anything or anyone other than my husband who was equally anti-kid. Then we reversed course and had a baby. Then another. For me, I define my life as the person I was before I had kids and the person I became after. It is a line in the sand and even though my memories and experiences pre-kids made me who I am, the line post-kids is by far my favorite. This time is like no other. Sometimes I want to just bottle it so on a gloomy day I can open up my bottle and breathe these moments back.

My friend Delia Ephron recently wrote an article in which she talks about how you CAN have it all. In moments. No, you can’t have it all, all the time. Unless you are on drugs. Then you think you are having it all until you end up in the psych ward or on Skid Row.

For her, finding that perfect moment in the day is walking into a bakery. I believe she has walked into every bakery in New York City at least 17 times. The other night she emailed me about her stress level. The reason I knew she was stressed? She said she was on her 8th chocolate chip cookie. But I know that within her stress she had some perfect moments when she crunched down on the chocolate or sank into the doughy part.

Anyway, her article really touched a nerve in me since I constantly struggle with my mom guilt. Am I doing it right? Am I spending enough time with my kids? If I only get a sitter while they nap does that make me a better parent because then I’m with them during their waking hours? If I put Emmett in preschool for a few hours when he is 2, am I selfish? The spinning in my head can drive me mad. Just this week I posted something about my brain turning to mush, but still vowing to practice more gratitude. 

But my struggles aren’t unique or rare. As Delia says in her article it’s, “depressingly American.”

She has a new book coming out that I know all my readers will love. I may be biased, but it’s not just me. It got a glowing review by The New York Times. No easy feat. The book is a humorous and heartfelt memoir, but unlike traditional memoirs, it is broken up into short chapters that you can read in snippets at the end of your day or while waiting for a doctor appointment.

I told her it was the perfect “tired mom” book because I would get in bed and read one chapter each night. It touches on all sorts of aspects so there really is something for everyone: from losing her famous sister Nora, to her alcoholic mother (one of the reasons I think we are such kindred spirits), to her love of bakeries (the article above was adapted from the book), and much more.

Between her article and book, I began to look for my own moments of grace. I realized they are everywhere. When Emmett first wakes up and just burrows into me, his warm body tucked into mine; when Fia wraps her small arms tightly around me and says, “You’re my best Mama,” and at night, when they are sleeping–I tiptoe into their rooms. I touch Emmett’s soft curls. They frame his face like a cherub. I lay my hand on Fia’s heart and feel it beating. These are nightly rituals where I know I have it all. Then I crawl into my own bed and open up a book. Last week it was Delia’s. As I settled in, the house was safe and still.

She wrote: “Having it all are moments in life when you suspend judgment. It’s when I attain that elusive thing called peace of mind. Not particularly American, unquantifiable, unidentifiable, different for everyone, but you know it when you have it.”

I’m lucky I have so many moments. And that I have friends like her to remind me of them.

Her book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Independent Bookstores. I will also say it makes a great gift for your best mom friend!

From the New York Times Book Review:

“The book builds in gravity and heft to finish gorgeously…“Sister Mother Husband Dog” is a valentine, sometimes frilly but more memorably about love, loss and all that is irreplaceabe.”

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