When I grow up I want to be Jordan Reid. Okay, that isn't fair to say, because technically I'm a lot few years older than Jordan but I totally want to be more like her. Her new book is so Jordan, meaning that not only is it terribly chic and gorgeously illustrated but it is filled with all sorts of common sense and practical ideas about how you can navigate motherhood without losing your own identity and love for a perfect shade of lipstick, all the while getting into the not-so-glam aspects of parenting like how babies puke on you and do so a lot and how you can remove these puke stains.
I'm such a cynical brat it would be easy for me to hate someone like Jordan. She is terribly pretty and her book and her blog all sort of make you look at your own shortcomings in regard to life, all the frills and pomp of organization and home decor and looking like a stone-cold fox while doing so, but that's sort of the magic of Jordan. Once you get to know her, and once you read her book, you realize that's she so sincerely nice, and so amazingly sweet, that she's the type of person who would come over if you were trapped at home with a mewling newborn and run you a scented bath and swaddle your baby and hold it and probably bring you prizes of oversized sunglasses and cupcakes. And when you were out of the bath you would find she had organized all of your baby photos into a terribly beautiful gallery display for your wall. That's Jordan, the one I know and the one she shows us in her book.
For me Jordan's book is so refreshing because it's like this little jewel-box of a book, beautifully illustrated with chapters on hair and makeup and home decor, and then all these other stories about breastfeeding issues and postpartum depression and hair loss and feeling lonely and all these other big, serious things about new motherhood. It's a fanatic gift for a new mom or an old mom like me who hasn't been a new mom for ages, and I truly adore it, just like I adore Jordan. She's awesomely badass. I spoke with her about her new book and a mess of other things.
OK, most importantly, how the hell did you find time to write with a new baby?
Actually, writing became weirdly easier after I had my son, mostly because I stopped being having the time to get all precious about it...which meant being pretty unfiltered about what was going on in my head and just writing it down, now. I had about three and a half months to get the manuscript to my publisher, so I just dedicated my son's daily nap (which used to be two hours long, and now, sadly, is not) to book-writing. Right now I'm pregnant and working on a second book, and both of those things are due in August, so either my son needs to rediscover his interest in taking a little midday rest, or I am going to have to break and purchase Frozen on iTunes despite the fact that I already can't fall asleep at night without hearing Idina Menzel in my head on repeat.
Your book is so fantastic, and as cliché as this sounds it's sort of like talking to your best friend all about what it's like to be a new mom. What were the biggies for you that you felt were important to include? I especially think the chapter "Baby Insecurity And Why You're Just Fine" should be required reading for all new moms.
Thank you! I was the first of my friends to have a baby and I don't have a big family, so parenting was something I had virtually no experience with, and that I struggled with a lot, mostly because it was hard to separate what I thought I should do from what others (meaning the Internet and random people on the street, mostly) were telling me that I should do. It's just very easy to feel like you're failing at the one thing in the world that you want to do not just "well", but perfectly, and it was very important to me to let women know that everyone feels this way, and everyone screws up. A lot.
I didn't want to just talk about The Baby, though; I wanted to talk about all the other stuff in your life that changes when you become a parent - your relationship with your partner, your relationships with your friends, your relationship with the person you see in the mirror...because that stuff matters, too. And I think as a new parent it's very easy to forget that.
One thing that sets your book so apart from other new parent books and books that are lifestyle guides is how readily you are to commiserate with new moms who still care about nail polish but who also are sort of freaked out with having their identities wrapped up in the new role of motherhood. You tackle some sensitive topics in the book like postpartum depression and body image, was that important for you to conclude the not-so-glam with the glam?
Well, to me writing about makeup, clothing, nail polish, whatever...it's never "just" about makeup and clothing and nailpolish. It's about what those things do to you, how they make you feel, and so to me talking about why it's important to wear a pretty outfit for a date night with your partner is tied right up in issues of new-parent marital struggles. Talking about applying false eyelashes is the same thing as talking about the importance of continuing to take some time for yourself in the post-partum era. It's all one and the same, because it's all stuff that we think about, worry about, and one worry is not "more" or "less" valid than the next. And what it all comes down to is being honest about what makes you happy, and then finding ways to make those things a part of your life - even in small, abbreviated ways.
Basically, I just wanted to let women know that it's okay to be a parent and still care about nail polish; they're not mutually exclusive. Even when you're a parent, you still get to be you.
What annoys you the most about being a mom?
The fact that I can no longer sleep past sunrise, even if someone else is watching my son; my internal clock is now permanently set to "toddler".
Do you think that moms who have popular websites are criticized unfairly when it comes to their own personal choices in regard to how they live their lives?
Of course I wish that we could talk to each other online in the way that we presumably try to talk to each other in person - which is to say, honestly and openly while making an effort not to be snide, hurtful, or aggressive - but I also think to some extent that's something you sign on for when you put yourself into an environment like the Internet, where very different groups of people with very different backgrounds and lifestyles and priorities collide in ways they maybe wouldn't in "real" life, to sometimes dramatic effect.
It's something that I think about every day: how to share openly and honestly while still making sure that my family feels safe and respected (and it's a topic I touch upon in my book, when I discuss my decision to use a pseudonym for my son on my website). I have been surprised by the viciousness with which people sometimes express their feelings about topics having to do with pregnancy and motherhood, but while it's never easy to have that kind of criticism leveled at you (and especially at your parenting, which is an incredibly sensitive topic for many people, myself included), it makes sense: these are subjects that people have very, very strong feelings about, and not everyone is going to be interested in (or able to) express themselves in an open-minded, considerate way.
The prevalence of mommy-shaming and mommy-policing in our culture makes me CRAZY, and that's a topic that I think Mommyish gets at a lot, as well - I love the site and have such a strong response to so many Mommyish posts because writers like yourself, Koa and Maria are willing to poke fun at the things that we all feel, that we all deal with...and in doing so they take away all the fear and guilt and judgment and pull these very real, very universal issues out of the shadows. And when they're in the light they don't look half as bad. And that's a wonderful thing; a relief.
The new-parent era is is a time in a woman's life when she so much needs commiseration and understanding and support, and I wanted very much for every woman who reads this book to feel that same sense of relief from knowing that everybody feels like they're screwing up sometimes (or a lot), and everyone worries that they're not balancing things well (or at all), and that when it comes down to it we're all probably doing pretty damn well, because we love our kids so, so much, and that's that.
Ok so you have $50 to blow on instant pick me ups, what are they?
A wine-and-sushi dinner...except I'm pregnant, so maybe a coupon for a wine-and-sushi dinner five months from now.
A new pair of sunglasses. I have so many pairs. Need more!
1.5 pieces of baby girl clothing at The Gap
Four hours of babysitting
Fake flowers (because I kill real ones)
Give me your lists, I need lists:
Five must haves for every new mom
1. A big, pretty scarf for breastfeeding and general insta-stylishness with zero effort
2. A slow-cooker, so your kitchen can cook dinner for you
3. Tinted moisturizer or BB Cream so you don't have to wear for-real makeup if you don't want to/don't have time.
4. Ugg slippers. They're like little clouds for your feet, and you're not leaving the house for awhile anyway
5. A couch that you really, really love (I'm going to go ahead and recommend the Crate & Barrel 2-piece Lounge Sectional; it's literally my favorite thing in our entire house)
Five must have for every old mom like me
1. Eye cream stored in a drafty spot or in the refrigerator (the cooling effect helps wake you up)
2. Cute flats in nude or leopard (bonus points for toe cleavage; I think it's sexy)
3. Huge, amazing sunglasses, obviously - but this goes for any mom. Any human, really.
4. A Subaru Outback: you get to have an Old Person station wagon (a.k.a. a car that's practical and that will get your entire family where you need to go in one piece) that still looks sort of cool. (Sort of. Ours is kind of powdery blue, which isn't very cool, but maybe you can find a better color.)
5. What not to have: sparkly makeup. It's aging and no good in the sunlight, and it's not like you go out at night ever anyway (it's okay, brunch is fun, too).
Your five random favorite things of the week!
1. My daughter kicks when I watch The Walking Dead and eat Haagen Dasz Chocolate-Chocolate Chip ice cream, which makes me feel like we're already kindred spirits, and she's not even born yet.
2. Hatch's spring line ('60s-style minis and amazing pajama-y pants for mothers-to-be)
3. Oil pulling (I know, I'm so trendy. I had to try it and I like it a lot. Or at least I think I like it. It's very weird.)
4. Fedoras with feathers in them.
5. The OK To Wake alarm clock, which has officially secured me an extra forty-five minutes of sleep for five days in a row now.
You can preorder this lovely new book here, or follow Jordan on Twitter here, and she has a great Instagram here.
(All images: Jordan Reid)