How do we make the transition from being “Mommy” to being “Mom”? We loved chatting about all the emotions that are part of parenting with Meredith Masony, founder of the parenting blog That’s Inappropriate and author of Ask Me What’s for Dinner One More Time.
Q: Tell me about the title of your book – Ask Me What’s for Dinner One More Time. Why are we in charge of dinner?
Masony: It is a repetitive question that our kids start asking at 8 am. I don’t know why they care so much. Not once have I put them to bed without something to eat. Maybe it’s a fear that I’m going to say something that they don’t like.
Q: What have you put out into the universe with benign intent that came back with more hate than you could have ever anticipated?
Masony: There have been a couple that were just crazy. My first viral video back in 2016 was about what moms want for Mother’s Day. I was honestly saying that what I wanted was to be left alone. I didn’t want to see my kids or interact with my family. I just wanted to drink champagne and binge Netflix. People said things like, “This mother hates her children” or “I wouldn’t want to be her husband.” But it was really polarizing because there were people who were screaming “Yes! Yes!” too. After 12 million views, I have to say that there were a lot of moms who wanted what I wanted.
A lot of my stuff is polarizing because I’m talking about topics that families deal with and sometimes don’t want to have conversations about because it’s uncomfortable. But I feel like we live most of our life in an uncomfortable space. It’s our choice whether or not we talk about it. I talk about it because it’s when you’re in the uncomfortable, that’s when you’re changing and growing.
Q: Do you have something you wrote that you were surprised how much it took off?
Masony: I wrote a letter to my son the day he was diagnosed on the spectrum that also went viral. It is my favorite thing I have ever written. People still read and respond to it. I get so many messages from other parents who say it’s helped them cope and deal with their own child in similar situation. I wrote that piece for me, but I wanted other people to know that It’s part of the journey and that it’s hard for us. It’s important to talk about it.
Q: How old are your kids?
Masony: One is going into 9th grade and middle schooler who is a 6th grade sass machine and one who is 9 going to be 10 next month.
Q: You have a lot of live videos. As your kids get older, are there times when they want to be less exposed?
Masony: You’ll see my family in live videos that is not scripted. I’ll ask them and there are times when my oldest son says no. His friends at school watch it and he doesn’t want to be in it. Now, are there times when I have bribed them? One time, he filmed a scene and then I offered him a nerf gun if he’d end the scene. I wanted to a video about his first date, and he said no. I really wanted it to be my own perspective of his first date, but he didn’t see my vision.
Q: You’ve had some tension with your in-laws.
Masony: We were estranged for a while. Our kids would see them, but I wasn’t in a good spot with my in-laws. When you’re blending families together, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to like each other and everything will be honky dory. Relationships are hard.
Q: Tell me about the word “love-shunned.”
Masony: No one prepares you for going from “Mommy” to “Mom.” When they’re little, they’re always grabbing for your hand or leg and grabbing from your attention. At one point, you are the center of the universe. I’ve been love-shunned by all my children, but when it happened with my oldest, it hurt. When he didn’t want to say “I love you” or give me a hug on his way out the door, it sucked. I realize that there is also an embarrassment factor and as long as I’m getting an “I love you” from him in some way, shape, or form, I’m okay, but it hurts.
I sat with it all day. When I picked him up, he got in the car. I had a logical conversation with him. “I had a bad day. I didn’t like the way I felt. I need to know that we’re good and I love you. And I need to hear it in some way before you go.” Now our thing is I tell them, “I love you. Make good choices,” and their response is “I love you, too.”
Q: When you speak to your audience, what do you hope they take away?
Masony: I understand the isolation in motherhood and I want them to know that it’s normal. There is a community out there for them. There is no roadmap, but we can all go on this journey together. The fighting and the phases are all part of this journey, and it’s supposed to be chaotic and hectic and uncomfortable and joyful all at the same time. It’s complicated. There are days when I’ve felt every feeling on the spectrum at the same time. But I want them to know they’re not alone in this. I think you can gain a lot of shame and depression and anxiety when you keep things to yourself. Sharing it and talking about it and remembering who you are is important.