That’s Mrs. Kennedy to You
by Paige Orloff If you spot a T-shirt emblazoned “Writing Well Is the Best Revenge,” chances are the wearer knows Mrs. Kennedy. Or feels they do. Eden Marriott Kennedy, 42, is best known to thousands of readers as Mrs. Kennedy, or simply, “Fussy.” Her Web site, fussy.org, offers candid observations of her family’s life in Carpinteria. The name, she said, comes from her state of mind. “I’m sort of perpetually disgruntled, which is pointless because my life is just fine, my family’s healthy, we’re all above ground. But still. Some things are just never quite right.” The humor she mines from the things that are not quite right has made her a star among the “mommy bloggers,” a label which, she wrote in her blog, “still makes my salivary glands shrivel up as though I’d just eaten a raw lemon every time it’s applied to me.”
Kennedy kept a journal for years until a nosey ex-boyfriend read it; the betrayal was painful. But, she said, “Somehow, when I discovered that people blog, it just made sense to invite people to read.” For Kennedy, who’d also written for years as a poet and journalist, blogging became a way to keep writing after losing a job at “a dopey new-age magazine.” The blog helped her forge an identity in a culture that, she believes, too often dismisses moms. “People think, diapers and suburban life — who cares? Well, yeah, but a lot of us are living that life, and … we have brains.”
Visitors are invited to read the story of her son’s home birth, sympathize with the travails of her bulldog (who’s recovering nicely from an unfortunate series of accidents), and view pictures — everything from her husband’s adolescence to Kennedy’s ongoing struggles with her hair — all filtered through her acerbic lens. She wants to make her life compelling even to non-moms. “When I got shoved into the mommy blog ghetto,” she said, “I thought, my goal is that the stories will be good enough that if you’re a single guy in a cubicle in Milwaukee, you’ll still want to read.”
Kennedy’s quotidian observations have turned her into a celebrity of sorts. She was even recognized by a stranger biking on Cabrillo Boulevard. “She did a U-turn — she was like ‘Oh my God, you’re Mrs. Kennedy!’ like it was a celebrity sighting!” she laughed. But she knows she has achieved a certain fame. She’s written for commercial Web sites targeting moms, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming “BlogHer” conference in San Jose, and has sold 500 “Writing Well” T-shirts.
With so much of her life laid bare, why the formal moniker “Mrs. Kennedy”? When she started visiting blogs, she says, “It seemed like everybody was in their twenties. I was 37, and I thought, I don’t want to pretend that I’m something I’m not. And so, ‘Mrs. Kennedy’ was kind of a way of trying to embrace being a grown-up.”