As any parent-to-be can attest, there’s a bewildering amount of advice in today’s world in the form of books, magazines, and blogs, not to mention the suggestions of doctors and the usually unsolicited comments that come from friends, in-laws, and even random passersby. At first, the info seems helpful, but then you quickly realize that much of it is contradictory, yet almost all of it is delivered in direly serious tones.
Providing a much-needed antidote to such advice is mommy blogger Eden Kennedy (fussy.org), who, with New York City mommy-blogger Alice Bradley, coauthored the baby book parody Let’s Panic About Babies!, which was released on March 1. Subtitled “How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant Who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain, and Finally Turn You into a Worthwhile Human Being,” the 266-page irreverent howl is certain to become a fixture at baby showers, and just may save some overwhelmed mommies from going completely insane.
Kennedy recently spoke with me from her home in Carpinteria.
What inspired this book? My friend Alice and I were blogging for years separately about our own experiences raising young boys. We started talking about how annoying it was to read so many different books when we didn’t know what was going on. I, in particular, did not have a lot of family around me, and most of my friends were younger or didn’t have any kids, so I was really on my own. I turned to these books to tell me what the hell I was doing, but one book was telling me to sleep with my child, and the other was saying put them far away in a crib because my sleep was the most important. All the contradictions were a nightmare.
So Alice had the idea of doing a parody of a pregnancy book, where the doctors writing it go more and more insane as they write the book. With two authors, we could just make them argue throughout the book, like the way all the pregnancy manuals contradict each other. Once we hit on that, the book almost wrote itself, making fun of all the crazy and unwanted advice you get from people in the street once you’re pregnant or holding a baby in your arms.
Is it just supposed to be funny, or is there something more to it? We want it to be funny, but there is a little bit of an underlying mission. You need to step back a little bit and not get so wrapped up in all the advice that’s coming at you. … If you realize you don’t have to take it all 100 percent seriously, it’s great just to get that perspective.
So will this become the next baby shower staple? I think so. The dream is that people who don’t even necessarily have babies will still find it funny or find good reasons to say, “This is why I’m not doing it,” and have a broader appeal. But at the same time, we’ve heard from many people, “This is going to be my go-to baby shower gift.”