Interview with Mommy Blogger and Author, Ilana Wiles

Ilana Wiles is the creator of the successful parenting blog, Mommy Shorts. She recently wrote The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting.

Here we talk about her new book and what it means to be an “average parent.”

What is an average parent? I think everyone is an average parent. And the reason I say remarkably average parenting, in my book, is because I think it should be an aspirational thing. The people who are striving to be a perfect parent or to do everything correctly are never going to get there. So once you accept there is no one correct way to do things, I think we can all feel much better about the parenting job we’re doing, which ultimately is much better for ourselves and our children. I think everybody is having the same experience, no matter what kind of parent you are. There are helicopter parents, attachment parents, free-range parents, and they all have children who are developing and going through the same things. They have tantrums, they need to be potty trained, they have accidents, they’re tough on a long road trip. 

Where does the pressure of being a perfect parent come from? I think a lot of it is due to social media. Even on Instagram, everybody posts these beautiful pictures of motherhood, and everybody is putting up their highlight reel and the reality is you’re taking, like, 50 pictures of your kids not being able to stand still and then the one where they’re both smiling is the one you’re posting. Which is totally normal and fine, but as we’re looking through our feeds and we’re seeing all these pictures of kids in these perfect scenarios and smiling, you make your own assumptions about what the rest of that person’s life or day looks like and you forget that you’re only seeing a very small piece of it. We can’t look at what people are posting on social media and think that represents real life, because people are posting the best versions of their life. It’s very healthy to talk about the realities of parenting so we don’t think that we’re alone in this and we’re the only ones who can’t get our kids to stand still for a picture.

How do you incorporate humor into your everyday life? I think my kids are hilarious, and I think a lot of how you enjoy parenthood is using your pain as entertainment. If everything went according to plan, you wouldn’t have any good stories to tell. If you go on the plane and everything goes smoothly, that’s wonderful. If you go on the plane and everything goes awry, you have a really good story to tell.

How do you determine how much to share on social media? I never want my kids to be embarrassed about anything I’m putting out there about them. I’m very cognizant of how things might make them look or if something is too personal. At the moment, I still feel like I’m able to talk about the struggles of parenthood or some of the things I’m dealing with and I feel like it’s all universal. So I have to figure out how to walk a line with being honest but not saying anything that might upset them or might be too personal.