I’m kicking off the interview segment of this Month of Mothers with one of my favorites…. A woman I’ve never met but with whom I feel I share such a bond. But that’s the thing with the Parenting®. Illustrated with Crappy Pictures™ blog. It’s so successful because it’s so relatable. Amber Dusick takes the sometimes mundane things we face as mothers (and fathers) each and every day and finds the charm in them. Whether it’s having to pick up “just one thing” at Target, living with toddlers, (and husbands), or, my personal favorite, what mothers really want for Mother’s Day, which is how I discovered Crappy Pictures this time last year, she reports these “events” we all face with humor, and just makes life more interesting. Oh yeah, and her “crappy” pictures are hilarious!
Amber has a book now that you really should buy: Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures (more about that below). You can (and really, you must) follow Amber’s hilarious blog, Parenting®. Illustrated with Crappy Pictures™. Click here to sign up. Here are some other ways to connect with Amber online:
Now let’s meet Amber!
1. Many of us with young kids spend a fair amount of time curled up in the fetal position in the corner, rocking, crying, drinking wine. Yet in this crazy time, you’ve managed to create what is quite possibly the funniest parenting blog that ever was. Can you tell us what inspired you to create Crappy Pictures instead of, say, pick up a meth habit? And how do you find the time for it?
Writing and drawing is slightly more healthy than meth. Or so I’m told. It all started as a way for me to vent about how frustrating and exhausting it was to be at home with two young children. So it was free therapy. I’d say about 95% of my writing (especially the book) was done after the kids went to sleep at night so I didn’t really find the time, I made the time.
2. Because I come from book publishing, when I started to become obsessed with your blog I thought, She should have a book! Clearly I wasn’t the only publishing person who thought that. Now you have this really great book that everyone should buy. (Everyone.) Can you tell us about how that happened? Was it your idea, or did an agent or publisher approach you? And what was that like?
After my blog audience grew, I was approached by agents and publishers which was incredible. So I got an agent, wrote a proposal and sent it off to publishers and crossed my fingers. Fortunately, there was interest. It is still hard to believe, I find the whole thing pretty shocking. I still feel like at any moment they’ll say, “Just kidding! We don’t really want to publish your book. That was just a joke.” Course I have the actual book in my house and have seen it on shelves in bookstores. So they probably can’t change their mind now.
3. Can you tell us about your background? Perhaps there was another career in there once, before the madness descended? (That is, if you remember any of it. I find if I think of my “past life” as a movie I saw once, that helps me remember things.)
I’ve always done a variety of stuff, it is boring for me to focus on one thing. The last time I worked for someone else was about ten years ago and I was a graphic designer in the music industry. I quit to launch a wedding crafts website which I had a lot of success with. I followed that by launching a baby crafts website when I was pregnant with my first. Those two sites were (and are still, actually) my bread and butter for the last several years. I also made natural wooden toys and ran a toy business out of my garage. I had to pretty much neglect all of those businesses when CrappyPictures got so popular. It completely took over all of my time.
4. Any big future plans for Crappy Pictures? I know I’m not alone when I say I can see it as a weekly TV series or full-length feature film. Which you could totally make on your own, judging from this video you created for your book trailer. (Please take a brief moment to leave this interview and watch this hilarious trailer. Just don’t forget to come back!)
I’d love to turn it into an animated show or movie. Fingers crossed that the right opportunity knocks to help make that happen.
5. If you weren’t Parenting, with Crappy Pictures, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be more well rested. I’d be doing what I was doing before this all started. Sewing, crafting, woodworking, running websites and ceramics. Gosh, all of this sounds pretty darn nice right about now… Uh oh.
BONUS QUESTION: Someone you love and trust, or, just someone, anyone at all, has offered to watch Crappy Baby and Crappy Boy for a week so you and Crappy Papa can go take a vacation together. (They may or may not feed that fish.) Where are you going? What are you doing? And how much longer than that week will you be staying?
This is going to sound lame, but I can’t imagine leaving them for a week. Two nights maybe. Not ready for a week. But if I WAS ready to leave for a week I’d love to go absolutely anywhere. My husband is going to New Orleans in a couple weeks and I’m terribly jealous of all the food he is going to eat there. Really, I’ll go anywhere to eat food. And nice weather is a bonus.
Of course you love being a parent. But sometimes, it just sucks. I know. I’m Amber Dusick and I started my blog Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures because I needed a place to vent about the funny (and frustrating) day-to-day things that happened to me as a parent. Turns out, poop is hilarious! At least when you’re not the one wiping it up.This book won’t make your frustrating moments any less crappy. But these stories about my Crappy Baby, Crappy Boy and my husband, Crappy Papa, will hopefully make you laugh. Because you’re not alone. And sometimes the crappiest moments make the best memories. Parenting is wonderful! And also, well, you know.
–Mayim Bialik, author of Beyond the Sling, actress Big Bang Theory