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Ask AB: The Personal Stuff

An important part of this balanced breakfast.

A while back, I asked y'all to comment on a post and ask me any question you wanted. I got a ton of responses, and I'm hoarding many of them for later use. But I thought it might be fun to answer some of the personal ones today, for your enjoyment and edification. Ready? Go:

How old are you? Eeeeep! Don't be mad at me for asking. I'm just dying to know!

I ain't mad. And I feel like I have mentioned this before a bunch of times? Maybe not. I turned 37 in November. My mother introduces me to people as “almost 40,” which is weird and so, so wrong. STOP IT MOM. Anyway, I was born on November 25 and share my birthday with JFK, Jr. (RIP) and Christina Applegate. Trivia!

How did you manage to become a successful blogger and Internet Famous after the challenges of pre-teen motherhood?

I became a successful internet writer by impressing Sarah Bunting with an unsolicited writing sample. I had already been blogging for a year or so, but TWoP was my first actual paying internet writing job. Which led to my stint in television writing in 2007, a thing that gave me the courage to do all manner of dumb things (quit my job, quit my job again, become a full-time blogger/decorator/camp director) But really, a lot of it was just work + luck + an appalling lack of good sense. I also have a great network of friends and family whose support allowed me to quit my job and take this leap.

As for doing this all after pre-teen motherhood, many of you know that I was just in my second year of college when Mad was born. So, you know, after her pre-teen years I was still in my early thirties -- plenty of time to work on successful blogging and internet fame.

If you can't answer all [of my] questions, I would appreciate you answering this one. My husband and I have one awesome 3 1/2 year old son who has high functioning autism. He is the cutest smartest little guy I know! I'm 38 and thinking about whether or not we want to have another child, so here goes my question(s):

Did you make a conscious choice to have one child?

Well, it was sort of decided for us : Vince and I experienced secondary infertility and weren’t able to have another child. It was very painful, of course, but each consecutive year has been easier, and has revealed a larger light at the end of that particular tunnel. And we are so grateful that this particular girl is the one we get to share our lives with.


What are the pros and cons for you having one child?

There are no cons, in my mind, but that may be a function of Madeleine’s personality. She likes being an only child. She likes that our house is always quiet. She likes that she has two rooms to herself in which to watch TV and read and play her weird XBoxes.

Also, I sort of like that we did all the hard parent stuff in our 20s. Our friends are having babies right now, and we are helping Madeleine fill out college applications. That shit is AWESOME. I can’t wait to send her care packages next year, for her to come home from school so I can wash her laundry, to get frantic texts for twenty dollars TO EAT OMG PLS. Bonus: I never have to attend another Christmas singing program.

Will you help your daughter decorate her dorm when she heads off to college?

Hells yes. She really has no choice in the matter.

What does your perfect day look like?

Coffee, SportsCenter, shrimp po-boys, Bloody Marys, hours of television, dinner out, good wine, lots of dancing. At the beach. With my dog. And books.

What other artistic or intellectual interests do you have beside interiors?

I love photography of all kinds, I love writing, and I also love the graphic design aspect of blogging. But really, I have many outside interests, and they change on a daily basis, so ask me again tomorrow and I will tell you something different. Also: Competitive ping-pong.

Will you answer a yes or no question?


How did you know when to take the leap and leave your day job? Were there doubts? 

I didn’t know when to take the leap; I just did it one day. See above, re: no regard for self-preservation or common sense. I discussed it with my family, of course, but it wasn’t a long-term planned thing. I definitely had doubts, such as my concern that we would all end up in a beautifully decorated cardboard box, but my very wise friend Eliza said to me one day, “Here’s your new motto, AB: Leap and the net will appear.” And it did.

Why do you hate eggs?

Because they are super gross. I can offer no other explanation.

What is your favorite joke?

Q: How does Snoop Dogg keep his clothes so white?

A: Blee-atch!

Aaaaaaand, scene. I hope you have all enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and into my mind. And I hope you all have amazing weekends. Please don’t eat any eggs.

Reader Comments (16)

Love this! That is now my new favorite joke. Happy Friday!
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa
Wow...loved getting a peek into the mind of AB! Thank you so much for sharing. :)
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarnie
You answered my question! Awesome (and thanks!).
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkat
secondary (and primary for that matter) infertility blows. We're in the thick of it now and I often wonder, what if we just stopped all this fussing and focused on our one? emotions and feelings indeed...
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
I have an inexplicable love for you, especially after this post. Also, you are only a year older than me and I want you to be a lot older! I mean, I have a 2 year old!!!
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJams
Are you still taking questions? I need someone to tell me what shoes to wear and how to do my hair so I don't look like an idiot in the super-cute cocktail-length vintage-inspired wedding dress that I purchased over the internet without ever seeing in person.
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJR
Loved this!!
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynne
Thanks for sharing about the secondary infertility. I am slowly writing about it myself, and it does get better. I just wrote this piece during a day of missing the idea, but yes, it gets easier: http://inmadison.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/phantom-pain/
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarlena
Aw, thanks for sharing, AB. Our luck with the baby draw has been terrible. Yay for sharing your life with Madeleine!
January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia Wig
If you help Madeleine decorate her dorm, I hope you share the results here! As someone who recently-ish graduated, I would love to see the magic you perform!
January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Thanks for talking about Madeleine's only child status. My husband and I have been going back and forth about having another. Honestly though, hearing that there are only children who are happy being only children (and right now, my 4 year-old is one of those) helps me feel better about thinking we're one and done. I'm also not looking forward to starting over again with the baby stuff in my mid-thirties.
January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBubbles
Being a young mom (at 25) was pretty rad. Its so amazing that I am now 43 and gonna drop my little monkey-butt off at college next fall. I think it was tough to be the only one of my friends with a kid, but in some ways my young stupidity made the whole thing a lot less stressful. No internet advice sites, no attachment parenting or sleep training.
I really really dig that I get to have this next chapter with my amazing husband while we are still fairly young. We too had secondary infertility, but I feel lucky that I get to have such an awesome relationship with my kid.

So I guess what I would say is that this road has been pretty great and I am glad to see that you dig it too.
January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJake
I remember the Science Baby . . . stickers? decals? although I just realized mine never arrived. Hah! And TWoP basically gave me all the great people on the internet.
January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeg
Thank you for answering my question! I appreciate hearing others' insight about having on child. I am sorry that you went through infertility but in the end, you have a wonderful relationship with an awesome daughter.
January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngeerah
your story is so inspiring! i also had my daughter (who is turning 7 in one week) in my second year of college. i'm FINALLY graduating this spring, and it's just nice to know that things can turn out amazingly in life despite a few bumps in the road. i love that you followed your passion and will keep that in mind as i try to do the same. keep up the amazing work. i enjoy visiting your blog! great pics, awesome design, witty writing!
January 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertiffany y
Love this! If you're taking more personal questions, here's one: how did you and Vince meet?
January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarina

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