An Interview with Tosha Woronov, TNF Managing Editor, by The Next Family
TNF: How has it been blogging for TNF?
It’s so important to me. I love that I have this small collection of stories to mark my life as a mother. It goes by so fast as we all know, and anything I can do to memorialize it in some way gives me a shot at holding on to these times. I hope I can come around to start writing more. I’m either too lazy, or too blocked, or too something. Sometimes I have a hard time opening up. My warped thinking is, if I feel safe enough to share it then it must not be that interesting (and therefore not worth sharing). On the flip side, if it’s good – if I want to really rant or really open up about life as a mom/wife/woman, then it’s too risky to share. It’s a catch-22. And I’m impressed that so many of our writers can navigate this issue so much better than I. We have some who can write about normal stuff – dropping off her kid at preschool, or a son’s first zit – and the result is pure poetry.
But I have another special role with TNF that I really treasure: managing editor. I read and edit each and every piece before it goes live on the site. And I love love love editing. When Brandy, our editor-in-chief, first approached me three years ago about being a contributing writer, I was psyched, but said in no way could I work with a site that permitted grammar or spelling errors, from any of its writers. So voila! I was editor. And I’m proud of what we’ve done, and all the unique writers we have from so many interesting backgrounds. Their stories are all special to me.
TNF: How is your family like every other family and how is it different?
We are just like any other family (which is like every other family and also different from every other family). Except I’m quite certain we are wholly different from your typical evangelical Christian Tea-Party family.
TNF: Did your family accept you and your lifestyle? If yes, explain and if not explain what you have done to help them to accept your decisions and your lifestyle.
I hail from some pretty conservative, Republican parents. But I turned out to be a liberal who attended the People’s Republic of Boulder (as my dad refers to the University of Colorado at Boulder) and then married a liberal who works in entertainment. I think they’ve accepted it but will never love it, and we’ve had some problems with it in the past. It can trickle down to bigger things, like our differing views on parenting. But in the end, we are family, and we love each other very much, and as long as we don’t watch Sarah Palin being spoofed on SNL, we have a great time together.
TNF: How do you juggle the work at home with your jobs?
I can’t juggle, so I don’t try. It’s more like dodge ball. Stuff flies at me and I either catch it and execute, or it smacks me hard in the face and I sit on the floor blubbering. I work from home, which is great because I get to work and still be there full-time for our son. My paychecks are teeny but I get to wear pajamas all damn day. And sometimes I can blow off a project and watch Real Housewives. I don’t have to fake sick. (And I love sick days!) What’s rough is that moms – no matter what other outside work they do or don’t have – are always busy with the job of managing a house and family. And so I have a hard time separating the two. I’ll be in the middle of a project, go downstairs for a fresh cup of coffee, and get blindsided by the pile of dirty dishes. Or Real Housewives. But really, I don’t want it any other way. I make it to all of Leo’s sports practices, I host gazillions of play dates, get to be field trip chaperone, be room mom at school and a carnival chairperson, AND I have a job. Also, I get to be at work with our cat sitting on my lap and the dog snoring away on the daybed behind me. A dream!
TNF: What lessons do you feel are the most important to teach children in this day and age? Are there any lessons they, or perhaps we as parents should unlearn?
I feel that our generation of parents just worries too damn much. And look, I’m part of it! I’m talking about myself here. And this emphasis on careful parenting has been a good thing – it was necessary. But (and perhaps this is some remnant of conservative blood in my veins) sometimes I think we should all just calm down and let life happen to our kids – just a little bit. Maybe it’s time to sway the parenting to the other side, back to an older time. Let’s see how our kids handle life rather than rushing in so fast. I don’t think we even allow kids to feel their frustrations or fears – we are so quick to swoop in and fix and bandage and wipe tears and mediate and call the school and intervene. I heard someone once refer to the “helmet-free” parenting of the 70’s – when I grew up -and it stuck with me. I’m not talking about toughening kids up, but actually letting them think and feel and make mistakes. And jesus! – let them find their own ways to entertain themselves that don’t involve an app or a charger!
That was for the parents. For kids, oh man I wish more than anything we could just teach them that it’s OK. It’s OK to love, and it’s OK to fall down, and it’s OK to wear that color to school, and it’s OK that you still love stuffed animals, and it’s OK that she has two moms, and it’s OK if he likes boys, and it’s OK if they were adopted. It’s OK that you’re scared and it’s OK that you’re pissed off and it’s OK that you’re sad and don’t know what to do.
And it’s OK if your mom wears pajamas when she picks you up from school.
TNF: Any words of wisdom to pass on to our readers?
I’m the last person who should pass on any wisdom, but let’s see…
Let your kids cry it all out, while telling them it’s OK to cry it out. I stopped shush-ing Leo (I don’t even hand him a tissue anymore) because I believe that fully experiencing anything – even sadness – can bring joy. I think it’s helped him.
Please, people, know this: You REALLY CAN use the word “me” in a sentence! “I” only sounds better when it’s the appropriate usage. And it’s almost never appropriate to use “myself”.
Forgive your mother, as you’d want to be forgiven.
Read read read! And let your kids see you read! And get books from the library, or a bookstore, even Amazon – not ONLY loaded on your Kindle, Nook, or iPad.
Can we stop referring to everything as a “journey”? You’re having a baby; you’re getting married; you’ve written a novel. No journey! It’s only a journey if you’re wearing a khaki vest and a safari hat. And even then it’s only an expedition.
Don’t be the first to break a hug.
TNF: Anything you want our readers to know about you or your family?
We have 1,000 nicknames for our dog and cat. The cat: Dr. Kits (“paging Dr. Kits!”), Spotted Belly Boy, Apple Face, Long Cat Number 205. The dog: Fluffito, Cha-Chi-Cho-Cho, or Chimini-Chee-Cha, Gruffalo. Or Mr. Proud.
I stay up too late. Crazy late. Like 4am. My circadian rhythm is all screwed up. I’m beyond ashamed to admit it but now that it’s out there I feel better.