This summer, I was writing my fingers off trying to get my next book done on time when my PR team contacted me about flying out to Colorado Springs, spending the weekend with a bunch of moms, and taping a bunch of TV shows.
That sounded like so much crazy fun but I waited like 30 seconds before emailing back, you know, cuz I wanted to be cool about it. The awesome people at MomsEveryday had interviewed me about Women Are Scary via Skype back in the spring, and they joked later that it was my audition to get on the panel. Here’s my interview with them, In Which I Talk With My Hands a Lot.
So I started packing. I had a brief packing crisis when they emailed a list of ideas for what to wear and I looked in my closet and realized I had a choice of “ripped jeans” or “really ripped jeans.” I flipped through and found my lone grownup dress. I call her my Writing Dress, although I’ve never written in her. She shall henceforth be known as TV Dress. I dug black tights out of my sock drawer, shoved my Doc Martens on my feet, and headed for the airport.
As I sat down on the plane, I realized I was spending a weekend with a bunch of women I didn’t know talking off the cuff on camera about mom stuff. Holy crap. I reminded myself not to scare anybody and posted this online:
About to meet group of women. Quick review:
-lick women in the face
-front hug hard squeeze mammogram-style
-booty pats of any kind
-hug with minimal boob contact, no spinal realignment
It’s go time. #WomenAreScaryBook
When I found the producers and other panelists in the airport, I mostly behaved myself. Mostly.
Update on social awkwardness with group of TV moms:
Someone went in for a handshake at the airport and I full frontal hugged her. I kept starting to pet someone else’s hair on the car ride from the airport. I may have engaged in two booty pats with two different booties. Also, I put my head on someone’s shoulder. So it’s going well and I’m totally holding it together. On the upside, these broads seem totally into it and about as bad as I am. Yay for meeting new mom friends.#WomenAreScaryBook
When we piled into the car, I found out they’d attached a GoPro to the windshield to record our conversations and I immediately thought of all the swear words I shouldn’t say and told myself not to talk about my mom balls. Which of course made it harder. So the whole time we’re going, “Ooh, look at the pretty mountains,” inside I was thinking All the Words and Balls.
We checked into a fancy hotel and ate fancy food and then back in my fancy hotel I had this conversation with myself:
Normal Me: Ah! A whole room to myself with silence! I am such a grownup! I am such a freaking grownup! I am grownupping so hard right now!
Lobotomy Me: It’s too quiet. I miss Alex. I miss my kids. Maybe I should FaceTime them. I wonder if they’re still up.
Normal Me: What the heck is wrong with you? You are free. For this one weekend. No sleep. Till Brooklyn. Party like it’s 1999.
Lobotomy Me: I wonder if they went to the pool today. I wonder if they’re getting along. I wonder what they ate for dinner.
Normal Me: Pull it together, freak job. Of course they went to the pool, they aren’t getting along at all, and they ate pizza or Chick-fil-A, because DADDY.
Lobotomy Me: Sigh. Loneliness.
Normal Me: You are such a disappointment.
The next morning we went to the station and — I’m sorry. I can’t be cool about THAT. The station. We went to the station, and not the police one. The TV one. And it had a spaceship inside:
I wore my grownup dress and had makeup on and my hair about as good as it gets, since I don’t own hairspray. I asked my fellow TV people if I was all set and this happened:
Actual conversation from today’s TV shoot:
Them: You need more blush.
Me: I don’t own blush.
And then I was Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality with the other pageant contestants helping her. And also now I have cheekbones.
And let it be known that I went home and bought blush and have been blushing it up since. Thanks, MomsEveryday. You made me a woman.
There were seven panelists and five on each show, so we rotated in and out of segments and ended up taping 16 shows in one day. We’d be sitting in our chairs, then they’d say, “This next segment is about breastfeeding” or whatever and we’d have a few minutes to foam at the mouth about it. At the end of the day I had no idea what I said and take zero responsibility for any of my words. You’re welcome, world.
Now. Almost all these people were TV people except me and one or two others. I was the unskilled labor and this was my internal monologue during the shoot:
What do I do with my hands? I’m putting them in my lap. Wait. Everyone else’s are on the table. Okay. Yes, that feels better. Now they put their hands in their laps. Wait for a second so you’re subtle. Now put your hands in your lap. They went back to table, ohmigersh.
Okay that teleprompter thing looks easy. I’m a great reader. This’ll be cake. Okay it’s my turn to say the intro thingy. Here comes the teleprompter. Dammit. That was hard. What, was it on speed reader mode? Okay, I got it, I got it, lemme try again…dammit. One more time…dammit. Please don’t fire me.
After a crazy fun weekend of hilarity, we piled into the car to head back to the airport. The producers told me basically this: “We love having regular moms like you on, because people who work in TV know what to say and when to hold back, and you just say anything. Makes it fun.”
Oh. Good. Grief. It’s so true. Everything I’d blurted out on camera came rushing back to me like a montage from a teen coming-of-age flick. I started having slight panic attacks about my lack of filter on TV. Did I talk about skinny dipping?! Did I describe red vomit?!? Why would I do these things?!? I was wearing my grownup clothes. They were supposed to keep me in check. The grownup clothes failed me.
I got home in the middle of the night and as I slid into bed, I told Alex, “Um, I may have told the whole country about that time we went skinny dipping at the lake.” And once again, he proved that he’s the perfect man for me, because without missing a beat, he exclaimed, “That. Is. Awesome.”
So, next week check your local listings for MomsEveryday, a TV show all about motherhood, featuring a panel of awesome moms, and one crazy oversharing mom with brand new bangin’ cheekbones. And if you don’t have TV, you can watch episodes online.
I seriously love the producers on this show. They have such a heart for moms and are completely fun people. I asked them for some swag to give to you guys and they sent some fantastic stuff. So enter to win a MomsEveryday backpack that we’ve stuffed with fun things to make you smile, including a signed copy of my book, Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends, a MomsEveryday water bottle and mousepad notepad (a pad-pad, if you will) and a wipe-off board.