Ever feel totally overwhelmed when it comes to your parenting game? Yeah, us, too. Fortunately, two moms, Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler, have come to the rescue with a book that explains real life parenting situations in a way that will have you laughing out loud. So put down the stuffy parenting manuals that make you feel inadequate and pick up " Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations" instead. We spoke to author Norine Dworkin-McDaniel to find out how the book came to be and her best tips for understanding the "Science of Parenthood."
How did "Science of Parenthood" come to be?
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel: I’d been a freelance magazine writer for nearly 15 years, covering all aspects of women’s and children’s health, and I was really ready to do something different, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. Then one day, my son, then 7, came home from school, talking about Newton’s Laws of Force and Motion. As he chattered on about how “an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an external force,” it hit me that that sounds exactly like him and video games.
So I quickly jotted down, Newton’s First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest … until you need your iPad back and I posted that on Facebook. It got a good giggle. The next day I posted, Sleep Geometry Theorem: A child will always sleep perpendicular to any adult in the bed next to him. That got a laugh from Facebook too.
Soon I’d amassed a bunch of these science-y observations. It was fun to think about math and science concepts and how they might be twisted around to “explain” all those situations that really flummox us parents. Then I began to think about gathering them together into a book.
I’d just finished reading Justin Halperin’s " Sh*t My Dad Says" and knew he’d tweeted his way to a book deal. I wondered if I could do the same via Facebook.
But I knew my jokes would go farther if there were images to go with them. So that’s when I reached out to my friend, the illustrator Jessica Ziegler, to ask if she’d like to partner on a book. She thought it had potential to be much bigger than a single book. And within about 15 minutes, she’d secured our URL, Facebook page and Twitter account as Science of Parenthood. She went to work illustrating the “observations” I’d stockpiled.
Two weeks later we debuted on Facebook. A week later we unveiled the blog. And boom! We were in business.
Why science? Can parents who aren't scientific minded still understand?
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel: Science is the perfect metaphor for parenting. Scientists are always bumbling around, looking for answers, uncertain if what they’re doing is right, experimenting with this and that, discovering things by accident, and being ridiculed by their peers who are certain they’re doing everything wrong. If that’s not parenthood, I don’t know what is!
Science and math is just the lens we filter our humor through. Because we’re poking fun at universal parenting experiences, the book is very relatable even if you don’t know a beaker from a bunsen burner.
What are some of your favorite parenthood theories?
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel: About 90 percent of our book is brand new material. We included very few cartoons from our blog because we wanted to give our audience something new. (Plus, why pay for what you can see online for free, right?) But these three cartoons, our earliest, actually, are so relatable, they always get a laugh.
What can parents expect from your book, "Science of Parenthood"?
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel: Well, if we’ve done our job right, we hope that parents will laugh like crazy and then buy books for all their parent friends! Mother’s Day is coming up. (hint, hint)
You've been traveling with your book tour. How is your family adjusting? What have you learned through this?
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel: You know, that’s a great question. I would not be able to travel to promote " Science of Parenthood" were it not for my husband handling everything at home, from making lunch and doing school drop-off/pick-up to arranging play dates. I’ve heard many moms and mom bloggers who complain that their husbands resent their writing or resent the time they write or attend conferences to be better writers and bloggers as time away from tending home and hearth. And that makes me sad on the one hand, but also incredibly grateful on the other, that my husband is such a hands-on dad and supportive husband that I can take the time to do what I need to to promote and sell our book. It’s a real gift, and I appreciate him enormously.
What is your number one tip for parents?
Norine Dworkin-McDaniel: Probably for parents not to be so hard on themselves and cut themselves some slack. Unless you’re beating your kids on the regular and feeding them periodically, you’re probably doing fine as a parent, though your kids won’t appreciate how good you are until they have kids of their own. My mom was and is amazing. Though I didn’t realize just how much I learned from her until I had my own son to raise.
Where can we buy "Science of Parenthood"?
Reading "Science of Parenthood" feels like you're hanging out with hysterical girlfriends who really get your life. Caution: you might laugh so hard you spit out your wine