Laugh off your parenting mishaps with Johanna Stein

Johanna Stein
Johanna Stein’s book, “How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane,” comes out May 1. Credit: Provided

No matter how hard you may try (or how hard you pretend to be), it’s just not possible to be a perfect parent all the time. Comedian/actress Johanna Stein invites you to pour yourself a glass of wine, stick your kid in front of the TV and embrace your less-than-best mommy moments with her new book, “How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane,” out May 1. We called Stein to get a preview of what we’re in for.

Do you remember your first parenting freakout?

When you’re pregnant, you feel the baby move around a lot. There was about a 10-minute period when I was poking the baby, which I liked to do to make it move around, and it just stopped moving. I started jumping on the bed trying to get the baby to move around, and I was crying my eyes out thinking there was something wrong with it. That was the first freakout, and they’ve been [happening steadily] ever since.

Who are your mom friends?

I lived in Los Angeles when my daughter was born, and my mom friends were other actors or writers. Now, my family and I live in Chicago, and they’re from a wider background. The good news is, they’re all equally neurotic. I thought I would move to Chicago and meet a group of really level-headed, common-sense moms, and I was really happy to find out that they are all like me.

Were you ever tempted to put on that perfect mom facade?

All the time! Every day I wake up feeling like I’m going to be the best mother in the history of mothering, and then half an hour later I’m subpar. So yes, I’m tempted to proclaim that I’m a perfect mom, which is why I’ll do something like trying to make a puppet out of a barf bag on an airplane and then have it blow up in my face.

Your daughter is 7 years old now. What is something that’s taken you surprise at this age?

How much smarter she is than me already. She is constantly asking me questions that I should know the answer to, things that I probably learned in second grade. I have to make sure my phone is always charged so I can fervently Google what she asks so she thinks I knew the answer. Why is the sky blue? How does electricity work? I don’t know. I have no idea. I should know, but I don’t.

How would you sum up parenthood in one sentence?

There’s a great saying, “Good enough is good enough.” Or how about this: striving for mediocrity. I strive for mediocrity. I aspire to mediocrity.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence



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