Dawn Meehan lives on the outskirts of Chicago with her six children, three girls and three boys,, where she practices her juggling skills daily. After Dawn auctioned a pack of Pokémon cards on eBay, she attracted the attention of nearly a hundred thousand readers in one day. Her blog, BecauseIsaidSo.com sky-rocketed to become one of the most popular mommy blogs on the net. In 2008, her blog was voted the Best Parenting Blog by the Blogger’s Choice Awards. It has been nominated for the Best Humor Blog, the Hottest Mommy Blogger, the Best Parenting Blog, and the Best Blog of All Time for the past three years. In 2009, her blog was nominated for the Funniest Blog by BlogLuxe, and Dawn was named one of the top thirty-five mommy bloggers by Babble. Her kids think the blog is just okay. She recently published a witty and funny portrayal of pregnancy "You'll Lose The Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth)" which has received rave reviews.
EMPOWERED MOMMIES (EM) Dawn, you have such a fascinating background having started out as a mommy blogger and creator of www.becauseisaidso.com and now a multiple award winner for your blog and published author. What motivated you to initially start blogging?
IDAWN MEEHAN (DM): I started my blog about three years ago. Money was tight and I realized I needed to go out and get a job. But I’m basically a lazy person, so I came up with the idea to stay home and start a blog. I naively thought I’d make buckets of money just writing a blog. Little did I know that you can’t really earn advertising money on a blog that only five people read each day. Shortly after I started my blog, I auctioned a pack of Pokemon cards on eBay. In the description, instead of writing about the cards, I wrote a funny story about grocery shopping with six kids and how they’d managed to sneak these cards into my shopping cart. The auction went viral. I received nearly ten-thousand emails from people asking me if I’d written anything else. I directed them to my blog which went from five hits a day to 94,000 overnight. And I continue to blog because I love sharing my parenting stories. I love, love, love it when I get an email from a frazzled mother thanking me because she was at the end of her rope and then she read a post that made her laugh and see her kids in a different light. That’s why I blog.
EM: Who was your role model for parenthood and what made you want to have a large family?
DM: Bill Cosby! Really, I just loved how he was a good parent, yet always maintained a sense of humor on The Cosby Show. As a little girl, I always wanted a big family, but I was hoping my mom would have more kids. I only planned on having two myself. (I’m not real mathy.)
EM: You recently wrote your second book, “You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about Pregnancy and Childbirth)” which is a wonderfully honest and witty portrayal of your experiences going through pregnancy six times! What do you hope moms will take away from your book?
DM: Honestly, I hope moms take away a much-needed laugh. There’s a lot of monotony in motherhood. Day after day, moms deal with the same things – the other parents who don’t know how to use the Kiss ‘N Drive, the homework we pretend to understand, the dinner we slaved over and no one wants to eat because it looks “icky”, and the laundry that seemingly multiplies overnight. And motherhood is a pretty thankless job. I mean, my kids have never thanked me for making them eat their broccoli. They’ve never told me that I did an awesome job cleaning the toilets.
I want to give moms a little escape and a laugh, and I think this book will do that because anyone who has given birth can relate to these stories.
EM: As a mom to six kids you undoubtedly have a lot of valuable knowledge and experience that we’re lucky to have you share with us through your blog, website and now your book. What’s your favorite parenting tip? What’s your least favorite (or worst parenting advice you ever received)?
DM: As cliché as it sounds, my favorite piece of advice is Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Well, it’s either that, or Mark Twain’s advice - "The most effective way to deal with teenagers is to place them in a wooden pickle barrel on their 13th birthday, nail the lid on the barrel, and feed them through a knot hole. When they turn 16, plug the knot hole."
The worst piece of advice I got was when my mother-in-law told me to rub whiskey on my teething baby’s gums to soothe him. I told her I was saving the whiskey for myself so I could deal with the incessant crying.
EM: What has surprised you most about parenting?
DM: That Barbies don’t flush very well, kids can outgrow a pair of jeans overnight, and blue food coloring turns a toddler’s poop neon green. Who knew?
EM: Women in particular often find themselves having to balance multiple roles including mom, wife, worker, etc. How do you manage to balance it all and recharge your batteries?
DM: I don’t. My six-year-old is making me a cloning device out of the toaster, a shoe lace, and some chapstick. I think that’ll help. Until then, I continue to juggle and drop balls on a regular basis. My secret is cutting myself some slack and remembering to not drop the same ball over and over again. Oh yeah, and make sure your priorities are in order. If you put the important things first, everything else just seems to fall into place.
EM: Earlier this year you shared with your readers in your blog that you’re going through a divorce. This is something that affects many families across the country. What is some advice you can give moms that may have to break similar news to their own children especially when the kids may be too young to understand?
DM: I’ve only been on my own with my kids for a year now, so I’m no expert, but I’ve done everything in my power to keep as much as I can the same. I don’t want my kids to have to deal with too many big changes at once. I don’t talk bad about their father in front of them and I try not to let my worries about money or other things touch them. I’ve stressed over and over again that the divorce is in no way their fault, and that I love them more than anything and that will never change. And then I show them those very things with my actions. I spend time with them. I talk with them every day. I go to their band concerts, football games, gymnastics practices, etc. I take them to therapy and I pray for their well- being.
EM: Thanks for your time Dawn! We really appreciate it.
DM: Thank you for having me Ivanna!