Eden Kennedy and Alice Bradley have both been mommybloggers since before the term existed. The two co-founded the hilarious Let’s Panic About Babies! in 2008, and have been mocking fear-based baby culture ever since. Their book, LET’S PANIC ABOUT BABIES!, will be published by St. Martin’s Press on March 1st, 2011. In the meantime, I digitally cornered Eden and Alice to pester them about their website, their fears, and the best remedy for panic.
Ariel: What inspired the founding of Let’s Panic?
Alice: I emerged from my son’s gestation and early childhood feeling like I had come out of a psychosis brought on by listening to too many parenting experts. Once I had stopped hyperventilating, it occurred to me that someone needed to make fun of these guys. And I knew the best person to help me with that was Eden.
Eden: Alice came to me with an idea for a pregnancy guide by two doctors who disagreed with each other and fought all the way through the book. I loved the idea, but as we started to work on it we had to let it evolve into something a little different, and make the two voices come together as one, so that readers could alternately laugh and be horrified by what we – and by extension, all parenting “experts” — were saying.
What causes you personally the most panic in your parenting?
Eden: The fact that I might die before my son Jackson gets old.
Alice: The fact that I might die before Eden. You know she’ll use my eulogy to exact her revenge.
Eden: It’s true, I will.
Why do you think people are so panicked about babies?
Eden: I think the sleep-deprivation plays a key role in that.
Alice: Reading incredibly specific advice about how exactly you have to raise your baby, minute by minute, while being sleep deprived, doesn’t help.
Eden: Judgmental in-laws also help make you feel as though everything you’re doing is wrong.
What’s the best remedy for panic?
Eden: Sleep. Food. Life-affirming melodies. The affection of a loved one. Deep breathing.
Alice: When you panic, you lose your perspective, and your sense of humor. So if you can laugh at where you are, you’re going to keep panic in check. May I recommend a certain website and forthcoming book, for that?
Eden: Hint: it’s not Web M.D.
Why do you think there’s so much fear mongering around babies? Do we like to make each other panic?
Eden: People are judgmental f*cks, sometimes. When we don’t know how to help, we judge. It’s a stress reaction. If we were all more loved and had better-paying jobs, we’d be nicer to each other.
Alice: Babies are noted fear-mongerers. Oh, wait, that’s not what you meant.
Seriously, there’s a lot of money to be made, if we’re all scared as hell that we’re not doing something right.
Eden: I’m not. I do everything right.
Do you think there’s an industry that’s built up around feeding the panic to sell more crap?
Eden: Absolutely, yes. Why else would someone try to sell your baby a helmet?
Alice: Because your baby is a BASE jumper, obviously.
Crib bumpers: baby-killing agents of Satan, or adorable softness?
Eden: Well, they didn’t kill MY baby . . .
Alice: Not for lack of trying, they didn’t. Fortunately I had my crib bumpers consecrated with holy water. Otherwise I don’t recommend them.
Tell me about the book!
Eden: It’s really funny! And if you don’t buy it, something awful will happen.
Alice: It was the most fun I’ve ever had working that hard. No matter what I say behind her back, Eden is the best writing partner a girl could ask for, and writing this with her will, I suspect, remain one of the highlights of my life.
Eden: Well, I do try to be agreeable, and fortunately Alice and I agree on most things. We like the same snack foods, which is terribly important when you’re writing together, even 3,000 miles apart. Also, Alice is just inspirationally funny, and we compensate well for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.