By Anthony Stoeckert
Sarah Showfety’s first child was just a few months old when it occurred to her that she should apologize to the baby. She was still adjusting to staying at home with an infant, and had one of those moments that she says would disqualify a mom from winning a Parent of the Year award.
”I remember I was nursing my baby and thinking, ‘I really can’t wait ‘til she’s done so I can have a glass of wine,’” Ms. Showfety says. “I laughed, and then I felt the need to apologize, and I thought, ‘Huh that’s an interesting idea. I wonder what else I have to apologize for.’”
She started keeping a list, apologizing for such offenses as letting her kid sink into a ball pit so that it would take extra time for her to get out; putting a red shirt on her kid, so that the baby looked like an employee at the store she was shopping in, and being so anxious to get to music class that she brought her baby there before the building was even open.
Ms. Showfety started a blog, dearbabyxo.com, and posted her apologies. Her project developed a following and now she has published a book, “Dear Baby: I’m Sorry Apologies for Life’s Little Parenting Fails” (Sourcebooks). The book presents Ms. Showfety’s apologies, accompanied by humorous pictures of babies.
As Mother’s Day approaches, Ms. Showfety, who lives in Plainsboro, takes a light look at imperfections all parents can relate to. She’ll host a book launch party and Moms Night Out, May 12, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at CrossFit Ex Novo Lounge in West Windsor. Admission is free, but registration at facebook.com/dearbabyxo/ is required.
”Laughter is the best medicine, and I wanted to make myself and other parents laugh,” Ms. Showfety says. “That was really the initial genesis of the idea, simply to promote laughter and to let moms and dads know there’s no such thing as perfect parenting, and we’re all going to make mistakes, and instead of feeling bad about our parenting mistakes, we should see the humor in them.”
While her goal was simply to make fellow moms laugh, she’s found her observations have helped parents realize it’s OK not to be perfect. And that chances are, those parents we think are perfect aren’t.
”As it’s grown over the past three years, I’ve realized it does provide some value for people in sort of normalizing parenting mistakes, and giving them some sort of release from the stress of the day, and letting them know they’re not alone,” Ms. Showfety says. “They’re not the only person who has thought a certain thought or gone out with a diaper bag, but forgot the diapers. I think the message is to be gentle with yourself when possible and, as much as possible, to just see the humor. If we don’t laugh, we cry.”
Ms. Showfety and her husband Kurt Shuman who runs CrossFit Ex Novo, have a daughter who is 3, and an 11-month-old son. As her daughter gets older, Ms. Showfety has started posting Dear Toddler notes, along with Dear Baby thoughts. And while her online community is interactive, with other moms sharing their own “Dear Baby” apologies, the ones that made her book are Ms. Showfety’s own observations.
”There are lot of funny things that happen when kids start talking and having their own thoughts and opinions, so there’s a lot of Dear Toddler and ongoing Dear Baby apologies,” she says. “I’d love to create more books along the way of a life cycle of a person. There’s humor in all of it.”
Love means saying you’re sorry, a lot: A local author takes a humorous look at motherhood with her newest book
By Anthony Stoeckert