A global pandemic. Economic turmoil. Political unrest. For almost a year, the stressful headlines have been as unrelenting as a three-year-old in search of a snack — and many of us are trying to balance both at the same time!
Through it all, Ashley Hearon-Smith and Keri Setaro of Momtourage have kept a sense of humor. The hosts of a weekly podcast that tackles parenting topics with a healthy dose of laughter, sarcasm, pop culture and swearing, Keri and Ash are experts at finding the humor in just about any situation. What’s their secret?
We asked the moms of Momtourage to let us in on their secrets: How do you keep your sense of humor as a parent in 2021?
Ruggish: The past year has been... a lot... for all of us. It seems like, through it all, the two of you have kept your sense of humor. How has laughter helped you cope with the roller coaster of 2020/21? How does being able to laugh at it all help you be better parents?
Ash: There’s no denying what an absolute mess this year has been, but I think Keri and I both try to find joy in most situations. There have been so many tears and so many anxiety attacks, and the only thing that keeps me from complete breakdown is to find some levity in all of this.
Keri: I mean honestly this show has saved me. It saved me when we were with Scary Mommy Speaks getting me through my difficult postpartum and it has saved me in this dumpster fire that is 2020 and the beginning of 2021. I think it is a testament to two things: the power of a good strong best friendship and also the power of community, sharing and expressing your feelings. Humor helps all things. ALL THINGS. Parenting while having the scope of humor is really the way to be:)
There's a thin line between dry/dark humor and negativity, and you walk it so well! How do you know where the line is? Are there things you just can't laugh about?
Keri: Ha! I feel like I come very close to crossing the line all the time. I am a crossing the line kind of gal. I guess for me, my whole life has been finding humor in chaos and difficulty and so I can never get too negative. One of the best things about our podcast and show is that there are two of us. We luckily have never been down or low at the same time. If this was a solo sailing ship we would be screwed. Also, being a parent helps. Kids help bring you out of the negativity. I mean, they sometimes bring you into it, but they are really so much better at bringing you out of it.
Ash: Honestly, are you sure we don’t cross the line? Because I question us all the time… I think there have been a number of things that have come about in this last year that are pretty impossible to laugh about, but when we find those things, Keri and I both try to solve the issue to the best of our abilities. In those times we do our best to find ways to help bring about change, and encourage others to do the same, because what else is there to do?
You make listeners laugh, but both on the podcast and on Instagram, you don't shy away from addressing serious topics like the pandemic, infertility, and social justice. Do you ever feel pressure to stick to light topics? Why is it important to you to address the serious along with the lighthearted? Do you feel like there has been a change in the last year in how mom-focused content creators have approached weightier subjects that previously might have felt off-limits?
Keri: One of the things that was very important to us when starting our own podcast was to have it mean something. To not just have fluff but to tackle some topics that are difficult or tricky. We have this platform, and yes, we laugh and like to shoot the s--t, but we also want to give voice to things that mean something to us and have subjects that are hard to talk about become accessible and easier to talk about. I have always been someone that CAN talk about hard things easily, and so I think it’s one of my life’s purposes to bridge that conversation for others.
Ash: Motherhood, by nature, is all encompassing. It’s messy, light, trying, scary, tender, etc. One of our biggest priorities with Momtourage is to talk about motherhood in the most honest way, and that means talking about it all. We work hard to really create a safeplace for all moms, and that means seeing every mom!
The pandemic has been hard on parents no matter their circumstances, and each news cycle seems to bring more stress. What advice can you share for coping? How can we find things to smile about when times are dark?
Keri: 1. Find a friend you can be 100% yourself with NO JUDGEMENTS. 2. Give yourself some slack. THESE ARE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES. The rules are different now. 3. Sleep 4. GET A THERAPIST.
Ash: 5. Tequila.