So muses the book description for “I Just Want to Pee Alone,” an anthology of stories from mothers and bloggers across the U.S. that detail every hilarious aspect of parenting.
Of the 37 contributors, three are from Pennsylvania: Meredith Spidel and Bethany Meyer of the greater Philly area, and Stephanie Giese of Hallam, right here in York County.
Book Buzz: What can readers expect from “I Just Want to Pee Alone”? How did you get involved with the project?
Stephanie Giese: I was contacted by Jen, the blogger who runs the popular blog People I Want To Punch in the Throat. I had worked with her a few moths prior to help her promote her best-selling holiday book. Despite her blog’s intimidating name, she is a lovely woman and she was looking for a group of moms who were interested in putting together an anthology of funny parenting stories.
The book itself does contain some four-letter words (although not in my particular section) and some graphic descriptions. However, if you survived the delivery room, then it is nothing you can’t handle. I have seen it compared in several places to the movie Bridesmaids, but for moms.
We were thrilled to see that over the weekend it became the #1 best-seller on Amazon.com in the Parenting and Family Humor category and on Monday was the #1 best-seller on iTunes in the humor category. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
BB: How long have you been blogging? How did that begin? Do you focus solely on parenting?
SG: I started my blog, Binkies and Briefcases, in 2010 as a New Year’s resolution to be a better blogger. We had a small family blog before that, but we were horrible about updating it. I created my own online space, which proved to be a great outlet both creatively and socially. I made a lot of good friends online who turned into real-life friends. Blogging is sort of like Match.com, but for moms. It helps you connect with people who have similar interests and who are in the same stage of life. I try not to focus solely on parenting, but as a stay-at-home mom that is a huge part of my life right now, so it does creep into a lot of my writing.
BB: How have things changed since you had kids? Anything you catch yourself doing that you didn’t expect?
SG: When you become a mom everything changes. Everything. Most of it is for the better, but a lot of things also get more awkward. Everyday I hear myself saying something that I never expected I would need to say, like, “Your brother’s underwear is not a hat.” You also have to share a lot of your most private moments with other people, from the moment you have your first ultrasound (which is one of the funny stories in the book) until you find yourself dragging three kids and a stroller into the largest stall in a public restroom. That’s the exact reason that Jen chose the title for our book.
BB: Is the book split into sections or themes? Without giving it away, of course, what’s your part of “I Just Want to Pee Alone” about?
SG: Each of the moms who contributed has her own chapter to tell her story. Each story can stand on its own and can be read in about 5 minutes, which is nice for moms who might not have the time to sit down and read the entire book at once. My chapter is called “Potty Training and Prostate Exams” and is about how potty training our first child actually led to a trip to the emergency room. Surprisingly, I have heard several other moms tell very similar stories.
My favorite part of the book is actually the chapter by another Pennsylvania mom, Meredith Spidel. She is from the Philly area and blogs at Mom of the Year. I haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t read that chapter without crying for her loss and then literally laughing out loud. It is very reminiscent of Steel Magnolias.
BB: I saw you have a children’s book coming out in 2014. What’s that about? Do you enjoy writing for kids or for adults more?
SG: That’s right. I do currently have a contract for a children’s book to be released in 2014. Ever since I was a little girl, my dream has been to be the next Judy Blume. The book is about a little boy whose grandfather passes away and the comfort he gets from a story his grandmother tells him. On the surface the story is about cookies, but it is metaphor for life and loss.
Children’s stories are fun to write and allow for a great deal more creative freedom and imagination, but they are very difficult to publish and require more collaboration, which can be a stretch for writers because our words are deeply personal to us. Sometimes writers and illustrators have different creative visions for the book and the editor may have a third vision that is based in proven sales data. With any kind of book, the marketing is geared toward adults because they are the ones buying the product. I would have to say that I enjoy the actual writing for children more, but the promotion, marketing, and networking tend to come more easily to me when the material is for older audiences.
BB: Tell us about the giveaway you’re hosting on your blog this week.
SG: Many of the writers from I Just Want to Pee Alone are hosting giveaways on their blogs this week to promote the book. I am giving away a free paperback copy to a reader through my website, binkiesandbriefcases.com. I will be doing a drawing on Saturday [March 16, 2013] for the winner, but anyone who is looking for more instant gratification can get a paperback or Kindle copy through Amazon.com or download it on iTunes or through Smashwords.
Name: Stephanie Giese
Lives in: Hallam
Family: Husband, Eddie; and three kids, Nicholas, 6; Abigail, 3; and Penelope, 1
Occupation: Former teacher turned stay-at-home mom, now teaching part-time for Family Child Resources
Hobbies: Blogging, photography
Online: Binkies and Briefcases or stephaniegiese.com
To purchase: Amazon.com, iTunes, Smashwords.com, and coming soon to Barnes & Noble online for Nook readers.