People I Want To Punch In The Throat - We Have An Interview With The Notorious "Elf On The Shelf" Blogger!
Unless you were too busy over the holidays plotting the next move of your own Elf on the Shelf, you may have seen the hysterically funny December blog post, Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies. After falling off my seat as I was reading it, I decided to post it on my personal FB page. I had friends admitting that they laughed so hard they actually snorted some wine while reading it. Apparently my friends and I are not the only ones who fell for the blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat. In the past few weeks, the blog has become an overnight success.
Mind you, this blog isn’t a flash in the pan, built on one good post. To the contrary, once you visit People I Want to Punch in the Throat, you won’t know what you did without this daily dose of humor, disgust and damning commentary on almost any celebrity or deserving topic on the planet.
I was so taken with the blog’s witty commentary that I asked the author for an interview. I have to admit; I was a little scared of her reply. I half expected a big fat “NO! What I really want to do is punch people who ask for interviews in the throat!” Fortunately, I was wrong and the utterly charming and magnanimous Jen in fact agreed. So here you go. Everything you wanted to know about the “Elf On The Shelf” mommy!
DC Metro Mom: In less than a year your blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, has gained an insanely large following as noted through your Twitter following and Facebook “Likes”. As many in the blogosphere know, this is no easy task. What do you attribute the success of blog to?
Jen: Random luck and a big mouth. I write several times a week and so I had a lot of material already on the blog when my Elf on the Shelf post went viral last month. I did not plan for that to happen at all. If you had told me that was the post that would get me recognized, I would not have believed you. It took me by complete surprise. That was complete and total luck. The stars aligned for me. I have a big mouth, so I had written a lot already and when people flocked to the blog to read the Elf, they realized I had a lot more to say and many people ended up staying. The feedback I hear most is that I say out loud what many are thinking in their heads, but are afraid to say. Readers really relate to me. I just continue to write what I think and feel and I don't bullshit.
DC Metro Mom: Does your husband read your blog? Do you ever receive any pushback from your family and/or friends that you have gone too far with a blog?
Jen: My husband does read the blog. “The Hubs” actually enjoys it when I “punch” him. He is very supportive of my creative side and he's the one who encouraged me to start blogging – he thought it was cheaper than therapy. He's very involved behind the scenes with getting me on Twitter, Pinterest and finding advertisers, etc.
I have received pushback once or twice from friends and family. I'm not saying anything on the blog that they don't already know so it's not really a surprise to them. If you know me in real life, you know that the blog is very true to the way I am in person. That being said, some of them do not think it's very funny. They just choose not to read it and we just don't talk about it. I'm OK with that – it's not for everyone.
DC Metro Mom: What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of blogging?
Jen: I found an audience who gets me. A month ago I had 70 loyal readers. Yesterday, I had 11,000 readers – and that was a slow day. That's amazing to me. When I was in college I was a creative writing major and my advisor was a douche. He told me I'd never get paid to write. He really got to me with that one and I started to believe him. I feel vindicated now when literary agents are contacting me and telling me I could be a modern day Erma Bombeck. The best thing that could happen as a result of my blogging is that I publish a book, so I feel like the best is still to come.
DC Metro Mom: Have you ever been called out by anyone that you have written about? I was curious if Governor Brownback’s secret police ever caught up with you?
Jen: When the Elf post went viral I did get contacted by Danielle at Blossombunkhouse.com. She was actually really cool about it and she poked back at me on her blog.
Before that, I was such small potatoes I never even came up on anyone's radar.
Governor Brownback has never called me (or my husband). He's welcome to call anytime, I have a lot I'd love to talk to him about.
DC Metro Mom: What is your biggest gripe about motherhood?
Jen: Where do I begin?? I have a lot of gripes (read my blog), but the main one that comes up over and over and again is the pressure put on mothers by society (and ourselves) to be June Fucking Cleaver and raise our kids in a bubble of rainbows and unicorns. Every time I turn around I hear that I'm a terrible mother because I don't make organic, free-range meals from scratch each night. I let my kids take their lunches to school in plastic bags – or even worse, buy lunch. My carseats aren't safe enough. Everything in my house could choke them, poison them, or debilitate them – even though 6 months ago I was assured all this crap was safe. I need to be scrapbooking every memory no matter how big (5th birthday) or small (the 7 year old pooped again). On top of all this, I must keep my house immaculate, keep my husband satisfied in the boudoir and work out 2-3 hours a day. Enough already. This sort of bullshit is where my Elf on the Shelf post came from. There's a real movement out there to manufacture memories for your children and I just don't buy it. Every day is not a party and kids don't need it to be.
DC Metro Mom: What is your biggest joy about motherhood?
Jen: Bedtime. Just kidding! Being called “Mommy,” sticky kisses, warm hugs and belly laughs. Motherhood is a huge part of me and it brings me a lot of joy every day. I'm rarely introduced as “Jen,” instead I'm always “So and so's Mom” and I love that.
DC Metro Mom: If the financial incentives were there, would you leave your career in real estate to become a fulltime blogger?
Jen: YES!!!! I left the corporate world to sell real estate so I wouldn't have office politics and bosses anymore. I love selling real estate, BUT I love writing more and if the money is there, I would do it. (Don't worry my loyal and wonderful real estate clients – the Hubs will still be selling and you know I'll still get my two cents in.)
DC Metro Mom: Assuming that the blog is one way you let off steam, what are some other ways that you deal with work, kids, home, etc. and stay sane?
Jen: Believe it or not, I am crafty. (I am probably going to lose half of my following for coming out of the closet on that one.) I have a craft room in my house completely dedicated to my “art.”
Before I blogged I made hair accessories late into the night. I can do some serious steam-letting with a hot glue gun. I still enjoy crafting, but I've moved onto jewelry making and painting now. I got an easel for Christmas and I've been painting a lot lately.
It also helps tremendously that the Hubs is a real hands on dad and helps me carry a lot of the load, so I don't have as much steam to let off as some moms do.
DC Metro Mom: You mentioned that your original goal was a life as a stay at home mom with five kids, but finances and a love of shopping got in the way of that plan. What is your biggest guilty pleasure when shopping?
Jen: Adorable outfits for the Girl are my downfall. She's like my own American Girl doll that I can dress up. I also buy a lot of stuff for my craft room.
DC Metro Mom: You have an edgy East Coast vibe. What brought you to Kansas? How does life in Kansas differ from other areas of the country that have lived?
Jen: My “formative” years were on the East Coast. I lived there from ages 7-15. I moved to Kansas when I was in high school because of my father's job. I left after college and moved back to the East Coast and met the Hubs in New York City. We lived there for several years. Once we decided to get married and have kids, we knew we needed to be near grandparents and more square footage for less money so we moved back to Kansas.
Kansas – at least the part I live in (Johnson County) – is a well-kept secret. Now, I'm going to go “Realtor” on you. Johnson County is a nice suburb that boasts award-winning public schools, fine dining, upscale shopping, affordable housing and easy commutes to good jobs. The only bad part is that you have to tell people you live in Kansas.
The weirdest thing about Kansans is they NEVER honk their horns. They can sit through an entire light cycle with the guy ahead of them reading his email on his phone totally oblivious the light has turned green and they never honk their horns. It baffles me. Whereas in NYC, I learned to drive with one hand steering and the other hand for alternating between honking the horn and giving the finger.
DC Metro Mom: Beyond the fun digs you take at people in your blog, there is a serious side to some of your posts. It is clear to see your passion for women’s rights and the rights of all Americans that are protected under the U.S. Constitution. Just curious, would you ever get involved in a role as an online activist?
Jen: I doubt it. I do think as a woman it's important to protect my rights, but more importantly, the rights of my daughter, so I'll always have a lot of say on that topic. Because my children are bi-racial, I'll also always have a lot to say about that topic as well.
I don't think I'll ever be an “activist.” I will always make sure that my opinions are known and I won't ever be afraid to share them – no matter what the climate of the nation is at the time.
DC Metro Mom: Have you ever actually come close to punching someone in the throat? Was it by any chance another mom? ? (Hopefully not me after this interview)
Jen: Believe it or not, I have NEVER been in a physical altercation with anyone. I don't even think I could. The only way I could really ever physically assault someone would be if my children were in harm's way. I talk a good talk, but my bark is much worse than my bite.
DC Metro Mom: Many thanks to Jen!
Visit Jen’s blog today at People I Want to Punch in the Throat.
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