When you're first dreaming of becoming a parent, it's easy to envision your future kid-filled life as a dreamy, Instagram-perfect world of snuggles and love and happiness. But once you actually become one, it doesn't take long to realize that those moments are heavily balanced out by other ones that leave you unsure whether it's better to laugh or cry. UK-based blogger Katie Kirby, for one, opts for laughter, and much to the entertainment of parents everywhere, this mom's hilarious cartoons perfectly sum up what we're all thinking about parenthood, but were probably afraid to actually admit.
As Kirby explains in an exclusive interview with Us Weekly, her popular blog, Hurrah For Gin, is full of simple, Microsoft Paint-style cartoons that seem to nail what parenthood is really like a lot of the time, and her honest, self-deprecating style helps to remind stressed out moms and dads that, hey, you're not alone. In addition to her blog, she also has an active Facebook page, where more than 170,000 followers gather to comment on her latest offerings, commenting and commiserating with their own funny parenting stories. Unsurprisingly, her drawings are totally relatable: her most recent post illustrates the love-hate relationship pretty much all moms everywhere have with Pinterest, mostly thanks to the dreamy, DIY expectations that never seem to align with reality.
Kirby, a mom of two young boys, told Us Weekly that the idea for Hurrah For Gin came in 2013:
I was on the sofa after having a particularly trying day and just thought, ‘I know, I’ll start a blog and talk about all the real and funny sides of having kids.' I couldn’t find much like that online at the time. Everyone’s lives seemed to be so much easier than mine!
In her cartoons, Kirby makes light of all kinds of parenting situations, from Frozen-inspired early wakeup calls, to something she describes as "The Shitty Guilt Fairy," a mythical creature that hangs around just to make you feel terrible at all your parenting decisions (it's like she knows my life!).
Kirby tells Romper that, although she does get her share of critics as a result of her drawings — "Some people think you shouldn't talk about the downsides of bringing up young children," she explains — for the most part, parents seem to really appreciate the humor. And that's something that was a huge relief during her challenging days as a new mum:
I'm firmly of the belief that's it's better to laugh about the challenges or parenting than to let them bring you down. I started my blog thinking that I was part of a minority finding parenthood hard work but what transpired was that many other people felt exactly the same way but hadn't been able to say it.
I view my cartoons and blogs as very positive overall as they are helping to make people smile and feel less alone. Parenthood isn't all baking cookies and running through sunny fields.
Amen to that.
Fans of Kirby's comics are in for a treat this fall: in addition to her blog and Facebook page, Kirby will be releasing her first book, Hurrah For Gin: A Book For Perfectly Imperfect Parents Oct. 6. She also has a line of greeting cards available based on her comics, which can be found in her Etsy shop.
The next time you find yourself in a "is this really happening?" parenting moment? Chances are Kirby understands — and she probably has the comic to prove it.