Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn: Celebrating the Everyday Wins

By Elena Epstein

parenting

Moms Biz Ellis, center left, and Theresa Thorn, center right, authors of “You’re Doing a Great Job: 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting,” encourage parents to celebrate everyday accomplishments. PHOTO BY IBARIONEX PERELLO

Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn are good friends, co-hosts of the hilarious podcast “One Bad Mother” and authors of the newly published book, “You’re Doing a Great Job: 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting,” designed to cheer on parents from pregnancy through the toddler years. Instead of focusing on Pinterest-inspired birthday party décor and Instagram-worthy meals, Ellis and Thorn encourage parents to celebrate their hundreds of daily, at times mundane, accomplishments. The book is filled with positive and funny affirmations:

  • “You went out for milk and you came back afterwards. You could have used the opportunity to run away and start a new life! But you didn’t. You came back. Good job!”
  • “You didn’t accuse your partner of having it easy even though, from your perspective, they do! Good job.”

Before moving to L.A., Ellis was a stand-up comic, member of the nationally acclaimed sketch group MEAT and a corporate event planner in New York. Thorn, originally from Marin County, is the director of operations for Maximum Fun, Inc., the company that produces the NPR show “Bullseye” with her husband, Jesse. I recently chatted with Ellis and Thorn about keeping your sanity and sense of humor while podcasting, writing and raising kids.

Why start a podcast together?

Ellis: The two of us would walk-and-talk about how we were experiencing motherhood. I had an identity before becoming a mom and now I was feeling really uncool and wrestling with working or not working.

Thorn: Everything changes after you have a kid. Before I had my own kids, I was judgmental of other moms, but then I realized, Wow, I was a real jerk. One of my kids got in trouble recently at school and I was so worried about what other parents might be thinking about me. Judging leads to more judging, self-judging and fear of judgment. These are the issues we want to explore on the podcast.

Ellis: Why are there “mommy wars”? Working moms, stay-at-home moms, breast-feeding, not breast-feeding – we want to call bullsh*t on all that.

Why should moms celebrate the small wins?

Thorn: Because most of us spend our days wondering if we’re doing it right. We work so hard, but there is still a voice telling us, “You’re not doing a good job.” That’s such a waste of energy. We encourage moms to write down everything they did in a day instead of what didn’t get done. We all need to celebrate our small, everyday achievements – celebrate the greatest thing you achieved today.

Ellis: The message we get as moms is that we have to fix something or we have to make everything perfect. There has to be room for trial-and-error and forgiveness. We’re tired of constantly being told how to do something. When you screw up, you have got to move on and tell yourself, “I’m getting really good at this.”

How do you move away from the idea of perfection?

Thorn: You have to free yourself of shame and guilt and all that wasted energy of whether you’re doing it right and just enjoy being a parent. You are doing a good job!

Ellis: By knowing that you are not alone. Every mom at some point has fed a baby while sitting on the toilet.

Find the podcast at www.maximumfun.org.

 

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