Amber Dusick: Drawn from Life

Amber Dusick: Drawn from Life

Parenting book cover Amber DusickPopular blogger Amber Dusick discusses her new illustrated motherhood manual Parenting, getting blurbed by a sitcom star, and her ideal kids-free weekend.


Zola: How long does it take you to do each drawing? Is their crappiness intentional?

Amber Dusick: It is embarrassing to admit but I’ve spent over an hour on a single drawing many times. Can’t you tell?

I really can’t draw any better than this using my pointing finger on the trackpad of my laptop. I’d hope my drawings would look less crappy if I drew with a pen or pencil but I can’t guarantee that.

Zola: For those out there who aren’t parents yet: What changed the most for you when you became a mom?

AD: Being able to pee without an audience.

Zola: In the book you mention “mommy guilt.” How is that different from “daddy guilt”?

AD: It isn’t different. I expect that we all have guilt surrounding “too much” or “too little” in various forms. And it is different for each family.

Zola: The book features a blurb from television actress Mayim Biyalk. How did that come about? Were you a Blossom fan growing up? Did you have any Joey Lawrence posters in your bedroom?

AD: Mayim is a mama friend of mine. I met her through mutual friends about three years ago. I do remember seeing Blossom growing up, though when I met Mayim for the first time I had no idea who she was. She was just a fellow mom with two boys who were the same ages as my boys. Our kids played together.

It wasn’t until later when my husband said, “You know who that is, right?” I’m terrible at recognizing famous people. Friends tease me that I have facial blindness, but only towards famous people. I once sold a couch to Drew Barrymore and I had no idea it was her until she handed me her credit card. Meanwhile, the other girl working at the store was tripping over chairs and basically couldn’t speak. I guess not recognizing people has its advantages.

Nope, no Joey Lawrence posters! At that point (early ’90s) I was into grunge music. I had 342 posters on my walls back then. Roughly.

Zola: You have two sons. What’s a story for each that you’ll end up retelling at their graduations and weddings—the moments that, at the time, were crappy but ultimately wound up being unbelievably special and/or hilarious?

AD: The road trip story from my book comes to mind for both of them. It was that horrible. I’ll tell that one after they have kids of their own.

Or perhaps the time my three-year-old introduced his little brother to the librarian very loudly, “That’s my baby brother. My Mama pushed him out of her vagina like a poop!”

However, I like to think that those graduation-and-wedding-worthy moments haven’t even happened yet. They are still young. So much more to look forward to.

Zola: What are your favorite books to read to your kids?

AD: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. They laugh every time, and I do voices for all the animals. The ending is “controversial” in the parenting community but it has brought up lots of great conversations about lying, animals, and violence with my kids. Plus, the artwork is rad.

Anything by Shel Silverstein. Those are always in constant rotation. Both the storybooks like The Missing Piece Meets the Big O but also the poetry collections like Where the Sidewalk Ends. Can’t get enough of them.

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel. It is impossible not to have fun reading that long name.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Doctor DeSoto, both by William Steig. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel, Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall…I could do this all day.

Zola: You have a whole weekend to yourself. What do you do with your time?

AD: I’d sleep in until at least 10:00 A.M.! After that, nothing else matters. Can’t really top that.

I wish I could say something interesting and mean it, like I’d throw pottery on the wheel in my garage. But there is so much baby junk piled onto it that it would be too much effort. I’d probably just lay around and do nothing. Then I’d feel guilty about laying around doing nothing so then I’d write and draw pictures for my blog. But that is okay because I love doing it.

This article originally appeared on Zola Books.