A look at an average day.
7:15 am Wake up. Realize that you can’t turn your head because there was a lump in your pillow; you’re 35, and your body hates you now. Brush your teeth and try to determine what level of swamp monster you look like today.
7:30 am Get the baby, who has peed through his diaper again and soaked his pajamas, sleep sack, and mattress. Rinse baby in shower, throw pee-soaked clothes in the wash, get baby dressed.
My first memory of For Better or For Worse involves a doll’s crib, wet hair, and semi-nudity (stay with me here). I’m about five years old, reading Lynn’s latest collection book while kneeling on the carpet with the book propped up on the doll’s crib. My hair is wet because I’ve just had a bath, I’m not wearing a shirt because ostensibly I’m dressing myself, and I’m kneeling because…well, kids are weird. I remember finding the book so overwhelmingly interesting that my desire to read it consumed me; who cared about shirts when I could read about a family that was just like mine? It turns out that my mother cared about shirts, because we were terribly late to the dinner party our friends were having.
A couple of months ago, I received a lovely letter from a young mom, telling me how similar her life was to Elly Patterson’s and how much she related to the strip. Sarah talked about her kids, the mess, her life and her dreams—and that everything was on hold now that parenting was her overwhelming new reality. I wrote back. I said “If nothing else, you are a wonderful writer—when you have time, maybe you should focus on that!”
Sarah returned my letter. She was indeed a writer and had planned a career as a playwright or a novelist, but with two little kids, there weren’t enough hours in the day. Her letter was great fun and worthy of another exchange. I asked for her email address. I told Sarah that we had been thinking about having a guest columnist create a weekly article on parenting for the FBorFW website and would she like to give it a try. She was more than happy to take a shot at it. What fun! A Zoom call revealed a young woman—so like Elly Patterson when I started the strip, it was uncanny.