Interview: Raquel D'Apice
Pregnancy, Birth, Motherhood
Raquel D’Apice is the author of Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming and her blog, The Ugly Volvo, where she writes articles like, “Why I Wore a Gorilla Costume to What Was Supposed to be a Traditional Mother/Child Photoshoot.” The writer and stand-up comic lives in Jersey City, but she speaks to her followers everywhere with her humorous take on parenting. BanterGirl was so happy to talk with the hilarious Raquel about having a second child, her goals for 2017, and how her family influences her comedy.
How long have you been in stand-up. How did you get started?
I had wanted to do stand-up since I got the Comedy Central channel as a teenager in the mid 90s and watched literally nothing but stand-up comedy shows. I didn't get up the nerve until 2004. I took a class and then started doing open mics every week. I think that’s the way a lot of people start.
You've just given birth to your second child. How has that changed the dynamic of your household?
It obviously makes it harder to get anything done, but the things that have changed will change again. So, it's not a set dynamic. It's not that I went from having one kid to having two kids, it's that I went from having one three-year-old to a three-year-old and a newborn. And, next year I'll have a four-year-old and a one-year-old. Then, a five-year-old and a two-year-old. And, someday, a thirteen-year-old and a ten-year-old. Each one is crazy, but each one is a very specific type of crazy. Your situation changes constantly because kids change so quickly. Which, in a way, is good for comedy because you're always in new situations. But, it is maybe bad for comedy, too, because you're also fucking exhausted and constantly want to run away to Alaska.
Has becoming a mother of two changed your sense of humor at all?
I don't think so? They give me something to write about, but I tend to write about it the same way I used to write about other things. They've obviously changed me as a person a lot, but not my sense of humor hasn’t changed that much.
Your blog, The Ugly Volvo, has a comedic view on motherhood. Do you feel a connection to the "mommy blog" community?
Maybe the funny ones? I enjoy people who have a good sense of humor and joke about it well the same way I enjoy a good joke about anything. In general, I'm not a big blog reader, so I'm not familiar with as much of the genre as I should be, maybe. I think if I read blogs I would literally have no time to do anything else. I'm lucky I've kept two kids alive and not in the emergency room as it is. I have a three-month-old; I'm lucky if I brush my hair, like, once every two weeks.
How do you see your blog and your comedy changing as your children grow?
I have no idea. I'd like to give them their privacy once they reach a certain age. It’s not that I write about them so much, it’s more that I write about "kids in general.” Still, I know there are ages which, when I hit them, I wouldn't have wanted my parents writing about me, so I try to use my own childhood as a gauge for parenting when I can. So, maybe they will both hit 12 and I'll be, like, "Ok, ttyl, off to write about bees and the history of space travel for a while."
What is the best parenting advice that you've ever gotten?
If you want to travel and you don't have kids yet, do it. Now. Seriously. Don't put if off. My husband wanted kids really badly, and I said I'd think about it once we had been on four really good trips. We actually wound up taking about six and it was amazing, some of the trips were three weeks long. I have such amazing memories of all of them. It's not the same after kids, so seriously, do it now.
What's the best comedy advice that you've ever gotten?
"Don't describe the initial experience and then step off. Keep yourself in the joke to find your voice,” from a class taught by Frank Vignola. I don't know how much I got from the class, but I remember that advice really hit me, so I wrote it down on an index card, and it's taped to my desk.
What are your hopes and dreams for this coming year?
Read more. Blog more often. Do the Moth more often because I love storytelling and so often people want blogs to be short, and I miss writing longer essays. See friends. Donate money and get involved in my community after these election results that I wasn't totally thrilled with, to put it very mildly. Submit a bunch of stuff to magazines and apply to lots of writing jobs. I feel weird not saying "be a good parent," but I feel like I am a good parent, and I don't really have any specific goals for my kids other than for them to be kind to people and well-behaved. And, I obviously have to take care of them no matter what; you can't not take care of a three-and-a-half-year-old and a newborn. I love them so much, but I also hope I can squeeze in enough time away from them to get some of those other goals accomplished. We'll see.