If you don’t know about the online sensation that is “IMomSoHard,” you have been missing out! Long-time friends Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley have a weekly online show where they sit in the playroom, drink wine, and talk about all things mom: everything from beauty rituals, to Game of Thrones, to (my personal favorite) Spanx. It’s a riot.
This summer, Kristin and Jen have been touring the country, bringing their highly entertaining perspective on motherhood to sold-out auditoriums and moms ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine during their Moms’ Night Out. ACMB got a chance to sit down with them before their San Antonio show and ask a few questions:
ACMB: So, how has life been on a bus with kids, husbands, etc.?
Kristin: You can only spend, like, four hours on the bus, then I’m going cuckoo!
Jen: You can only hear “are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?” so many times, too.
Kristin: And that’s just our husbands.
ACMB: So, maybe just a few bumps on the road?
Kristin: Yeah, but Jen says it so well: we’d be having these bumps if we were at home. At the end of the day you’re gonna have kids who are acting naughty or you’re gonna have a kid who gets bored or a kid who barfs. It’s either at our house or on a tour bus. It’s just geography, and at least then we get to be a part of it.
Jen: When we just started the tour, we were out for like a week—a week!—and my daughter, who’s two, just starting going “um, poo-poo?” wanting to go on the potty, and I was like, oh, geez! Give me a month! I’m not ready to do this on a tour bus!
ACMB: How has bringing your kids and husbands along on tour worked its way into the performance?
Kristin: It makes it so grounded. When you’ve had a hard day as a mom and you step out onto that stage, you’re there in front of a group of women, particularly moms, and they get it.
Jen: We’re all collectively sighing at the beginning of the night, because we’re like, let’s just have some fun because we’ve earned it. [But] I think for as hard as we’re working, the husbands are working harder.
Kristin: Their main role in this is to get the kids from A to B and also be with them during the day. We also have our aunts on the bus with us; we feel so lucky to have them because they step into our shoes a little bit. Without the whole team working with this sort of goal in mind, we’d be in a world of hurt.
ACMB: What part does wine play in your creative process?
Jen: It’s an important part of the show because the idea is you’re seeing into the playroom; we’re bringing the playroom to the stage. It is our time to sigh, have a glass of wine, tell our stories, laugh about it, and then maybe cry about it, too.
Kristin: The wine we’re drinking is Notable, and it’s a kind of pairing of our personalities. We kind of associate each bottle with our personalities.
Jen: Kristin’s like your crispy sharp wit one, and I’m like your buttery, goes-down-easy kind of style.
Kristin: You know drinking wine is like a ritual. It’s a signal that you can relax, take a breath, and things are going to be OK. It’s not about drinking too much or for any reason.
Jen: It’s biblical.
Kristin: It’s breaking bread…feeling like an adult.
Jen: Feeling like a woman because you’ve been watching Sesame Street all day and all of your conversations have been about “poopy”…
…and you know there’s nothing new under the sun, literally, I mean biblically. I believe there were a couple of moms who went back to each other’s huts at the end of the day and were like, “Pour me that red wine because It. Has. Been. A. Day.”
ACMB: So, clearly we will be enjoying some Notable Wine, and in the meantime, our contributors had a few more questions for you:
ACMB: Do your kids share your sense of humor?
Kristin: Oh sure, yeah! My son is six and my daughter is four, and I feel like, especially with Finn [six-year-old], I’m starting to see his sense of humor and his wit. Eleanor [four-year-old], too, is starting to do funny physical bits. She and Dashiell (Jen’s son) are six weeks apart, and those two will sit together and talk about poop and laugh like it’s the greatest thing! We’re like, “GROSS!”, but we’re not their demo[graphic]. If they were at a preschool open mic night, they would kill it.
ACMB: Do your husbands share your sense of humor?
Jen: We married smartly… Our husbands both work in comedy, and my husband directs the videos, Kristin’s husband directs the live show, and they’re behind the scene with so much stuff.
Kristin: They’re doing bits with each other, so there’s like this dynamic that’s, like, not even seen. If we’re joking about them and they’re right there, they’re fist-bumping about it.
Jen. If they’re making fun, then we know it’s OK.
ACMB: Being that you’re all in comedy, how has that changed your family or relationship dynamic, if at all?
Kristin: Colin has been such a cheerleader for us both; there are times here we’ll be having a conversation and he’ll be like, “I think that’d be a good video for you guys.” And so then I’ll text Jen and she’ll say, “Oh my gosh, me too!” and if you know it’s “me too,” there’s a video.
They were imperative as advocates for the Swimsuit video because I was really scared about it. They were like, “It’s important that you do this.”
Jen: There have been so many times, even getting it off the ground and getting it going, that they’ve just said, “You guys have to do it. There’s no one else doing this.”
Kristin: Never in a million years could we be where we are without them, and that’s the truth.
ACMB: What are your thoughts on women in comedy?
Jen: We both feel like with women in comedy, it’s our time. Guys have been telling the same dick jokes for the last 5,000 years,.
Kristin: We need a different voice out there.
Jen: I feel like brave is the new beautiful.
Kristin: We’ve been really lucky to have seen the best side of women. Everybody knows everybody has different ways of doing things, and you’re going to come from different parts of the world, the way you think is different, your politics are different, the way you were raised is different, but we’ve seen women just show their best selves and just be supportive.
Women have been underestimated and overlooked for too long, and it’s usually because they’re choosing to be moms and they’re looking down at their kids and thinking, How do I make this a great human? and we’re just trying to say, “We see you and you’re doing the best job you can.”
ACMB: We’ve got some kid-related questions for you now…
ACMB: What’s the oddest thing you have found in your purse?
Jen: A quiche—like, a slice. It was wrapped in a paper towel, and I found it, like, days later all crumbly. I was looking in my purse and just thought, What is that smell?!
ACMB: Nothing good ever comes after that sentence.
Kristin: I kept finding toys with price tags in [my purse] and kept thinking, When did I buy this? I don’t think I bought her this. Oh my God… It was just that the bag was right there on the stroller, so conveniently placed while we were parked by the toy bins. We were at Disney. I think we came away with, like, four Pluto key chains. (shakes head)
ACMB: What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids?
Kristin: It’s really pretty simple. We just like to sit at the kitchen table to draw or color, or just fiddle outside.
Jen: Snuggle is my favorite, but something I’m missing now is having dinner as a family. I really miss that because it’s just when we all joke, talk about the day, and reconnect.
ACMB: Being on the road, how do you balance your eating habits?
Kristin: I was really worried about it because I didn’t want them eating junk all the time; you’ve gotta have the good with the bad. But we split entrees all the time, we take them to places where they’ll eat the food, and they swim during the day. The two things we asked for when we did the tour were: Continental Breakfast and a pool. If you can get those two things, you’re kind of golden.
Jen: My two- and four-year old are still as stubborn as can be. If they put it on the plate, you can check it off…you tried. What was it they had in feudal times where someone tried the food before the King—a taster? It’s like they see another kid eat something and they’re all, “OK, it’s not poison. I’ll try it.”
ACMB: What’s the most useless thing you ever bought for your kids?
Jen: Nine-thousand swaddle blankets I never used.
Kristin: Mine was washcloths. How many damn washcloths do you need?! Honestly, you don’t need any. You can use an old one. You also don’t need a duck to tell you if the water is too hot. You need your hand.
ACMB: Best baby gift?
Jen: I don’t know if this is how you mean it, but hand-me-down clothes are like gold!
It’s smart, and if you’re organized and can sell them online, good for you, but I’m on Facebook and I’m like, “Who needs a sack of 10-month-old girls’ clothes?”
Kristin: Jen gave me this really sweet puzzle for Eleanor, but I was like, “No, I’m not giving it to her because she’ll lose it,” so [instead], I did the puzzle, glued it all on, and made it into a wall hanging. It’s beautiful.
ACMB: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Kristin: I’m horrible. If I go guilty pleasures, I’m going to go down to a really dark place. (laughter)
Jen: I bet you we could tell you each other’s better! She likes binge-watching TV shows.
Kristin: Yeah, I do binge-watch. Binge-watching for me is like if I get two episodes in, then I feel like I’ve cheated the system. If we’ve been on the road and we’re in the hotel and Forensic Files comes on, I will watch as many as I can until I have to get ready.
Kristin: Jen’s guilty pleasure—which is super weird, I will say—is reading medical journals and data about weird studies.
Jen: I’m like, “The more boring, the better.” I love to read court cases and stuff, too.
Kristin: She’s also a master shopper. It’s like navigating a NASA control center when she shops. “I found it online.” I’m like, “How?! It’s been discontinued?!” She’s all, “Don’t worry about it. I know a guy.”
Jen: We have a “Guilty Pleasure” video coming up, so we won’t give them all away!
ACMB: What’s your favorite thing to do on a day without kids?
Kristin: (laughter) Jen doesn’t understand the question.
Jen: Well, my husband’s really good about my manicure. I probably get it done too much because it really calms me down to have somebody take care of me. There’s this place across the street from our house—and especially when the kids were little, he’d be like, “Why don’t you go get your nails done?” and it would be the best hour, and I would bring a roadie. They’d be like, “We know what’s up. We know you—it’s been a long day.”
Kristin: When I can I like to just be outside and mess with the plants or the garden that we planted. I don’t have to be doing anything—I just like to be outside and in a sort of restful place.
Jen: She’s a homebody, which is kind of surprising.
Kristin: Yeah, I am kind of a homebody. kind of like just being able to chill. When I can decompress, I love to watch TV. I am a TV watcher—at night if there’s a sitcom on after the kids go to bed, I’m watching it.
Jen: We were just watching Friends yesterday…
ACMB: That bring me to my next contributor question: Favorite Friends episode?
Jen: What?! No way!
Kristin: How can you make me pick? Favorite Friends episode?… Oh! There’s one where—I don’t know what the episode was entirely about, but Joey’s uncle was a tailor, and he had to measure Ross, and there was this whole thing about the way he touched too much to get the measurements. There’s this whole back and forth about “Joey your uncle like ‘measured’ me,” and Joey’s all, “Yes, you’re supposed to do that!” and Ross is all, “Yes, in PRISON!”
That was one of my favorites.
Jen: Well, the one that stands out—there’s the Ross and Rachel hook up one…and then there was this one where Monica has to have eye drops put in and they treated her like a dog. They had to like trick her into it and then hold her down to put the eye drops in—that one really cracked me up.
ACMB: Ready for the Lightening Round?
ACMB: Tequila or bourbon?
ACMB: Wine or beer?
Kristin & Jen: Wine.
ACMB: Menstrual cup or heck no?
Kristin: Menstrual mug.
ACMB: OK, time for some deep questions:
ACMB: What’s your most embarrassing parenting moment?
Kristin: I don’t get embarrassed that easily because I embarrass myself regularly, so I guess I’m just sort of living in it All. The. Time.
Jen: My son quoted something from a carpet cleaning commercial in front of a friend and I was like, “Oh wow! Well, he doesn’t even watch TV. I dunno, kids say the darndest things!”
Kristin: There was a time when my son was very confused by the fact that we had two Renes. Rene, who is our handyman in L.A., and then Renee, his godmother, and he would confuse them all the time. So, I’d say like, “We’re gonna bring Renee on the tour bus,” and he’d be like, “Rene the handyman??” I’d say, “Finn we don’t like Rene that way. Rene is not our family, Renee is our family” And so he went up to Rene, our handyman, and said, “Well, my mom said she doesn’t like you and you’re not family.” I’m like, “That is not what I said!” and I’m trying to explain it to Rene, and he’s like (deep voice accent), “I do not care.”
ACMB: Biggest misunderstanding with your husband?
Kristin: This is always. Colin has zero [awareness]. So, like, our kids are that age where they ask questions and stuff—like, if they see someone who walks in with like crutches or in a wheelchair. So, I’ll be like, “Babe, just heads up,” and he’ll be all, “WHAT?” Social mores are lost on him.
Jen: This is going to sound serious and I don’t necessarily want it to. I think he didn’t understand how much women are affected [emotionally]—like, when somebody made a comment about my size when I was pregnant and I cried until, like, one in the morning, he thought I could laugh everything off but he saw how much it affected me and was like, “OK. It hurts when people says mean things.” I don’t think guys always get that, you know? They laugh at each other’s gut and hit each other and give each other a hard time, but with women it’s different.
ACMB: If you could spend a week in any TV show, what would it be?
Kristin: Hahaha, my world just opened up! Is it creepy that I say Handmaid’s Tale? I’m just kidding. I don’t want to live inside of it. I would say I would want to live in Blackish because I think it is THE funniest show in television.
Jen: I think mine would be House Hunters because I just want to tell people what to get. Everybody’s like, “I want a huge walk-in closet,” and it’s always people dressed terribly, or “I want stainless steel appliances,” and I’m like, “You won’t in 10 years—you won’t care!”
ACMB: Back to the husbands: What is the craziest thing your husband has learned to love/ignore about you?
Kristin: My husband has come to terms with the fact that every time I get a haircut I’m going to cry (chuckles), because I’m gonna come home and I’m gonna hate it. He goes, “Every time you get a haircut I have anxiety all day because you’re going to come home and you’re going to say you hate it and you’re going to cry, and then you’ll be over it in like 24 hours, but that first 24 hours is always a nightmare, even if it’s just a trim.” So, you know, I go every six to eight weeks, so I’m always coming home and he’s like, “Oh, your hair looks good!” and I’m like, “No, it doesn’t!”
Jen: I have to say I’ve never seen her hair look bad… Well, she got this Keith Urban haircut that I thought looked good on her, but she’s always like, “Man, I gotta get my hair cut like right now!” and walks into a Sportclips or something like that.
Kristin: That’s so true!
Jen: “I found this guy on the corner—he’s forty bucks and does it in the car.” (laughter)
Kristin: And he’ll detail your car at the same time, right? (laughter)
Jen: My husband is so patient because I love all things girly—like glassware. I have so many sets of China…
Kristin: I know, because I wrapped it all when you guys moved.
Jen: True. Anybody who’s throwing away a glass bowl I’m like, “I’ll take it!” He’s so patient. I’m very pack-ratty about that stuff. I mean, I’ll throw stuff away and everything…
Kristin: Yeah, but you’ll also climb through a garbage pile to get that dang beautiful chandelier.
Jen: Yeah, for Eleanor’s room I found a chandelier—and another one I found that I spray-painted red, it’s hanging in the house.
Kristin: It’s freakin’ beautiful.
Jen: And it was free!
ACMB: Last question: Where’s the after party?
Kristin: On the tour bus?
Jen: We’re in survival mode. Our party days are over—at least for the tour. But we’ll be back!
And when they are, we’ll be watching! Cheers!