From discussing the perfect mom friend to what it’s like to wear multiple layers of Spanx, there’s a rarely a topic Kristen Hensley and Jen Smedley, creators of the web series #IMOMSOHARD, don’t discuss. The California moms have over a million followers on Facebook, and their videos have amassed millions of views. Currently, they are on their Mom’s Night Out: Summer Break Tour sponsored by Yoplait, bringing their wit and hilarious takes to Houston on July 30. We talked with them about the #IMOMSOHARD movement and what Houstonians should look forward to at their upcoming show.
What inspired you to start making videos and create this transparency about being a mom?
Jen: We’ve been friends for a longtime and we always had very frank, honest conversations with each other that cracks us up a whole lot, and we were like, ‘How come we don’t ever see other people saying this stuff, we can’t be the only ones.’ So we put it out there online and found out pretty quickly we were definitely not the only ones feeling this way. Actually, if we’re very honest, before we shoot the videos and Kristen feels like she’s going to barf the night before we post it, we know that we’re in our sweet spot.
Kristen: Jen and I had this one night where we had some wine over my kitchen counter and everybody was outside and we were both laughing and crying about how terrible we were at this motherhood thing, and then we realized it was funny. And that’s when I think we both had this spark that this has to be out there equal to all the inspiring and bad stuff that you could find, and there has to be the other side of it, which is just that things are funny.
How do you come up with ideas for what type of videos to post?
Kristen: Honestly, Jen and I are such good friends that we crack each other up. We have very different comedic sensibilities so it’s always like a new day together. If I come to her with a story of something that happens she might find it funny but she looks at it from a different angle that I never would’ve looked at and it’s such a relief and it also just makes me laugh at something that I felt was terrible. When we come up with these subjects we think to ourselves, ‘Well, what do I talk to Jen about? Or what does she talk to Kristen about? What is on our mind right now?’ Because if we try to gage it towards what you think everybody else wants to hear, then I think it doesn’t feel as authentic to us. We have to enjoy and want to talk about it and also get fired up about it. That can be literally talking about cake pops or that can be talking about postpartum, it really lives in the same world for us.
What are some self-care tips you have for other moms?
Jen: We are the biggest advocates of finding a mom friend if you can find one anywhere. There’s a lot of moms out there and all they need is shoulder to laugh on. That’s a form of self-care, I think, to have someone to hear you and you hearing them.
What's the deal with the yogurt?
Jen: Our tour is sponsored by Yoplait which is awesome. We’ve partnered with them because they’ve got this really cool campaign called "Mom On." They did this survey that found that three-quarters of moms feel judged online, and it actually makes them feel sad and feel like they’re not doing a good job, and that they need to be doing a better job and it sort of changes the way they parent.
Kristen: We feel like no matter who you are, if you are a mom you have similar struggles. It doesn’t matter if you’re struggling financially or if you have all the money in the world, you have those inner conflicts and those inner struggles that just come with the territory. What we like about Yoplait is that they get that, and they’re supporting us by looking at that through a different lens and just giving everybody a break and saying, ‘Hey, we get it. Let’s all just have a good time, laugh a little bit and we’ll find another time to be hard on [ourselves], but for right now let’s just give everybody a break.’
What can Houstonians look forward to at your show when you bring your Moms Night Out: Summer Break Tour here July 30?
Jen: It’s sort of a two-person stand up show. We show videos during the show, so if they’ve never seen any of our videos, they’ll get a little introduction to what those look like. But the audience is our third friend, and we’re just telling stories and encouraging them to laugh with us or at us, have a drink and be a little bit raucous.
Kristen: The truth is we don’t talk about our kids. We want to celebrate the time together as friends and as women. Because women—moms in particular—they do things for everybody else, and they rarely have that time to wear their favorite blouse or grab their favorite clutch. It’s a really fun, high-octane show that so far everybody has said they’ve had a really good time at and that makes me feel great. It just feels like a room full of friends.
The Mom’s Night Out: Summer Break Tour comes to Houston on July 30 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets from $37.75. Cullen Performance Hall, 4800 Calhoun Rd. For more information go to uh.edu.