I’ve a got a newer tweeter in the Beyond the Bio HoT seat today. She’s super funny and definitely worth a follow! Check her out!
Me, to all my kids before the age of 2.
"No screens allowed."
On their 2nd birthday, handing over iPad.
"This is your mother now."
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) October 23, 2015
Things to know about @cray_at_home_ma
Living in: Nashville, TN, for just over a year now.
Number of followers: 3,526. Not like I’m counting, or anything.
Year graduated high school: 2004. I’m in the last month of my 20’s right now and I’m doing all the rockstar things I always imagined, like sanitizing our kitchen chairs before 8 AM because my three-year-old “thought it was a fart.”
When did you start tweeting? I first joined Twitter with a private account in 2012, but I hardly tweeted. Or retweeted. I really wasn’t doing much of anything other than linking Instagram pictures. After playing with the idea for awhile, I started @cray_at_home_ma in October of 2015.
It's cute how I check a mirror to fix my hair before leaving the house, as if my whole life isn't a mess.
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) March 9, 2016
On to the interview!
Tell us about your family.
My husband and I met in college and were married before we graduated. He’s an amazing man, and we just celebrated our 8th anniversary. And, I guess because no one told us not to, we had three kids in four years. Our mini squad consists of two girls, ages five and one, and one boy who’s three.
You know, speaking as someone who didn’t have kids until their mid-30s, there are a lot of benefits to having kids younger – mostly, it’s in the form of fewer aches and pains. I imagine you’re also better in touch with what’s cool. Being two generations down the line I have no idea what’s cool other than Twitter. But I’ve heard that Twitter isn’t even that cool anymore. Whatevs.
So what do you do when you’re not on Twitter?
I stay at home with my kids, all day every day, so the things I used to find joy in outside of the home sadly don’t happen much anymore. I mean, I think I’d rather swallow rocks than go to Nordstrom with three small children. This is a season of life where my ‘free-time’ takes place between the hours of 8 PM and 10 PM, so I guess my hobbies are watching garbage reality television and drinking whiskey with my husband.
Haha! That sounds like fun. Why did you join Twitter a second time?
I started this account a few months after our family had moved across the country, away from everyone we knew and loved. Being a stay at home parent can be very isolating in general, but at that time I literally had zero local friends, and I was going a little crazy. My husband works insanely long hours too, and I really needed an outlet. I was following a few funny parents (on my otherwise lame private Twitter account) and I resonated with their humor so much. Parenthood is often portrayed on social media in such a nauseatingly sugar-coated way, and that’s totally not my jam. I decided that starting another account on Twitter would be a good way for me to unapologetically get out my thoughts and feelings, thus allowing me to keep my sanity. Anonymity seemed like the best way to avoid unpleasant phone calls from concerned family members.
Why do you tweet? What do you get out of it?
Tweeting is therapeutic for me. I’ve always had a brain that goes a million miles per minute, so writing in general helps me process through the chaos in my head. In college I discovered how much I love to write when there’s feedback involved. It was something that came naturally to me, and getting praise for it was like a drug. The catch is that I only enjoy writing when I actually have enough time to make a product I’m proud of, and with three needy, crazy kids, time is limited. So Twitter is sort of my happy place. I can quickly tweet little things that pop into my head, which helps me to not get bogged down, and then there’s the instant gratification when a tweet is well received.
I tucked my kids in last night and said, "See you in the morning!" and then we laughed and laughed. Saw them 16 more times before sunrise.
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) March 9, 2016
Your bio says that your avi is a picture of your grandfather. Can you tell us a little about why you chose to use his photo as your avi?
Yes! My avi is a photo of my grandfather. But… the part in my bio that says “My grandfather died and all I got was this lousy avi” is a boldface lie. He’s very much alive, I just thought it was a funny line. So, my apologies to anyone who gave me a pity follow because they thought my grandpa was dead and left me out of his will. Also, my header photo was taken in the 1950’s and it’s of my grandmother, his wife, drinking a 40 oz. lager straight from the bottle. It wasn’t intentional to use both pictures together, but it’s a badass photo of her, so I was happy to find it. My motive behind the avi obviously stemmed from wanting anonymity, but it’s also in part because, from the get go, I wanted people to follow me based solely on the content of my tweets. Using a vintage picture of my grandfather seemed like a pretty sure way not to get a following based on appearances. And there are a lot of weirdos out there, so it felt like the best way to avoid getting pictures of unwanted male genitalia in my inbox.
Haha! I don’t know if even that will stop those weirdos. So what is your process for composing a tweet? Do you write tweets off the cuff or do you draft them first?
I do both. If the thought feels complete and I have a spare second, I’ll tweet it right away. But there are a lot of times where I can see the humor in the middle of a chaotic situation with my kids, and all I can do in that moment is draft the general concept of it. Then I polish it up later. You know, when I’m not holding a screaming toddler while finding clean underwear for my preschooler who just peed his pants and yelling directions down the stairs to my hysterical almost-kindergartener on how to get the TV set back to Netflix.
Oh gosh, I’m overwhelmed just reading that. I remember those days well. There are still times like that, but as they get older, it’s not quite so chaotic – they play with your emotions as they get older. It’s fun.
What’s something you don’t like about Twitter?
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of “sexy” Twitter. I guess because I’ve made quite a few solid, real friendships here, seeing accounts treat Twitter like it’s Tinder feels degrading in a way.
How do you decide whom to follow?
I pretty much only follow people who make me laugh. I love finding new accounts, but I’m not actively searching for them as much as I used to. However, even though it’s getting a lot more difficult than it used to be, I do try to check out the timelines of my new followers. If I think you’re funny and you retweet others, I’ll follow you back. Major bonus points if you have a search link in your bio.
My kids are such team players. I went to bed early last night but they worked together to make sure I'd wake up just as exhausted as always.
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) April 28, 2016
How did you share your humor before Twitter? Have people always thought you were funny?
I’ve always been drawn to funny people, so I guess just having friend groups to go back and forth with has been my outlet for humor until Twitter came along. As far back as I can remember I’ve made people laugh, but what’s weird is that it wasn’t until much later that I registered that to mean *I* was funny. No matter how many times it was affirmed to me, I sort of just brushed it off. Like, just because that person or those people think I’m funny, it doesn’t mean I AM funny. I consider myself a fairly confident person, but it’s hard to ignore those deep rooted daddy issues sometimes. And If I’m being honest, even today the thought of standing up and saying, “Hey guys, I’m funny,” makes me feel uncomfortable. As if publicly admitting you think you’re funny is like publicly admitting you think you’re hot, and then everyone else just thinks you’re conceited and hates you and you lose all your friends. What I’m saying is, I’m not an insecure person but please constantly validate me by saying how funny and pretty you think I am.
Hahaha! I can totally relate to that.
Have you ever had a tweet stolen? If so, how’d you feel about that?
I have. I was annoyed at first, but the plagiarism on Twitter is so rampant that I’ve since realized I can’t let it bother me too much. I’d probably be more angry if my stolen tweet got a bunch of action on someone else’s account, but that’s like the opposite of what has happened. I have had tweets stolen by big Facebook accounts and shared as memes, and that makes me mad. Because that takes, like, a lot of effort on their part, and it’s pretty obvious they want to take the credit for it all.
Since your tweets have been stolen to Facebook, have you started making memes of your tweets yet?
I really haven’t. I actually only started a FB account for @cray_at_home_ma when I saw that my tweets were being stolen over there. Surprisingly my comments of “Um, excuse me this is my tweet, you just typed it on a $hitty graphic. Please delete.” made little traction in a comment section of 2,000. I would like to eventually share more memes on IG, but just to get them out there and not really as an attempt to gain an IG following. Keeping up with all of the different social media platforms would be way too much for me to juggle right now, but I’m perfectly happy to be in a committed monogamous relationship with Twitter.
We all have tweets that totally bomb. What goes through your mind when a tweet bombs?
If a tweet of mine makes me laugh, I don’t usually care if it bombs. I think Twitter loses its charm when you stop tweeting for yourself and you become consumed with what other people think. I think the only times I’ve deleted a bombed tweet is when I’ve realized that I didn’t do a great job at getting my point across. Then I’ll reword it into a new tweet, which luckily has always gone better the second time around. If I had the same joke fall flat twice, then I don’t know. Maybe I’d twittercide.
Do you feel like you have a good handle on which tweets will be successful and which ones won’t?
Gosh, I don’t know that I do really. I mean, I have an idea, but like everyone else, sometimes I think I’ve just tweeted gold and it’s total crickets. And other times I’m like, “Really? That’s the one that’s blowing up my notifications?”
What’s the oddest place you’ve tweeted from?
Um… probably my friend’s closet. To be fair, it’s a walk-in closet and I was laying my toddler down in a pack ‘n play in there. It was during a multi-couple dinner party that I was not especially vibing on, and I’m not above using bedtime for my children as an excuse to hide in a small dark space while scrolling Twitter.
I just figured it out. If I wake up 3 hours before my kids do and then never sleep ever again, I think I can finally get everything done.
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) March 8, 2016
Was there a moment when you thought, “Yes–I’ve found my platform or medium!” and when was it, or what triggered it?
Crazily enough, one of my first tweets, literally the day I started this Twitter account, remains my top tweet. I’m still not entirely sure how it happened, but that tweet got attention from some big accounts and it took off from there. Needless to say, I fell in love with funny Twitter fast and hard. I think if I’m ever going to have a platform, this is probably it.
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
I’m super late to the game on this, but my husband and I have been watching New Girl. And loving it.
Who are some comedians (or comedy shows/sitcoms) who have influenced you?
I watched a ton of sitcoms growing up. Like, a ton. My television was sort of my primary caregiver, with some coparenting done by Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Every day I watched The Simpsons, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire, Saved by the Bell, etc… Daria was also one of my favorites, which is kind of ironic because I loved my entire high school experience. If I had to pinpoint a recent influence, it would have to be Chelsea Handler. While she can be a bit more crass than I am personally, I adore her boldness and how she thrives on shock value.
Another 9 months of pregnancy and 18 years of child rearing actually seems less daunting than swimsuit shopping right now.
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) May 20, 2016
If you could meet anyone in person from Twitter who would it be and why?
Wow, that’s so hard! There are so many people I’m dying to meet. But OK, gun to my head, one person? I think it’d have to be @MyMomologue. Her and I landed in a tiny DM group together a few months after I started my account (along with my girl @mommy_cusses, all thanks to the lovely @WalkingOutside) and as chance would have it, she had recently moved to the city that I had just moved away from. She really hadn’t met anyone in the area yet and I was able to connect her with my friends and church there, which is just crazy awesome. So now she’s hanging out with people who I dearly love and miss terribly, and the whole thing makes me super jealous. I’d love nothing more than to hug that woman and drink wine together, while we loosely monitor our children, of course.
That’s so crazy that @MyMomologue moved to your old city and ishanging out with your old friends. Has that impacted your anonymity on Twitter at all? Has anyone made the connection to the real you on Twitter?
Right? The internet makes the world feel so small. I was really eager to plug @Mymomologue in with my old crew when she told me where she is and that she hadn’t met many other moms, but I also didn’t want to come off like a psycho, so I played it cool for awhile. Eventually I was like OK PLEASE MEET MY FRIENDS THEY WILL LOVE YOU AND YOU WILL LOVE THEM AND IF I CAN’T SEE THEM THEN SOMEONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO. And she is such a gem, right off the bat she swore she wouldn’t bring up my account with anyone. My husband and my very best friend are my only “real life” people who know about @cray_at_home_ma, and it’s not that it would be terrible if other people I knew found out, but it’s more liberating for me to have the anonymity. One good thing about being a millennial is that I can say things like, “Hey, I know this girl from an online parent group I’m in, and she just moved to town. Would you be willing to meet up with her sometime?” and nobody bats an eye. So that’s basically the line I used to connect her with my Phoenix people, and as far as I know, no one has asked any follow up questions.
So you lived in Phoenix before moving to Nashville. Has that move been a big adjustment?
Before moving to Nashville we lived in Phoenix for 6 years, but I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I identify with my quirky Portland roots more than anything. The South definitely has its own thing going on, but it has been very kind to us so far. The humidity is a beast, but you can actually go outside in the summer, unlike the desert where you catch on fire walking to and from your car in July. So all in all, I’d say we’re happy here. For sure the hardest part has been trying to find our people and build a community, but I think making friends as an adult is difficult no matter what. Just another reason why I’m thankful for the awesome people I’ve met through Twitter.
It is hard to make friends as an adult. We moved an hour away from our old house two years ago and while that doesn’t seem that far, we don’t ever see anyone from where we used to live. So until the last few months, I was totally dependent on my online friends for a social life. Although having so many online friends may have impacted why it took me so long to make non-online friends for so long. Haha! (But I haven’t minded.)
What advice do you have for people writing jokes on Twitter?
Stay true to your own humor, because that’s the only thing you’ll be able to maintain long term. Don’t feel like you have to participate in format tweets, but if you have a funny, original take on it, absolutely go for it. And I can’t stress the search link enough, everyone. If you don’t have a search link for yourself in you bio, please put one in. Your tweets may be funnier than you realize, but people like me are too impatient and stressed out to scroll down your timeline searching for them.
Interior designers say your home should have a theme. Mine is toys on the floor of every room, paired with piles of laundry as focal points.
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) May 11, 2016
Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.
As much as my children drive me crazy, and they really do, I have a big heart for kids. Especially kids who have been abused and neglected. We’d love to have a big family (I’ll probably find myself pregnant at least one more time) and in a few years, once my husband’s work schedule becomes more reasonable, our plan is to start fostering. Although our primary goal would be reconciliation with the birth parents, we would absolutely be open to adoption if the opportunity presented itself.
Is there anything else you’d like to say/share?
Kate Hall, you are amazing! I’ve always loved reading your Beyond the Bio interviews, and I think you are awesome for doing them. It’s been such a cool way to get to know more about some of my favorite tweeters.
Awww, you are so kind! That made my day!
Name five tweeters whose tweets consistently make you laugh.
Five is like a mean joke and I feel dirty naming so few, but alright. My laugh out loud ride or dies: @1followernodad, @house_feminist, @graceful_af, @simoncholland, and @prettysadmostly. And @amydillon. I’m so sorry.
Get married and have kids so that you can pick up throw pillows off the floor until you die.
— Cray at Home Ma (@cray_at_home_ma) March 22, 2016
Thanks for the interview, Ashley! Loved it!
In case you missed it, last time on Beyond the Bio: @GianDoh.
A butt-load of the funniest parenting tweets all packed into one place! – The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, available on Amazon. Or try the original, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. They make great gifts!