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When it comes to parenting, mediocrity matters.
In early May, Wiles created the Instagram — with the description “When you want to sleep in on a Saturday, but you have kids” — and a goal of capturing those totally unspectacular (and often embarrassing, yet hilarious) parenting moments, the ones you normally don’t want anyone to witness.
One of her own early posts is a picture of her 2-year-old daughter sitting at a restaurant with an open menu and the caption: ‘When you go out to dinner and your mom forgets the crayons.”
Wiles asked others to post their own imperfect parenting snaps with the #averageparentproblems hashtag and the movement became viral. Just a few weeks later, the account now has nearly 79,000 followers.
“The Internet focuses so much on the best and worst of parenting — this feels like an account for everyone in between,” Wiles told TODAY Parents. “I think most of us can relate to every parenting problem I've depicted, but probably didn't know they were so universal until they saw the 'likes' accumulating on the pictures. At least that's how I feel when I post them.”
The recipe for a successful Instagram is consistently sharing great photos and smart captions and a clever perspective and Wiles is the mommy blogger queen of it. A former advertising creative director who got laid off after her first maternity leave and turned to blogging, Wiles — who lives in New York City with her husband and daughters, ages 2 and 5 — has grown Mommy Shorts into a social media empire, and she also does brand consulting and speaking engagements.
With Average Parent Problems, she taps into yet another well of hilarity. And it’s not a humor you will find in a Tiger Mom or a Helicopter Mom, she says. Rather, it’s celebrating plain old, nothing-fancy, Average Mom (and Dad).
“It’s the parents who don't have space to put all the toys away and serve their kids hot dogs more often then they'd like to admit. That's who I am. Average parents don't have the time or the energy to be a helicopter parent or a Tiger mom, but we're OK with that.”
Wiles also thinks Average Parent Problems gives parents an outlet where they can share the generic struggles they encounter day after day.
“Now I know I'm not the only one with a mess of toddler selfies on my phone or stabbing a mylar Dora balloon with a pair of scissors after my kids go to bed,” she says. “Raising kids is hard, isolating work and it's nice to have a place where we can all laugh together.