Harmony Smith and her 8-year-old son Elliott are changing the perception of single parenthood, one 6-and-a-half-second video at a time.
The duo is the force behind a popular Vine channel with more than 388,000 followers. Their Vine topics cover everything that single parents do — from being the sole, 24-7 guardian to the challenges of dating to doing the lion’s share of chores — but the Smiths have a way of making even awkward subjects humorous and endearing:
1. Like when you go to the first back-to-school event and the PTA ticket lady insists on selling you three, including one "for your husband."
2. Or when you only have an 8-year-old to help you with the laundry.
“A lot of the things we do have dark themes but we do in a positive way,” says Smith, who is 27. “It’s just showing the reality of how lonely it is to be a single mom or how hard it is to go out on a date when your babysitter doesn’t show up.”
Smith adds that her intent isn’t to “make fun” of single parents but rather to poke fun at some of the situations she finds herself in. “If you can see the humor in everything, that is going to get you through life,” she says, adding that she was thrilled when she started getting positive feedback from other single moms or people raised by single moms. Maybe they can relate to moments like these:
3. When you need to talk things out.
4. When you're putting yourself out there to date.
An aspiring comedienne, Smith studied improv at Second City in Los Angeles. But after divorcing at age 21 and getting full custody of Elliott, she realized it was impossible to do late-night comedy gigs. So she turned to avenues such as You Tube and Vine.
Raising Elliott in Los Angeles and working as a barista at Starbucks, Smith had a You Tube video go viral in 2011 when she inadvertently captured Elliott’s innocent first kiss with a friend. The video was seen by Justin Bieber (who tweeted about Elliott, “That kid’s got game”). Then, last May on Mother’s Day, Katy Perry tweeted the Vine parody that Smith and Elliott did of Perry’s “Dark Horse” song — in it, Elliott tweaks the lyrics to “She’s a beast … I call her Mama” — and that catapulted their Vine following for moments like these...
5. When there's no one but you to teach your son to shave.
6. When you turn to online dating.
Smith calls Elliott a “total character with a vibrant personality,” and says he has plenty of input in the videos, such as suggesting ideas or different ways of shooting them. Smith uses a self-timer on her phone, or shoots them selfie-style. Sometimes she enlists friends to shoot or even a stranger walking by.
When asked what he likes about creating the Vines, Elliott told TODAY, “It’s fun because we get to joke about things and have fun." The third-grader, who takes piano and acting classes, recently landed his first job in a commercial.
“[Elliott] says he wants to be a movie maker. If he wants to keep acting, we’ll keep auditioning. If not, that’s cool,” says Smith. “I want him to chase his dreams.”
In the meantime, they'll keep having fun together — even during those awkward moments.
7. When the babysitter doesn't show up.
8. When you just need to dance.