A Household Word Q&A
Being a Parent Never Ends

A Q & A with Humor Columnist Carol Band

Carol Band is a mother of three, but she could easily be the parenting life coach of thousands. Her award-winning humor column, A Household Word, has been a monthly "must-read" for parents for the last decade. The reason is simple: it makes you laugh. And no one needs to laugh more than a parent.
Carol has just published a collection of her best essays on kids, hermit crabs and the chaos of the contemporary suburban family in A Household Word (iUniverse, 2008). In celebration of the book and her 10th anniversary of writing the column for us, we asked Carol to share just a bit more about her parenting life:

  Q & A with Carol Band
  Carol\'s Columns
  Carol\'s Blog
  Carol\'s Book
Do you think your life is different than that of other parents?

All parents share a desire for more sleep, less noise and a longer school day. As my kids have gotten older (Nathan is 21, Perry is 19, and Lew is 14), I realize that being a parent never ends. It\'s like being the Pope or serving on the Supreme Court - a lifetime appointment. Sometimes I make my kids kiss my ring.

Are you a "household word" in your community?

I am a celebrity in my neighborhood, not because I write a column, but because I give out full-size candy bars on Halloween. Occasionally, someone in the supermarket will recognize me from the tiny picture that runs with the column and say, "Gee! You\'re a lot bigger in real life!"

What do your kids and husband think about your column? Any fallout?

I don\'t think my kids have ever really read my column! Some of their friends do though, and they\'ll come over and say, "Hey, I read about your head lice, Lewis." My husband\'s co-workers tape the column to the office fridge whenever he is mentioned in it. That\'s probably the only time he reads it. There hasn\'t been fallout because I try not to make my kids the butt of the jokes. They provide the set up, I provide the butt.

What\'s the most memorable feedback you\'ve ever gotten from a column?

I wrote a column when Nathan was begging me to buy a Nintendo. I wrote that I thought video games were a brain-rotting, seizure-inducing waste of time. I got loads of email and letters calling me names that you can\'t print and proclaiming me the "meanest mother in America." Looking back, I think those letters might have been from my kids.

I did eventually cave on that issue and we now own an Xbox 360 and a Wii - but now I\'m mean because we don\'t have a big screen TV. Geez, go outside and play with sticks.

What\'s the weirdest thing you\'ve ever found buried in the couch cushions or in your kids\' bedrooms?

I\'ve got teenagers! You find some pretty weird stuff in their bedrooms. Scary stuff. However, all the stuff in the couch cushions - whether it\'s a petrified bagel or a bad report card gets blamed on the dog. If anyone farts, the dog takes the heat for that, too.

Some of your funniest columns are about your family\'s pets. What pets have you had?

We have had hamsters* and gerbils (which gnawed through their expensive, plastic Habitrail and were lost for a week until they turned up in the corn flakes), hermit crabs, a turtle, mice and numerous fish. Currently, we have a dog (which I got from the pound so that someone in the house would appreciate my cooking), a cat, a gecko (they live for 30 years!), crickets that are waiting to be eaten by the gecko, a little fish in a tank in the kitchen and big fish in a little pond on the patio. We also have latent Sea Monkeys waiting to be brought to life - you just add water!

*There is a foil-wrapped wad in the back of the freezer that might be a hamster carcass.

Any regrets as a parent?
I regret that none of my kids are Miley Cyrus. I read that she made $19 million last year.

No, I have no regrets. I\'m doing my best and, so far, none of my kids are in jail or working as a pole dancer. Of course, there\'s still time.

What do your kids and husband think about your column? Any fallout?

What have you learned from writing this column for 10 years?

I\'ve learned that deadlines usually have a little wiggle room, that kids grow up fast, that parents have only limited influence over how their children turn out, that life is funny and that the best thing a family can do together is laugh.

You can contact Carol at
View her columns in our Household Word Archive.