Meet the DC Cast: Deb Werrlein

by Kate on March 29, 2013

Tutor, cyclist, mother of teens, writer… Deb Werrlein is best known online for her “blogosophies of family, food & dare I say it? feminism.” Intrigued? Read on for more!

LTYM: Who IS Deb?

Deb: Well, I’m an introvert who is just a little bit mortified by this question!  I’m also a mother of two teens, who would live on my bike if I could.  When I’m not cycling, I dabble in photography, luxuriate in the color purple, and wish desperately that I knew more about wine.  My unorthodox career path, which has taken me from corporate ladder climber, to college English instructor, to tutor for dyslexic learners, could never be explained in one paragraph, so I’ve written a book about it which I’d love to publish if you happen to be connected in that way!

My quirkier qualities? I still read to both of my teens at night.  I forget people’s names regularly, even when I’ve known them for years. Weather permitting, I ride my bike to the grocery store every Monday, toting a week’s worth of groceries home in a trailer behind me, and, although you can catch me with a stash of contraband avocados pretty much any time of year, I cook mostly local and seasonal food.

In a nutshell, I’m hopelessly committed to the environment, my family, and rather obsessively, to words.

LTYM: How did you discover LTYM?

Deb: I discovered LTYM last year through Anna See’s blog An Inch of Gray.  I wanted to go and support Anna, but I was also excited by this idea of giving a microphone to moms.  When my kids were toddlers, between 1998 and 2003, I used to tell my friends we needed a “website” where we could share our stories, our fears, our triumphs about parenthood.  I found the early years of parenting very isolating.  I needed a blog bad! But all that digital sharing only goes so far.  I love that LTYM steps out of cyber-land to create a place where motherhood can come to life.  I’m so honored to be in the show this year.  It’s such a great idea!

LTYM: What is the craziest thing you remember saying to your children?

Deb: Do I have to limit it to just one?  My daughter, now 12, is what my grandfather would have called a “firecracker.”  Like many second children, her toddlerhood challenged everything I thought I knew about parenting, leaving me flabbergasted and exhausted at the end of every day.

When she was two, I said things like, “Please don’t lick the outlet covers before you put them back in the wall.”  And at three: “Sweetie, how many times do I have to tell you? Don’t drink out of the water bowl at the same time as the dog!”  By four, we were hashing things out before she acted, so I had the lucky opportunity to advise her, “No, honey, if you pull out someone else’s tooth and put it under your pillow, the tooth fairy will NOT come.”

My son and I had more philosophical conversations.  When he was three, he surprised me during bath time by asking me what his testicles were for.  Taken off guard, and unable to connect these little gems to the obvious function of the penis (to pee, duh!), I said with masterful parental acuity, “I don’t know.”

LTYM: What is one of your favorite things you’ve ever written?

Deb: After watching the film Miss Representation with my kids last spring, I came home and, in a moment of inspiration (or perhaps just a fit of insanity), posted a picture of my fat roll on the internet.  I crafted an essay around it called take that mr. media: reflections on “miss representation.”  It’s one of my favorite pieces because it points to the ironic necessity for women like me–who have recovered from an eating disorder and in whom society had so carefully cultivated the art of self-hatred–to nevertheless learn to show our daughters the beauty of self-love.

LTYM: When did you first start thinking about your parents as individual people and not just “mom and dad?”

Deb: My parents are individual people?

LTYM: What do you wish most for your children?

Deb: Happiness, health, love, shelter, of course, and I really hope the two of them will be friends with each other.  Beyond all that obvious stuff?  Creativity!  I hope my kids will have the opportunity to cultivate their creative impulses long into life.  As a writer, I have come to think of creativity as a big chunk of that happiness puzzle we’re all trying so hard to put together.  It allows for self-expression, self-discovery, stress relief, and of course, plain old fun! So I don’t care if they make poems, potholders, or log cabins—I just hope that whatever they make, they feel like they’re flying.

LTYM: Thanks Deb!

Read more about Deb on her blog, Small House, Big Picture. And check back next week for more DC cast member spotlights…

Have you purchased your tickets to the show yet? Space is limited so don’t wait! Click HERE for full details.

Arnebya April 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I burst out laughing at “I don’t know.” I’m sure I’ve given that answer to at least one of my children in response to a question I should’ve been able to answer.

Kate April 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Arnebya – that made ME laugh too! I say “I don’t know” all the time. Best they know my limitations early on…

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