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The epidemi-mom-blog-ist

As a part-time blogger, full-time epidemiologist, and even fuller-time mom, Rochester’s Martina Anto-Ocrah finally has the crazy under control. We met with the humorist for this special Mother’s Day edition of Unplugged. 

How did you get into blogging the way that you do?

I started posting stories of my life as a parent when I had triplets. Can I swear? Because I realized that my life was a total shit show. It was just chaotic. I had a singleton, and the next thing I knew I had three newborns. My mother-in-law was living with me, my aunts was living with me, everything was just insanity, and honestly it was ludicrous. There was no way that any person could be normal under these circumstances. So I started posting really ridiculous stories of trying to run away from my life. I started getting attention because it was so humorous, and I guess no one had been that authentic. I refused to lie or not tell the truth about what was happening. This intense desire to escape. So that’s how I started, just dealing with the craziness of having triplets and a singleton at once.

Did you always want to be a mom?

Man, that’s a deep question. I think most people immediately say “yes, I’ve always wanted to be a mom.” Yeah… I wouldn’t give that easy answer. When I met my husband and we were dating, I told him that I didn’t want kids. Because I had sort of been a parent for my siblings. I had taken on a parental role for most of my life, so I really don’t think that I wanted to take care of more people. But my husband wanted to have kids, and he goes, “I want five children.” I said, “Not out of this body.” I literally remember being like, “Not out of this hot bod.” I said, “I’ll give you two.” We had two pregnancies and we have four kids. So it worked out perfectly. 

So when you found out about the triplets, you already had a three-year-old?

Yeah. He was three years. I hadn’t started graduate school yet, but I’d been accepted. So that I had to call and defer graduate school for a year. Let me tell you, that year, I willed those children. I was like, “You are going to walk.” I remember them and I’m like, “Come on, come on, take a step. Eat, sit, laugh.” It was tasks that you have to accomplish before mommy started school. There’s one thing that I wish I had enjoyed, was more with the pregnancy, I wish I’d enjoyed my triplet pregnancy a lot more. I was just so stressed about grad school, and I also wish that I enjoyed raising them a little bit more rather than being on a fast track. I was just in a hurry to start my life. So those are the two things that I wish I had done a little bit more.

Is there a pet peeve you have that you see other moms do in public?

Oh my God, we’re going to go there? Oh Lord. Judging. I think that as parents, we’re quick to judge each other. We’re quick to jump to the conclusion of, oh, can you shut your child up? I mean, I don’t know. If a parent is sort of having a difficult time managing their child, they feel so guilty. You’d be able to recognize when a child is out of control crying probably because they’re sleepy or they’re hungry and we’re all kind of given the mom the stare. Oh, don’t even think of an airplane. When you’re on that airplane, that child is sitting next to you and will not stop crying and we’re just like, can you shut that child up? It’s so much easier to say that. I think I just wish that we would perhaps judge a little bit less, this is incredibly difficult. But that parents under a lot of stress and they’re embarrassed. They are aware that their child is misbehaving. They are aware their child will not stop crying. They wished they weren’t under that situation. But they can’t control it. So that is definitely the one thing if I could say that we could perhaps try and maybe lend a hand if possible a little bit more. 

Your blog is hilarious. Reading it, you just spell and type everything in a way that I knew exactly how you would sound before I met you.

Oh perfect. Awesome. Thank you. I hope the people get that from it. I hope that people also realize a lot of it is in humor. There was one white posting about my daughter Kennedy, of course not wanting to wear sneakers to school. Once she got to school, she couldn’t participate in gym and people were like, “you should have taken her shoes to her,” and I was like, “no, I am not going to drive and go and deliver a pair of shoes to my daughter just so she can participate in gym. It was a choice that she made. So tomorrow she can decide whether she wants to do it.” Then that one had so many likes and so many comments. The next day she wore the sneakers to school. So there are actions and consequences and the picture on there is me sipping water. What else? Figure it out! So I hope that people realize that there’s a lot of humor and I hope they get that. If they start taking things seriously then they’re not necessarily the target audience for me anyway.

Is there anything we haven’t mentioned that you want to touch on? 

I think perhaps you can mention the support person. I think I want to give kudos to single parents, because parenting is really difficult. So when I meet single parents, I didn’t realize how difficult being a single parent was until when my husband travels or something that. So all the support people in all of our lives, I say thank you, and to the single parents too. Bravo, great, great job because this stuff is not easy at all. 

Watch and our full interview with Anto-Ocrah—including the story of how she got on the Netflix reality show Nailed It!—below, and be sure to check out her page, “How is This ‘Normal?’” on Facebook.

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