Some people are floated gently into motherhood via organized life plan. Kirsten Clodfelter entered by catapult at 25 after realizing she was pregnant just two months into dating a new dude. Luckily both the boyfriend and the baby turned out to be awesome, and Clodfelter practices the daily art of leveling up as a parent and a partner in hope of being more like them. She lives with her tiny fam in the Midwest, where she works as a freelance writer, editor, and digital marketing consultant. The author of CASUALTIES, Clodfelter is a feminist momma writing about parenting and politics, and her work has been published in Salon, Good Housekeeping, Redbook Magazine, Scary Mommy, xoJane, Role Reboot, Ravishly, and Yahoo! Parenting, among others. She blogs (sometimes) at WTFMommying.com.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
A few years before my mother died, she spent months painstakingly crafting me the most epic Barbie house. She built it from the ground up out of balsa wood, two levels plus an attic. The outside was covered in thin rows of siding she painted dark blue, and the frame of the gabled roof was a tight jigsaw of shellacked tile. She outfitted the interior of each room with its own unique pattern of wallpaper, over which she designed little shelves or hand-painted wooden frames that showed off pictures cut from magazines. The floors were carpeted or fitted with linoleum—samples my mother pinched from the local hardware store. There was a little edge of astroturf grass bordering the perimeter, and around back she'd constructed a jacuzzi from painted styrofoam, which she then adorned with a row of tiny plastic plants that bloomed from wooden planter boxes. It's still probably the most amazing thing I've ever owned, and I can't wait to give it to my daughter.