California illustrator Alison Wong experienced the shock and sea change of first-time motherhood like everyone else, but channeled the experience in a whole new way. Wong began writing and illustrating comics about her life as mother to son Elliot, now 2, which turned into the recently released book, New Mom Comics: The First Year.
Looking back, how would you describe the early days of new motherhood?
I feel like the first few months were about survival (both me and the baby) and a haze of worry. You can try to prepare as much as you can, but you can only expect the unexpected!
Most of us are trying to just survive those first 12 months: How did the idea for the book come about?
I was just trying to survive and went to a new mom’s group for support. I realized that many of us had the same problems. When my son was 3 months, it was my first Mother’s Day, and I drew a comic summarizing all the crazy things we new moms do, and dedicated it to us. It spread throughout social media, and I realized there was a huge audience for this, and New Mom Comics was born!
What surprised you most about your son’s first year and parenthood?
Everything seems to be a phase, and though you might worry about something, it won’t be long until he grows out of it. I didn’t realize I could worry so much! But I hear that this will probably continue, just about different things.
If a pregnant, soon-to-be first-time mom asked for your advice about the first year, what would it be?
Read my book! Ha ha. But, honestly, it would be to read less of the “expectation” articles, and to enjoy the moments, as they won’t last long — even though at the time you think it won’t end.
When did you find time to write, draw, and work on the book? How do you balance work and motherhood today?
I work part-time as a design consultant, so I have to manage work as well as the comic drawing. Most of the time I’ll draw in the evenings, when I finally have some time to myself.
Your book covers so many aspects of parenting an infant — do you have a favorite that you really enjoying drawing and writing about?
I love drawing about the ridiculous things us parents do, which in retrospect are just so funny. Checking on them to see if they’re breathing, and all the “Is he drinking/eating/sleeping enough?!?” situations.
What was your pre-motherhood illustration career like? Did you draw comics or was this a new creative endeavor?
I’m a product designer and often draw when I’m creating new products and services. I also used to draw a lot as a hobby, and have done so all my life, from school and college newspapers. However, it was only until motherhood did I get so motivated to have a regular strip.
Do you see a sequel, “The Toddler Years,” ahead?
Yes, definitely! Having a child is an endless source of funny material, and I’m still trying to draw a comic a week. Hope you will check out the newer ones on my site: newmomcomics.com!