Ketchup Is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves

Praise for
Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves


"With the humor of Bombeck and the warmth of a best girlfriend, Robin O'Bryant gives every mom permission to not be perfect. The chapter on road-tripping with three tiny children and a flu-stricken husband was one of the funniest things I've ever read. Pour yourself some ‘mommy juice’ and enjoy meeting Robin and her ‘chicks.’" Celia Rivenbark, New York Times bestselling author of
You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl


“Sitting down with
Ketchup is a Vegetable
is like sitting down with a hot cup of coffee -if the coffee was witty, insightful and also a mommy. Laugh out loud, witty observations from my favorite mom on Twitter!” Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, bestselling author of
Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay
, and
Naptime Is the New Happy Hour

"A book about motherhood that will make you nod with recognition, while simultaneously reminding you to schedule a hysterectomy." Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess and author of
Let's Pretend This Never Happened


Greenforge Books


Copyright 2011 by Robin O’Bryant
All rights reserved.


No part of this short story may be used, reproduced, or transmitted in any manner whatsoever, including but not limited to electronic or mechanical means, photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission in writing from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


For more information, contact The Bent Agency at>

Ketchup is a Vegetable
and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves


Robin O'Bryant


To Uncle Lou:
For seeing a gift in me it took thirty years to find on my own.


To Zeb, Aubrey, Emma and Sadie:
You are the loves of my life. Without the four of you I have no story worth telling.






1: Birth Control? Yes, Please.


2: It Ain’t as Easy as it Looks


3: Awkward Naked Moments


4: Baby Blues


5: Boob Sweat


6: Gettin’ Your Fitness On


7: Biscuit Dough Boobies


8: Your Husband: Your Helpmate and Your Mortal Enemy


9: The Shirt off My Back


10: Ketchup Is a Vegetable


11: Road Trips


12: Fire the Ho


13: Holy Chit and Other Faux Cuss Words You Don’t Want Your Children to Say


14: Mothers of Boys: Get Off Your High Horses


15: Wal-Mart, Porn and the F.B.I.


16: Dinnertime Drama


17: Pamper Yourself


18: In Sickness and In Health


19: Grandmothers, MeeMaws and Mimis


20: Good Game


21: Froggy Faith


22: School Daze


23: Eff the PTA and Their Effin Carpool Line


24: She Works Hard for the Money


25: Sweet Dreams


26: Boys Have a Penis


27: Here Comes the Bride’s Worst Nightmare


28: I Swear to Tell the Truth


29: Love and Marriage


30: The Birds and The Bees


31: Mall Madness


32: Why It’s All Worth It




About the author



an effort to keep you from totally losing your mind while reading this book and wondering, “Who is this woman? Where does she live and she has HOW many daughters?” I thought I'd start by telling you a little about myself.


I grew up in Jasper, Alabama and married my husband Zeb when he was nineteen and I was twenty-years-old. (If my children are reading this, we were really twenty-seven. Ahem.) We moved to Fort Worth, Texas with a teeny tiny U-Haul truck in 1998 where we lived and worked for two years. Then we loaded up a slightly less teeny truck with our stu
ff i
n 2000 and moved to Auburn, Alabama to finish our bachelors' degrees. We lived in Auburn for five years while I got a degree in nursing, worked as an ER nurse and had our first child Aubrey (who was NOT named after the school) in 2004.


We moved to Savannah, Georgia in November of 2005 for Zeb's job, (we actually needed a big truck this time) where our second daughter Emma was born. (Are you confused yet? I
should've made a diagram.) We lived in Savannah for two years then moved again in 2007 for Zeb's job. This time the move was to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, a suburb of Charleston, for another two years where we had YET another girl baby — Sadie.


Still with me?


Zeb. Married. Texas. Auburn. Aubrey. Savannah. Emma. Charleston. Sadie.


Then my husband was offered a job that would allow him to work from corporate headquarters and not require that we move every two years. We hired professional movers with eighteen-wheelers and moved to Greenwood, Mississippi in December of 2009. We made some friends, developed a social life, and quit making babies.


Most of these essays were written while living in Charleston and Greenwood while my children were tearing my house down around me. The essays in this book do not necessarily move chronologically so if Aubrey is four-years-old in one essay and two-years-old in the next, just know it's because I thought this was the best flow of the stories I had to tell.


And just to give you a little more insight into these crazy, wonderful people I get to call my family, I'm going to give you a little bio on each one.


Zeb: Love of my life. Man of my dreams. He is seriously smart. He made his ACT cry. He can and will build anything from houses and hospitals to helicopter hangars and play houses for little girls. He has taught our daughters to shoot BB guns while the girls were wearing princess dresses and high heels.


Aubrey: Our first born. Blue-eyed, freckled and with perfect strawberry blond ringlets. From ages two to four I wondered if she would break me, but she has the sweetest, most sensitive heart. She is The Boss of her sisters and occasionally of me. She can't stand for anyone to get their feelings hurt and scolds the entire family when we laugh at someone falling down on
America's Funniest Video's.
And once they are in high school, it will be Aubrey who tells the
truth and reveals where Emma
actually is.
.. as opposed to where she
tells me she is


Emma: She's always been a tiny little thing, all arms and legs. Blue-eyes and white blond hair that curls up when she's climbing trees, or disassembling her daddy's Harley. She has MacGyver's motor skills and she's not afraid to use them. Chances are if something is broken in our house — she did it. She loves to know how things work and will often take stuff apart just to see if she can figure it out. Emma is calculating and crafty. I've got Aubrey praying with me about her teenage years.


Sadie: My baaaaay-by. Sadie is laughter, dimpled cheeks and pure unadulterated fun in a toddler-shaped package. White blond hair that is always hanging into her wild blue eyes and a dedicated tormentor of her sisters — although in this book she mostly drools, eats, sleeps and poops.


Welcome to the chaos I call life.

Birth Control? Yes, Please.

should have been on the beach with my kids, building sand castles and frolicking in the ocean. (Okay, yelling at them to stop eating sand and getting sunburned.) I should have been packing a picnic to enjoy in one of hundreds of parks in the Charleston area, a picnic my children would have totally ignored while they cried for another child’s Happy Meal, but still. I should have been at our neighborhood pool, providing first aid the teenage lifeguards were incapable of rendering themselves while praying one of my children didn’t poop in the pool. I should have been anywhere but where I was — sitting on the toilet doubled over with stomach cramps.


I was eleven weeks pregnant and... ahem, a little backed up.


I was stuck on the toilet as my four-year-old and two-year-old had free reign of the house. The amount of destruction Aubrey and Emma are capable of under adult supervision is astounding, but I was going to be here for awhile and they were running rampant through my house. I was so consumed with my stomach cramps that I didn’t even have the time to be properly terrified at what was probably going on in the next room.


My legs were just starting to go numb due to loss of circulation from sitting on the toilet seat for so long when Aubrey, my oldest, came running into the bathroom.


“Momma, what are you doing?”


“I’m trying to go potty, Aubrey.”


“Ohhhhh, it’s taking a long time, huh Momma?”


“Yes it is.”


“Do you need help Momma?”


“No, honey…” I trailed off as another wave of stomach cramps and nausea swept over me. Aubrey saw my pain as an open door and yelled, “Mommy, can I have some candy?”


“If you can reach it in the pantry you can have whatever you want.”


She ran out of the room as fast as her little feet would carry her, before I could change my mind and I heard her yell to her sister, “Momma said we could have candy! Come on Emma!”


the hell
had I been thinking when I decided to have another baby? It always seemed like a good idea until the nausea hit, which for me usually starts the day I pee on a stick and continues 24-hours-a-day until I hit the thirteen-week mark. My morning sickness had gotten progressively worse with each of my pregnancies. And now, I was pregnant, in charge of two toddlers and even the slightest movement made me want to barf up my toenails. My husband was at work, all of my family was a good ten-hour drive away, and since we had recently moved
, I didn’t have a single friend I could call. Not one I could discuss my bowel habits with, anyway.


I had never dealt with this particular pregnancy symptom before and I was at a loss. I had tried everything I knew to do as a nurse… drinking fluids, eating prunes, taking stool softeners. I knew what the next step was and I was
. My husband and I have been through a lot together but we are definitely a “poop with the door closed” kind of couple.


This pregnancy had brought me to a new low. I yelled from my throne for one of the girls to bring me the phone and dialed my husband’s number.


“Hey! 'Sup?” He asked cheerfully.


I started sobbing as I uttered words I never thought I would say to the man I love, “I need you to bring me an enema.”


I couldn’t believe I had actually said the words out loud. But there was no way I could load two kids into car seats and wrangle them through a pharmacy to purchase what I needed. I waited in the bathroom while Aubrey and Emma sat on the edge of the bathtub eating Pop-Tarts and staring at me doubled over on the toilet.


I heard Zeb’s car pull in the driveway and almost cried again when he opened the bathroom door with a bag from our drugstore in his hand.


“Do you need some help?” He asked.

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