Well, hello there.
I am Rachel Toalson, parenting truth teller and mom of six wild boys born in the span of eight years. Yes, you read that right. Six boys. Eight years. Yes, I’m pretty sure I know how this happens. No, we weren’t going for a basketball team (boy band is more to my taste). Yes, we’re done (as if that’s any of your business. And if you think it is, you’re probably in the wrong place.).
The thing is, I didn’t actually loosen up and find my sense of humor until I had my kids. And now I get to make other people laugh (or maybe just be glad they’re not me) because of my tell-it-like-it-is essays. So thanks, kids. You’re making a big difference in the world already.
I am a fellow traveler on this parenting journey. I help boy moms understand that the best way to survive life with boys is with a sense of humor so they can fully embrace the wildlings they’ve been given.
I started Crash Test Parents as a way to preserve memories (because time moves so fast) and rewrite the hardest parts of parenting into something more worth remembering. I’m annoyed that my kids won’t pick up their clothes? I’ll write about it. My 3-year-old twins just emptied the gasoline can they pulled out from behind a locked door? I’ll write about that too. I totally screwed up that Spider-Man cake for the second son’s birthday? Write about it.
Parenting is the most challenging responsibility I’ve ever had in my life. There are days I get it right, and there are days I just don’t. All of those days make it into my essays, because humor really is the best medicine. If we can maintain our humor as parents, despite how the kids are tearing our homes and our hearts apart, we give them the gifts of laughter and memory and lightheartedness that can seem hard to find in our serious world.
I love my boys through humor (and the occasional serious essay). And they love me by providing plenty of material for my essays. I post three times a week: Messy Monday on Mondays, a general essay on Wednesdays and a Stuff Crash Test Kids Say on Fridays.
Here’s a Sampling of My Most Popular Posts:
Trained in the delicate art of deadline writing, I spent the first decade of my writing career on staff at newspapers like The Houston Chronicle and The San Antonio Express-News. Most recently I worked as the managing editor for a newspaper produced by The United Methodist Church. I’m still trying to convince them all to let me come back with a regular parenting column, because I’ve always wanted to be Erma Bombeck.
I am a regular contributor to Huff Post Parents, Scary Mommy, a Bundle of THYME magazine and am the author of multiple novels and creative nonfiction. I run This Writer Life, a blog that explores the challenges of writing when you’re a parent. I produce a weekly show called On My Shelf, where I talk about books and movies and music that inspire me in my writing life, and I co-host the podcast In the Boat With Ben, a show about intentional parenting and pursuing a creative career. My plate is carefully full.
I have been married to my babies’ daddy, Ben, for 12 years. And you already know I have six sons. What you might not know is that I share a three-bedroom house with all these males in San Antonio, TX.
(Photo by Helen Montoya Photography.)
In my “free time,” (Wait. What’s that?) I enjoy reading voraciously, particularly juvenile fiction, memoirs, the poetry of Rilke and W.H. Auden or anything by George R.R. Martin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Katherine Applegate, Karen Hesse, Erma Bombeck or Malcolm Gladwell.