Behind the Parent Hacks Book: Meet the Parents


The real stars of Parent Hacks are the parents who shared the hacks featured in the book.

When I started the Parent Hacks blog in 2005, I essentially shouted into the void: DOES ANYONE ELSE KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING?

The fact that someone answered — hundreds of people answered — is still unbelievable to me. Too often parents are portrayed as competitive and myopic, but I take the Parent Hacks community as evidence that most of us know we’re in this together, and want to help.

This illustration was inspired by Jill Pohl’s ACTUAL BATHTUB.

The majority of hacks in the book represent a moment when a parent paused during his or her crazy-busy-with kids life to email me a tip or photo (from a  computer or camera! This was before smart phones! #old). Some started as comments on a blog post featuring a different hack. Still others were shared by friends on their blogs or circulated in social media.

This hack was discovered by Amy Storch, who referred to men’s undershirts as MacGuyver Maternity on

One of the most fascinating things about parent hacks is that different people “discover” the same idea at different times, setting off entirely new waves of forehead smacks and cries of “why didn’t I think of that?”

The Wall of Fame

My editor, Megan, and I went back and forth about how best to visually represent the book’s community roots. After several iterations, we decided to make the hack contributors’ names the first thing you see when you open the book, and we dubbed it the “Wall of Fame.” (Next time you pick up the book, look inside the front- and back covers.)

Book designer Jean-Marc had a surprisingly difficult job getting every name to fit and still look good. Like the rest of the book, what seems simple & straightforward is actually the result of a lot of work.

A note to longtime blog readers: some of the hacks featured in the book were published on the site years ago, and I had no way to get in touch with the original contributors.

If your hack appears in the book with your name listed on the Wall of Fame, reach out to me (I’m @ashadornfest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). I will gleefully and gratefully send you a copy of the book.

The Dedication

There’s another group of readers I want to recognize: the 15 people to whom I dedicated the book.

I’ve only met 1 in person (see above!) but it hardly matters, because these people have been the heart of my community. How do I describe how this feels? They’ve kept me company for the last 10 years with their warm voices, thoughtful hacks, and emails checking in when I’d fall off the Internet map, which has happened several times over the years.

To: Caron Arnold, Sara Carlstead Brumfield, Kara Hagen, Tracy Hengst, Adrienne Jones, Jim Jones, Elana Kehoe, Stu Mark, Rob Monroe, Duane Morin, Heather Petit, Jill Pohl, Kendra Reimermann, Marjorie Wheeler and Homa Woodrum: I hope you know what your support and companionship have meant to me. (And if we haven’t already talked, email me and I’ll send you a copy of the book.)

There are so many more people whose hacks don’t appear in the book but who have still been an important part of the conversation. I wish there were a way for me to recognize every single one.

Read the rest of the Behind the Book series.