Jill Kargman On Why Fitting In Doesn't Matter

Photographed by Christene Barberich.
For most of us, Jill Kargman's experience of having a brood of children and living in a spacious apartment on the Upper East Side feels like alien territory, but her hit Bravo show Odd Mom Out makes this rarified existence oddly relatable. As a Converse-and-ponytail mom in the land of Manolos and blowouts, Kargman (via her OMO alter ego Jill Weber) navigates a world where husbands play "credit card roulette" for laughs, moms boil and puree their own baby food, and children know how to duck-face.

It's all a bit ridiculous, and Kargman knows it. In fact, it's this outsider POV that's won her so many fans, including our own global editor-in-chief, Christene Barberich. In the latest episode of UnStyled, Kargman reveals the secret to staying sane (even through a battle with melanoma, or through a rough patch in a relationship) is a good sense of humor: "I think if you can laugh about it — that’s my first defense with everything — then you can celebrate it."

Listen below as she unloads about the pressures of fitting in and the freedom that comes with not giving into them, and then subscribe to the full season of UnStyled via iTunes.

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I think if you can laugh about it — that’s, like, my first defense with everything — then you can celebrate it.

I would love for you to talk a little bit about just that feeling of not fitting in as a parent.
"When I was a new mom, I felt like I was constantly falling short. The people who nursed, because I didn’t nurse, had said, 'Shame on you.' I probably had postpartum [depression], because I was crying during the littlest thing where some bitch at the playground would be like, 'Oh, I would never give that jar of baby food; it’s really easy, you just go to the farmers' market and you boil down the butternut squash and then you puree it, and it’s really easy and it’s so much better than that.' You know, and I just wanted to be like, 'Fuck off.' Now I’m 42, I would say 'Fuck off.'"
What do you think the secret has been for you and your husband in terms of feeling in love or feeling happy and satisfied?
"That’s such a good question. I feel like I have no answers. We had a really, sort of dark moment right around the melanoma thing, I felt like I had no identity, like, I was Harry’s wife, and Sadie and Ivy and Fletch’s mom, and I kept saying to him, 'I feel like I’m drowning in my life.' I hate to say this, because I obviously love my kids, but they put a huge strain on my marriage, and we were bickering a lot, and I felt under-valued and under-appreciated cause I was so exhausted but I didn’t have anything to technically show for it, at the end of the day. When you’re a stay-at-home mom, there’s no certificates, you know? They want their food or their thing cut up this way, and no one’s ever like, 'You’re the best mom.' It’s really hard and draining, and so when Harry would come home and be like, 'Did you have fun today?' I’d be like, 'Fun? Fun? Are you fucking kidding me? I’m exhausted.'"
I think one of the big cornerstones of your series is that you give equal weight to your relationship with your husband and your best friend, Vanessa.
"I felt that it was very important to me that Vanessa stayed a central relationship, because that was always what the show was when I originally pitched it to Bravo. We were the two men in The Muppet Show, in the balcony, seeing the world the same way, even though we had different backgrounds. And I have a real best friend named Vanessa. My parents have been married for 45 years — they’re really happily married, but they do have traditional roles. My mom’s super domestic and an amazing cook, and my dad was the breadwinner. In their marriage, it was that typical TV marriage where she didn’t have the best friend to run to. I love my husband and we have a very good relationship, but we’ve had ups and downs, and I think part of it was because I came to it with this bubble that I grew up in. Like, you have to be my everything, you’re going to be my whole world."
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