Love 2 see it

Taylor Wolfe Is Just Trying To Laugh It Off Like The Rest Of Us

@thedailytay on toddlerhood, blogging back in the day, and saving the snacks ‘til the kids go to bed.

Written by Kelly Faircloth

Taylor Wolfe has been going strong online since 2009, when she created the blog that is now The Daily Tay. But lately, you’ve probably encountered her via Instagram or TikTok, where she’s doing funny mom videos, drawing on the skills she built while training in improv at Chicago’s Second City. I bet you’ve seen at least one of her videos riffing on the absolutely unhinged world of Facebook mom groups... using Old Master paintings as a filter, which somehow makes the shenanigans that happen seem extra absurd. She’s also the author of Birdie & Harlow: Life, Loss, and Loving My Dog So Much I Didn’t Want Kids... Until I Did.

I caught up with Taylor about how the toddler years are treating her, her path to Instagram Reels, and how being a dog mom made her ready to be a human mom.

Scary Mommy: Tell me what stage of parenting you're in. Toddler trenches, right? How’s it treating you?

Taylor Wolfe: It just depends on the day. Last week I told my husband, Chris, ‘I feel like 2 is rougher than 3.’ Birdie seems so mature. And then he left town for five days and I'm like, ‘3 is the worst.’ So it's just so confusing. And our baby just turned 1, and so now she's super mobile and she's walking and wants to do everything Birdie's doing, so I'm juggling between the one who's trying to become a toddler and the one who's trying to leave toddlerhood-ish. So I'm tired and foggy a lot.

SM: You do a lot of really funny videos about all aspects of mom life and mom culture. What's your favorite thing to make comedy about?

TW: I call it my Facebook filter, the old art. I get lost in it, though. I end up having 10 minutes of footage because I just start having these characters go back and forth. And it really does remind me of sketch writing I used to do at Second City, so it feels very character-based.

Facebook can make me angry when you're like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so petty and ridiculous,’ and I don't contribute to drama, but I'm the worst at lurking on it. I'm the person who reads the comments of posts. I'm not proud, because why would I waste my time doing that? It's like my reality TV. So it's a good way for me to, rather than being angry about these comments, turn it into laughter, have fun with it.

SM: You've been writing on the internet for a long time. How has your work changed over the years as you've evolved as a person, as you've evolved into motherhood and as the platforms have evolved around you?

TW: I started my blog in 2009, because my favorite writing professor was like, ‘If you want to be a writer, write every day.’ And so I was like, ‘Well, I'll start a blog.’ I did not start it to make money. The only blogger I knew of was Perez Hilton. I had all these terrible jobs in my twenties and I would write about them. And then, as blogging culture started to get bigger, people were like, ‘You can make money doing this.’ And I would look at these beautiful Mormon mom blogs and I was like, ‘How? I don't dress like that.’ I could not figure it out, because I thought you had to fit that.

The only blogger I knew of was Perez Hilton.

But then I kept getting fired from jobs, so I was like, ‘I have to figure something out.’ And so it was through my blog where I started selling T-shirts, mostly targeted at college football stuff. And it was just to pay my rent month-by-month to not get a real job.

And then Instagram came out, and I never liked the photo aspect of blogging, but I did it. And I would take photos of food, the blurry stuff we all did. Eventually I still was trying to fit into the fashion blogger mold. I look back at these photos where I'm doing that stuff and I cringe.

I was doing stand-up comedy and Second City, and I would come up with these premises. Then Instagram stories came out in 2016, which allowed me to do what I like, which is tell stories and be conversational. And when Reels came out in 2020 during Covid, that was another game-changer.

And so while this is going on, I'm still writing on my blog all the time. That comes and goes based on busyness. But it's always been my outlet for writing. Thanks to the popularity of Reels, my friend who I met at Second City introduced me to her literary agent who saw some of the press I was getting from my Reels.

And so I was able to write a book, which is why I started all of this in the first place. That was a good moment because I was like, ‘Okay, maybe all those dumb photos I posted for five years were worth it. They had a purpose.’

SM: When you are making Reels, are you scripting them in advance or is it improv?

TW: It's mostly improv. Some I know are going to take longer than others. My Reel time right now is very limited, and so I have this one bit I really want to do, but I know it's one that's going to take longer. It starts with one general idea and I think of a few more lines. And once I start filming, a lot more comes out.

I kept getting fired from jobs, so I was like, "I have to figure something out."

SM: I think people think of Second City as you do a very specific thing with that, but it's a whole set of skills that you can use in a whole bunch of different ways.

TW: I met amazing people there, comedians and improvisers. I met some of my best friends in Chicago and we all still talk and we bounce ideas off each other.

There's so much from improv I still think about, and one of the biggest things is, if you feel stupid doing something, your audience feels stupid watching you. You can just tell when someone's awkward on camera. So when I do my silliest shit, if I don't fully believe it, I'm not posting it. But if I do something super-silly and stupid, but I actually have a total blast, I don't care if it does good or not. I'm like, ‘That was a joyful hour spent.’

SM: How do you get out of your way so that you feel like you can embrace the silly?

TW: It didn't happen right away. I always think, I wish I would've had this in high school. I was so miserable in high school, because you're so insecure. I had this same personality, but I just did not own it. I feel like it’s a hard question. It's like, ‘How do you grow up?’

I just go back to, if I'm having fun doing something and it's truly joyful, then that's worth it.

SM: Does being a mom help with it a little bit?

TW: A little bit. It also helps that I want Birdie to have this feeling of really embracing the silly. And she's super-wacky because we play wacky games and I do think I lean on a lot of my improv stuff for being a mom of, lean into it, be silly, have fun.

I want her to be really weird and own it, if that's what she likes, if she wants to be. She should be who she really is. But I just want to encourage her to just be a creative weirdo if that's what she wants.

SM: Since you were talking about your book, I wanted to ask you about how your relationship with your dog Harlow has shaped your journey as a mom.

TW: First and foremost, he made me a lot less selfish because I got him at 22 and it was like, ‘Everything I do is just for me, my world.’ I want to do this, I can go do that. But then I remember getting him and being like, ‘Oh wait, I can't run right out to shop after work. I have to go home and let my dog out.’ It started as an obligation, but then it quickly turned into I want to let my dog out. It was like I enjoyed caring for this dog so much. And it was nice to have someone else to worry about besides myself.

I would get so much secondhand joy from watching this dog when we'd go camping with him. And it was weird to me that someone else's joy could bring me so much joy. And so then that's when Chris and I were joking like, ‘Yeah, that's what people say parenthood's like.’

I want Birdie to have this feeling of really embracing the silly.

Chicago helped too, but it was all these different situations that made me want to become a mom. It is weird how much joy you get from such small things. And even though it's secondhand, it still feels very much first, somehow.

Dogs and kids really, it's cliche, but it's like they take such love for such small things and you're like, ‘Wow! Okay, that is nice.’ I smell the damn flowers. Why did I stop?

SM: When you're going through something hard — like the death of a beloved pet — how do you find it in yourself to do comedy?

TW: I don't do it if it's tough. The mom troll came out of really mean troll messages. Lavona, who fell off the chair, that's Tonya Harding's mom, the character from I, Tonya. I'd choose a Halloween costume when I was in a really hard place. I miscarried, had the partial molar right before Halloween I had my second DNC. And so for Halloween, I went as Lavona. Putting on that wig, I was like, ‘Oh, this is nice. I'm not me right now.’

I like to take something that's hard and make it into comedy. For instance, I didn't make a lot of comedy in April 2020. And there would be times I'd occasionally get on Instagram and make videos. And I got a message being like, ‘She's just not herself right now. She's going through something.’ And I was like, ‘Yes, I am.’ Even though I like to put on characters, I'm not good at faking me.

SM: How do you unwind at the end of the day?

TW: Oh my God, I don't unwind. Birdie does not sleep. She does when she goes to bed, but she could stay up till 11:00 if we let her. And so our window of adult time is just getting smaller and smaller, as it's so freaking light out here until 10:00 PM. So anyway, in my small window of downtime, I... What do I even do? I eat a bowl of Cheez-Its on the couch with wine.

I wish I read every night, but I play on my phone and watch something in the background because that's what we do. We just like to lay on the couch and play on our phones, have something on we can both talk about. We're big snackers once the girls go down.

SM: You would have to save the good snacks for after they're out of the room so you don't have to share them.

TW: Yeah, exactly. She picked out ice cream a week ago, she's forgotten about it and we've consistently eaten it every night.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Photographs by Holly Andres