Kat Stickler Gets Real About Motherhood

If you’ve been on TikTok — like, ever — you know Kat Stickler. If you’re anything like me, you first started following her when one of her hilarious parodies of her Hispanic mother landed on your FYP. Or maybe it was a video of her with her adorable daughter Mary Katherine, better known to fans as “MK.”

Stickler first stumbled onto the TikTok scene in May 2020, when the pandemic had everyone home making sourdough and scrolling social media. The world met her as part of a duo, with her then-husband Michael. It didn’t take long for Stickler’s humor to earn her fans, but the meteoric rise of her following coincided with the major life milestone of becoming a mom. And, in short succession, a single mom — less than a year after her social media star took off, Stickler shared the news of her split.

Millions of followers later (10.3 million on TikTok, 439k on YouTube, and 1.9 million on IG, to be precise), what you see is still pretty much what you get with Stickler. By her own admission, she’s a little weird. Endearingly goofy at times. She’s funny — sometimes intentionally, and other times by accident. And she’s honest AF. From divorce to her motorboatin’ nose (not as fun as it sounds) and pretty much everything in between, your girl’s gonna ~share.~

It’s that spirit of sharing that brought Stickler into our orbit recently. She joined forces with celebrity moms Tia Mowry, Paris Hilton, Whitney Cummings, and Aislinn Debrez as part of Walmart+’s “Mother of All Savings Membership” campaign to answer real moms’ questions and offer advice.

Just ahead of the campaign (and Mother’s Day), Stickler sat down with Scary Mommy for a candid conversation about MK, internet trolls, the art of co-parenting, and more.

Scary Mommy: What made you want to lend some advice to other moms?

Kat Stickler: Honestly, when I had MK, I was the first of all my friends to have her, and I remember the hardest thing was not knowing how to do anything. I didn’t even know how to bathe her. I didn’t know. I was just so nervous that anything I did would somehow be horrible. So, just having this little fun community where they’re like, It does take a village — just having some advice for moms — I love the premise.

SM: I want to talk about Kat, the mom. MK is four now, right?

KS: Yes, she is four, going to be five this year.

SM: What’s been the most surprising thing to you about being a mom for this age?

KS: She’s at this age where everything is, ‘No, no, no.’ I think it’s just challenging myself on the kind of mother I want to be, but also processing how to handle someone who’s four years old, who’s understanding life, who’s being a human for the first time and just trying to balance it.

Also, I still feel like a kid but I’m a mom, so it’s also learning that you have to set the example. I can’t stay up with her and watch movies because she has school, but we do that sometimes still. I don’t know, it’s fun. It’s like you have your own best friend, and you’re kind of learning who you are along the way — just like they’re learning who they are along the way too.

SM: You typically don’t ask for parenting advice on your platforms, but we all know that the internet is going to share opinions whether you ask for them or not. Have you ever gotten some really A-plus advice from the internet?

KS: I think one of them was good: To cut grapes in half. That was good advice because someone saw me giving MK grapes, and it wasn’t in a judgmental way. It was like, ‘Hey, I’m a nurse and it’s a big choking hazard for kids.’ I think MK was like 2. So, that was really helpful.

Honestly, every tip is helpful if the delivery is coming from a good place: ‘Hey, sometimes I do it like this, and it’s easier for me’ versus ‘You’re doing it wrong, and this is the right way.’ Every child is different; there is no right way.

Giving them choices was also a good one I’ve heard. ‘We need to go to school. Do you want to put your shirt on here, or do you want to put it on in the car?’ She is in the resisting stage, so giving her this illusion of choice has really helped make her feel like she has control. I think that’s all kids kind of want to feel — like they’re in control.

SM: Obviously the flip side of the good things the internet gives is bullying. As MK gets older and becomes more aware that there are some mean people out there, what will you tell her?

KS: I’m trying to decide if I’m going to start showing her less, and then also just kind of giving her the autonomy to decide if she even wants to be on social — and having that discussion because I think it does build this really good resilience.

My mom never really talked to me about that, so dealing with any kind of negativity when I was younger was weird. It’s actually helpful for me as a parent that I’ve dealt with so many opinions — probably not nice — from strangers on the internet to filter out what matters, what doesn’t, and how to process that in a healthy way without it affecting confidence or self-esteem or just self-concept.

SM: You mention your mom, and you’re famous for your hilarious impressions of her. Y’all have been very transparent about your communication and maybe a little bit of a language barrier. Has this whole experience been kind of healing or therapeutic for you?

KS: That’s literally the best way I can describe it. It’s just that mother-daughter relationships are so interesting, and I think this one has really helped us. Well, also having a kid has helped me understand my mother more, obviously. But just even having this platform helps us see other people have relationships with their moms like this, too, and it helps us enjoy the good times and look back. It’s kind of like we have a video diary of funny memories or funny things that she said, so it’s been very cathartic.

SM: Very cool. You’ve said you’re an introvert… do you think MK is an introvert or an extrovert?

KS: No, she’s an extrovert.

SM: I kind of suspected that! What do you think is the trickiest part about being an introverted mom to an extroverted child?

KS: She needs social interaction. I think it’s being friends with other moms who wouldn’t really be my friends if they didn’t have kids. You know what I mean? It’s not like my girlfriends. So, pushing myself out of my boundaries to make friends with other moms so that she has playmates and stuff. Also, she likes to go to the park, and that means I’m going to see people and just talk to people. I’m an introvert, but I’m an extrovert with the right people. If I don’t know anyone, I’m definitely an introvert, but MK helps me get out of my comfort zone.

SM: It stands to reason things will only going to get bigger and better for you. That probably means more work that takes you away from home. What’s your approach to mom guilt?

KS: I struggled with that a lot, in the beginning especially. I just felt like I was letting her down. It was super hard to coordinate because I was like, I can’t even be away from her for a day, or she’ll think I’m leaving her. But I kind of shifted the mindset. I want her to know that when you have a kid, that doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you love. You make it work, and you adapt to it, and everything will be OK.

One of the things I noticed when I was growing up was that, to my mom, I was kind of her whole world. She didn’t really have an outside of me, and that felt like a lot of pressure as well. So, I think also changing the narrative in my head, like, this is going to be good for her independence. This is going to be good for her to see. Because kids are just sponges — they don’t listen to what you say, they watch what you do. They watch every single thing you do.

SM: What do you hope she picks up from watching you?

KS: I want her to feel empowered. I feel like society has this thing where if you’re a mom and you’re having fun — or if you’re having fun without your kid — that’s not being a good mom. The number of people who have commented when I’m on a work trip or if I’m at a friend’s birthday, like, ‘Where’s your kid?’

People have so many opinions on that, and I think it really suppresses women in the sense that they do feel guilt when they have fun. I think we all just change that narrative slowly, and we’re intentional about it … it’s been four years and I still deal with mom guilt, but I try to really see the bright side. At the end of the day, if it’s best for her, then that kind of makes it all better.

SM: If you were going to give one singular best hack or piece of advice about co-parenting, what would it be?

KS: It’s hard because it was a person you loved and thought you were probably going to be with and raise your child with together for the foreseeable future. But I think in acknowledging that this person is also experiencing heartache and pain, even if they’re expressing it in a hurtful way or their own way, the conflict does die down eventually.

The process is so exhausting, and it feels like it’s going to be like that forever — and that’s so daunting. It makes you feel like you’re in fight-or-flight, which you are, but it’s also seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. How I think of it is if she’s going to have a relationship with her dad, that’s going to be so good for her. I never had one with my biological dad, so I think that always was something in the back of my mind.

Again, it’s always shifting it into the positive. It’s so easy to get offended … that was a big mindset for me for a while. Then I changed it like, OK, he’s a human being. He’s hurting too. He’s dealing with his things. He’s going to be her dad forever. I can’t change that.

It’s just understanding that and also understanding it does get better. I mean, I can only speak for my situation, but it gets better. And the better it gets, the better it is for your kid.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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