Sunday, February 18, 2007
Mothers Who Think tales of real-life parenthood
Edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses of salon.com
This book of essays is highly recommended for anyone willing to read about the good, the bad and the ugly of motherhood. If you are someone who never wants to hear about the challenges of motherhood - this book is not for you. For example, if you are the type of mom (or you believe all moms should be someone) who makes all her/your own clothes and her kids' clothes, makes bread and all meals from scratch, whose kids wear cloth diapers and never watch television, you probably won't appreciate this book.
I keep meaning to send my copy to chanson or my friend who has a two and a half year old son and a 9 month old. I found short essays a good fit because I could pick them up and put them down easily. My friend the north node sent it to me while I was on bed rest. (I was so frazzled on bed rest and so worn out by anything remotely parenting related I didn't pick it up until the babies were six months old. It was still good).
Typically, I'm not someone who thinks comics are the greatest thing since sliced bread. But this baby blues comic a few weeks ago seemed to sum up my feelings about motherhood.
For me, motherhood has been the toughest job I've ever attempted to do.
And I'm only in the first few minutes of the race.
This book gives the recognition that being a parent is truly a difficult job. It is not an innate knowledge. Many of us have mixed feelings about parenthood - which is not always accepted or a popular perspective.
One poignant essay is by Kate Moses - "I love you both unequally". Obviously, a very contraversial topic - as most parents would like to admit that their heart grows with each child. She talks about how her love for her son is very different from her love for her daughter. She claims that it's a myth to love two people equally - thereby impossible to love both her children equally.
In another of the essays, a mother talks about giving up her daughter for adoption - and how in the end, she was the one who missed out. Not her daughter - who had so many people to love and care for her. One piece describes the close relationship a granddaughter had with her grandmother - when her mother was not able to be a stable influence.
The essays aren't all serious - some are quite amusing. For example, I think I only need to describe the title "No Diapers, No Coffee".
Another essay - Rahna Reiko Rizzuto's "What My Mother Never Told Me" was a humorous perspective of labor. She mentions being converted to drug-free childbirth for the birth of their second child as "...the equivalent of discovering religion in an airport." Some women are able to do the painkiller free childbirth. I have tremendous respect for them. In her essay - during the second or third contraction, she remembered why she had an epidural for the first birth.
I loved being able to pick up the book and put it down at any point. I appreciated the honest, wry point of view of the strong women authors of the essays.
This book is willing to look at motherhood from many angles. I appreciated it as a breath of fresh air.