Sh*tty Mom is insightful, honest and gives great tips on useful parenting subjects such as “How to Hand off the Newborn Who Just Filled a Diaper.” It’s being called “hysterical” and even “criminally funny.” I don’t get it. Why call it anything but, “about f*cking time”?
(For the mom standing there holding your just-crapped-in-its-diaper baby and waiting for an answer, you have a “Mother’s Window” of opportunity in which to act. Says Sh*tty Mom, “Get to know your baby. Let him help you not change his diaper.”)
I like to read this book as the cover instructs: latte in one hand, smart phone in the other with my children somewhere close by. As in, somewhere on the same city block. Or in the same city. And for the laziest, most defeated, hopelessly frazzled, closest-to-running-out-the-door-and-not-look-back-if-we-have-to-watch-that-same-episode-of-Dora-again mothers among us, these sage “how to” bits of survival advice could not have arrived in our un-manicured hands at a better time.
Finally, a parenting guide as the book jacket claims, “for the rest of us.” Authors Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, and Mary Ann Zoellner get it–and by “it,” I mean that white, married, middle-class moms have it harder than a pimp out here.
Oh my goodness, thank you to these ladies for the chapter: “White Mom: How to Bounce Back After You Ask an African-American Mom if the Wrong African-American Child Is Hers.” (The “Reminder” take-away of this chapter is “It’s always OK to ask ‘Which kid is yours?'”)
If I had a dime for every awkward conversation I started based on my well-meaning-ness, combined with complete ignorance of all races, religions, and cultures that don’t trace their roots back to a mall on Long Island… well, I would probably not have to write book reviews for a living. It is hard to get it right all the time. I have a white mom friend who asked a Chinese-American mom if her daughter’s red shoes meant “good luck.” Oh my God. See? We need help.
And there is nothing funny about that.
Section Eight, or YOU AREN’T PARANOID, EVERYONE DOES HATE YOUR BABY, is about – of course – tantrums in public. Specifically, how awesome we – moms who can’t control our children at a Walmart – are for reminding all teenage girls within earshot to take their birth control pills. You’re welcome.
The particularly good advice at the end of this chapter is about lying. How great lying is. And how necessary teaching our children to lie is so they don’t point out the “…Woman Standing in Your Checkout Line Appears to Have Stopped Dieting in 2004.”
I am a big supporter of this technique. Having been in a Starbucks with a four-year-old about to say hello to the person of short stature ahead of us, or as she called him, “the funny man,” I say the more lying the better. And my favorite authors agree:
You can’t tell your kid not to notice if someone is big, tall, short, bald, hairy, white, or black. They will grow up to be terrible police officers, ineffective fiction writers, and horrible at telling jokes about three different types of people who simultaneously walk into a bar. But kids do need to know that it is rude to call a person fat to their face. For God’s sake, make sure they’re out of earshot.
Amen. Who among us has not felt the scrutiny of our kindergartner’s play date and thought Oh lord, please, do not let this kid say anything about the pimple forming a third eye on my face? I once picked my kid up at preschool after dying my hair at home. I am still haunted by, “Why does your mommy have sideburns?” Teach them to lie, and we will all get along.
Chapter 49 was written for me – morbid, dark, Criminal Minds-obsessed me. I can watch any ridiculous, gruesome, bloody, axe-in-the-groin television show. But there had better not be a freaking baby in this show. Is there a baby in this show? Oh God, does something happen to that kid? Tell me! Oh crap. I can’t watch.
Thank you Sh*tty Mom for the acknowledgment in this chapter, entitled, “Rediscover Your Passion for Violent TV, Movies, and Jokes,” that dead babies are not funny. And for the “Sh*tty Mom Media Guide” for those of us who miss laughing at “jokes about dead people of all ages.” With a good plan for desensitization, there is hope.
Clearly, I have given you only a small sample of the practical, easy-to-use ideas in Sh*tty Mom. You would benefit from doing what I did: shut off QVC for 30 minutes and dive in. The advice is solid, surprising, and often left out of our conversations with each other.
Everyone warns new parents about the lack of sleep and the endless expenses but really the worst part is that, for the rest of your life, your heart can be broken.
There is perhaps one thing more true about parenting than that: our survival is dependent on our ability to laugh – at ourselves and with each other. And so that you may do that perfectly, here is your guide.
I was given a book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Wendy Bradford is a mama of three, wife, writer, spin instructor, ardent New Yorker and blogger at mamaonetothree.com
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributors. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Guest writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.