"Sh*tty Mom: A Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us" A Hilarious Look at Motherhood
There's something going around amongst some modern moms, perhaps as a backlash to the idealized version of motherhood that's presented in some magazines, blogs, movies or books—and just reading the titles of the blogs or books will tell you lickety-split what this trend is about: the blog-to-book Mean Moms Rule, the blog-to-soon-to-be-book Parenting, Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, Confessions of a Scary Mommy, and the latest, a just-released book called Sh*tty Moms: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us. [Side note: all of those blogs/books are great, btw!]
With a total of FOUR co-authors listed on the cover—and I'll put aside for a moment my fascination with how in the heck they managed to coordinate this monster collaboration (yes, it could also mean each wrote just 1/4 of the book, but we all know how hard it can be to wrangle a group of people together for any project, much less a book) —I will say that as soon as I saw that cover, I was intrigued. (By the way, two of those four co-authors are Today Show producers, and one writes for Conan O'Brien's show.)
The image of a mom slumped at the end of a slide, with smart phone and coffee in hand, head not visible but probably with only one eye focused on their kid—who hasn't been there? Um, I AM there. (Am I writing this from the bottom of the slide? You'll never know!)
For another thing, the cover blurb by über-mom Jessica Seinfeld (she of the home-cooked meals with pureed squash hidden in every nook and cranny) frankly states that this is: "The most inappropriate parenting book I've ever read. Loved it."
Inappropriate? So are the contents of my brain, like, most of the time. Sign me up!
But I'm also a bit jaded and I feel like I've sorta read nearly every gimlet-eyed, Dorothy-Parker-sassy-and-sardonic blog and book about being a cool, bad-ass, not-helicoptery, oh-so-slightly subversive mom— so I figured it would take a lot to make me giggle. (And besides, wasn't "Roseanne" the original Sh*tty mom, oh so many years ago?)
Basically, this book could have EASILY been a repeat of a million other things.
But it's not. It's totally unique, totally hilarious, sometimes borderline offensive, but 100% relatable. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the chapters are really short, the paragraphs are petite and pithy and each mini-chapter is summed up in little shaded boxes. I find that funny is always funnier when it's just that much quicker to get to the punch lines.
Anyways, a few of my most favorite tidbits:
From the chapter on having just one kid: "People get annoyed if you stop at one kid. They say you're selfish for not giving your kid a sibling, that your kid could turn out spoiled and awkward. These people are usually called "grandparents." Beware the grandparent! They are a vengeful folk who enjoy the schadenfreude of watching their grandchild inflict on you the same pain that you inflicted on them. And they want more of it."
From the chapter entitled "This Tradition Must Die: Handwritten Thank-you Notes": The thank-you note is a class divider. In an era when an email would suffice, the author of a thank you note reminds her recipient that she has time on her hands and a nanny to pick up the kids. She's not ending her days in an exhausted heap, watching Friends reruns and falling asleep with her makeup still on. Thank-you notes are the modern-day equivalent of pale skin and uncalloused hands." For the record, I actually like sending thank you notes -- mostly because I get all hyped up about letterpress stuff and other stationery!
From the chapter about names and nicknames for your child: "Never shorten your child's name, not even once. It's the start of a slippery slope. If friends, family or neighbors hear you call your Margaret 'Meg,' they will take matters into their own hands, and, before you know it, you're the proud owner of a 'Marge.' People are jerks that way. People like to tamper with great names. It is jealous? It must be. How else does Maureen become 'Mo' and Elizabeth become 'Betsy'?"