The initial impact of parenthood snuck up and smacked me on the butt the day I discovered I was pregnant. Or I should say, we were pregnant. We both had talked about it - at length - in a very abstract "someday" kind of way but we were just married (and when I say just, I mean just).
In fact, before meeting SB I didn't even really think I'd actually be a mother. I love kids and had worked as a nanny while in university (now there is an awesome form of birth control right there - but I digress) but the idea of taking on such a huge responsibility, such a huge life changing event, just seemed so - so - so not me. I'm too selfish for that kind of commitment shit. I have too much to do, too many things left on my "list", too many things that rotate around the sun called "ME". I just got married for **** sake, I'm just wrapping my head around making joint decisions with my life partner. I'm not ready for this.
Or so I thought.
Obviously I'm a mother now. And I've gotten over the shock. Well almost.
It would be easy to say that the majority of parents that I encounter on a daily basis live by the so called "book" and for them that is great but that concept made me feel a little bit Stepford. I'm weird like that. Conformity has a place, just not near me. I don't judge those who do live that way, I figure whatever works for you and your family is the best thing for you and your family.
Anyhow, one thing I have learned in the past 40 odd months: motherhood is hard (no shit sherlock). It's especially hard and difficult when you don't follow the norm. Or the things that the media barrages us with on a hourly basis: make your child a genius, do this for your kid or they will be damned to be stupid for the rest of their lives, do that and your child will FAIL!
Nothing like having the toughest, most important job in the world, coupled with a constant fight against of tide of crap from mainstream media, assvice, unsolicited advice, and a public attitude that sometimes seems to scream "we know what's best for YOUR child".
Parenting is inspiring, exciting, and exhilarating. It's also exhausting, confusing, and depressing. Not to mention how you are sometimes made to feel guilty when you put yourself first. Can't mom just have a minute? ONE FREAKIN' MINUTE? Can't mom keep some semblance of her former life without having someone (albeit sometimes just the voice in my head) chime in "life has changed forever" in a sing-song patronizing voice? Yes, life has changed forever - life has changed for everyone because of this new life - but that doesn't mean I have to give up my identity. Does it? DOES IT?
Of course it doesn't.
So where am I going with these familiar themes that you have heard from many articulate parents in the blogosphere? I recently had the pleasure to read Rockabye: From Wild to Child, Rebecca Woolf's new biographical book. Yes, Rebecca as in Girl's Gone Child.
She has composed many of these personal debates, boiling kettles of turmoil, powder kegs of motherhood dilemma in a way that I could only dream of achieving. Because this lady can write. Readers of her blog know that.
Rockabye: From Wild to Child has some new and some familiar stories of preparing for and being doused in motherhood. Rebecca has no fear in stating the things that someone like me, has kept inside my aching brain. She opens her life up to the reader and shares intimate stories of her past - her wild days. She pours out her struggle with giving up the single life, dealing with the judgement thrown out from other people (real or perceived), the impact on her relationship with her husband and family. I could relate to so many of the stories she told - way more than I would ever admit because I'm shy like that.
Rebecca has a talent so many crave. She tells a story, in this case hers, and I listened. As I read, I hoped it wouldn't end because it was one of the most tasty morsels of life heard in such a long time. It's not a glossy giggly book about motherhood - though it did make me laugh in some places. But it also made me damp eyed, made me examine my experiences in motherhood, and definitely made me nod vigorously in recognition of familiar trials.
This book may not be the same kind of experiences that every mother has encountered but it's Rebecca's story, it's damn interesting and, it may make someone look at motherhood in a different light.
Oh and in case anyone needs to know what NOT to say to the a SWAT team when they have a gun to your head - turn to page 257. How many books on experiences in motherhood contain those kind of useful nuggets of information? Exactly. And it's things like that, that make this book unique and special.
A sincere thank you to the Parent Bloggers Network for including me on this book review tour. To read what others are saying, check out the "what they are saying so far" post over at the PBN blog.