Sunday, February 26, 2017

Book Review: The Unmumsy Mum

The Hilarious Highs and Emotional Lows of Motherhood

Creator of the popular blog “The Unmumsy Mum,” Sarah Turner offers an uncensored account of her early years of parenting.

Sarah Turner’s first few months of parenting were tough. On the darkest of sleep-deprived days, when the baby would not settle and she was irritable and the house was a disaster-zone, she wanted to read about someone who felt the same. Someone who would reassure her that she wasn’t a total failure. But she found nothing of the sort. She decided then and there that she would write something herself. She would document parenthood as she found it. Not how she wanted to find it or how she wanted other people to think that she found it. But how it was. Warts and all. 

Thus, her blog was born. Now with thousands of followers, “The Unmumsy Mum” blog covers everything from “baby-wearing incompetence” to “second child shortcuts.” Full of candor, humor, and charm, this book—a #1 Sunday Times bestseller—shows us that we can read every parenting manual under the sun, but still have no bloody clue—and not having a clue is just fine.

The Unmumsy Mum release date is April 18th 2017.  Pre-order now at Penguin Random House and Amazon.

I posted this pic on FB saying how excited I was to review this book.  What you can't see in the original, uncropped version of this particular photo, is my kid is sitting on the sofa in the background eating boogers.  Because, gross. LOL.  And who wants to see that!

I discussed the book with my husband and encouraged him to read it, too.  He read a couple of paragraphs on a random page.  He's more in the category of "if you hate it so much, why did you have more kids?"  Which led into a more detailed conversation ending with him saying he'd never understand some things (like how hormones change women; not the first time we've had a similar conversation).  I encouraged him to read it, to help him understand. Will he read the whole thing?  I doubt it.  But his brain works differently than most people, and that's part of why I love him.

Motherhood can be very ugly.  I remember in one of my online mommy-groups one mom saying how guilty she felt for telling us other moms, although she of course loved her child to bits, she really didn't like him right then.  At all. And all of us moms got it.  Because of course we do.  We've all had bad days, weeks, months, years.  The early years are hard. Infants are cute and cuddly and soft and smell good . . . when they're freshly bathed, diapered, and happyIt's the crying, poo-splosions, vomiting, sleep deprived part that makes things, ummm . . . haha . . . less than ideal. When my son was 4 . . . saying it was an unpleasant time is a gross understatement.  Especially when your children behave like little angels for everyone . . . except you, their Mom.  Oh, they save all of that pent up frustration of being, well, 4, just for you. Motherhood isn't for the faint of heart.

The sad thing is, it's not just on social media that we paint a "selectively edited" picture of our lives. It is socially unacceptable to complain about being a parent for fear of being judged. ("if you hate it so much, why did you have more kids?" "stop complaining; these moments go by so fast" "you are so lucky, some people can't have children") and the list goes on - and then there's the strangers in public who obviously know so much more about parenting your child than you. One woman in a fabric store chastised me for attempting to quiet my absurdly loud child, who was screeching at the top of his lungs, echoing throughout the store - since he has Down Syndrome well of course I absolutely should let him do whatever he wanted because he is a "special gift from God" and of course  she knew exactly what she was talking about because her sister has a child with Fragile X Syndrome.  If I could have smacked her and gotten away with it, I would have.  Kiss my ass, lady.  You have no idea.

So we shut it all in and complain to very few.  Which is sad - moms need to know other moms have their back!  Because we've been there.  Or are right there with you.

Some things in the book stood out to me a little more just because we've lived it and learned from it - like What a Mess - I Blame the Toys.  Last year I jumped in with the "let's seriously declutter the toys" thing thanks to a friend's experience doing it - and you know, it worked!  I do believe there was just too much toy crap to choose from - he is less frustrated now, playing with toys. Simple is better. And Get Out, Get Out, Wherever You Are - having a small outing does break up the day and it gives everybody a change of scenery.  It's easy to get bored and frustrated stuck inside the same 4 walls all day, every day. Okay, gotta be honest - 99% of the chapters really spoke to me, LOL.  The one that didn't was the one about losing her mom.  I lost my dad, so I do resonate, except I have vastly different spiritual experiences (not simply beliefs, I mean actual bona fide experiences).  Spirituality is a different journey for everyone (sorry Sarah, I know you don't like the word journey!); everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and no one can travel that journey for you.

Overall - The Unmumsy Mum is a highly enjoyable read that will make you feel, if not better, at least some solidarity over the sometimes (okay, a lot of times) "not fun" journey that is parenthood. Look at the big picture - the end result, and remember that this stage is only temporary and you will get through it.


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