Review: What No One Tells the Mom by Marg Stark

My editor gave me this book when I was pregnant. Since I had no attention span then (it took six sittings to watch Ocean’s Twelve), I only made it a few chapters in.

The plusses: Great narrative. Well-organized (which is as important in non-fiction as it is in fiction) and well-written. A hip, funny and smart voice. Lots of helpful tips for things like übercheap date nights. Lots and lots of interviews with moms and dads and experts, presented almost like sound bites, which makes them very digestible.

The minuses: Where it tried to be encouraging, it came off discouraging. Sometimes the wry humor was actually depressing. It felt a little like one of those books that sets you up for failure. “This will be hard, you probably won’t survive the toddler years, your husband will be a louse, you’ll have to nag him, and it’s not likely you’ll make it to kindergarten with your sense of self intact.” Oh, wait, that’s more or less on the front cover…

My parenting experiences have been some of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. I mean, it’s not as if I have the same freedom that I did before, and I have to think carefully about how Verity’s pooping schedule will coincide with whatever outing we’re planning, and I have to take into account that after about four hours of activity, she’s gonna get cranky and need a two-hour nap. And now that she’s mobile, it’s a matter of how the heck am I gonna keep her still and quiet for that two-hour plane ride?
Parenting has forced me to be more disciplined than I ever have before. I’ve gotten more accomplished in my career during my tenure as a parent than I did in the quarter of a century BK (Before Kins). I do realize that this has all the world to do with my in-laws. They not only baby-sit as much as possible, but they raised their eldest son to be a great, great dad and a wonderful husband. I mean, Jack ROCKS as a dad, and he’s really, really sensitive to my needs and well-being. I could go on and on, but he’s gonna read this and roll his eyes, so I’ll stop.
I know I’ve already started on this parenting adventure, and I’ve got a long way to go, so I’ll not judge too harshly. Certainly, there are days that I don’t want to speak to anyone or have anyone speak to me…but there were days like that before I was a mom or wife.

I’ll leave off with these thoughts: it did make me appreciate my incredible husband all the more, and I think we should really kick Grandparents Day up a couple of notches.

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