Motherhood Martyrdom & Costso Runs
Some call it the toughest job in the world, and, as many parents know, raising children is not for the squeamish. They may be cute, but these bundles of energy are exhausting, not to mention spectacular mess-makers, and, meanwhile, parents are still required to maintain at least the illusion of sanity, togetherness, and basic sanitation. In Motherhood, Martyrdom, and Costco Runs, Whitney Dineen relates her own tales from the trenches of motherhood–from keeping one’s offspring from yodeling in public restrooms to the frightening depths of postpartum depression. It’s a wild ride, and we’re all at Costco together.
There is just so much to like about this book. The author nails the chaos that is modern-day parenting. We love our kids, but there’s an insane amount we do for them, an insane amount of pressure we put on ourselves, and all that on top of the insanity of the kids in general. Being a mom is tough, but it’s wonderful, funny, and the most exhausting thing ever. Dineen captures this humor-bordering-on-despair with an acute sense of comedic timing and a keen awareness of the often nonsensical world that is raising kids in modern society. If she doesn’t have you by “These vignettes are all relatively quick reads as I know you’re most likely enjoying them on the toilet or in the three-and-a-half minutes you can still focus at the end of the day,” then I don’t know what will.
While this brand of motherhood may not be typical for all, readers can definitely commiserate–or at least empathize–with Dineen in her search for something resembling work-life-Costco balance. She writes in the vein of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris, with a life-is-funnier-than-fiction humor. Her prose is short and punchy, making you wince along with her when her girls (ahem) say the darndest things in the checkout line and nod with understanding over her aversion to snow days. While many of the stories are humorous, Dineen doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff, such as her struggles with post-partum depression. She makes no bones about the issue and pulls no punches in her own experience and recovery.
As far as parenting essays go, this is one of the best out there. Dineen is self-depricating and relatable, as well as vulnerable, letting it all hang out in a style that is reassuring in a girlfriend-y way, seeming to say “Hey, we’re all in this together, let’s eat some soft pretzels and chat.” As promised, this is terrific bathroom reading, but also seriously enjoyable while breastfeeding, as this reviewer can testify. The biggest downside is when you have to set the book aside in order to care for your own spawn.
33 Partners Publishing