Did you see that Anne Lamott just came out with a new book? I know. I know. Last week I was talking about Mayim Bialik’s new book and here I am again talking about another book. I’m supposed to be writing a mommy blog, not doing book reviews. But c’mon- it’s Anne Lamott! How can I not?
For those of you who are in their first year of motherhood and haven’t read Operating Instructions, get it! If I had to pick from the library of parenting books that I got during my first year as a mother, I would put this as number one on my list. A must have. There is not an ounce of parenting advice in it. It’s about as far removed from a parenting guide as you can get. It’s simply a gut wrenchingly honest account of her first year of motherhood.
One of my dear friends suggested the book to me right around the time Gus was nine months old. I devoured the entire book in one evening. Lamott gave words to the things that I couldn’t describe or was simply too afraid to utter. I was so terrified someone would think I was a bad mother if I ever dared give voice to my thoughts during that time, but she took a risk and exposed herself completely. It was exactly what I needed. I’m not sure I could have survived without it.
Gus was a colicky baby and well, if you have never had a colicky baby, you probably won’t be able to understand the havoc it wrecks on your already fragile psyche. Nothing will make you feel more incompetent as a mother than not being able to get your child to stop crying. Lamott’s son, Sam, was a colicky baby too and it was like reading my own life as I turned the pages. I cried from the sheer relief of not being alone. I read it over and over again.
Operating Instructions is how I wished we talked to each other. I wish that as mothers we weren’t so afraid to express what our experiences are really like. But we are just too afraid of the judgment that is sure to ensue. Instead, we say nothing or smile and say we are tired, but managing.
I am sure her latest book, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of my Son’s First Son, will not disappoint me. I’m fairly confident she will describe her experience becoming a grandmother with the same candor and honesty that she did in Operating Instructions. I’m not a grandmother and won’t be for some time, but I’ll be reading this book.
How about you?