Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Read for Pleasure, Make Yourself Sad

Last evening I started reading the newly-published anthology of mama-blog writing, "Sleep is for the Weak," edited by Rita Arens and including essays by several of my most favorite online mama-writers. I can hardly tell you how excited I was to have this book in my hot little hands. The second I first heard about it last spring (little did I know it had already been two brutal years in the making), I wanted it NOW NOW NOW. I ordered it off Amazon earlier this week, as soon as I'd heard that it was out early and pre-orders were already shipping; its arrival yesterday in the mail made my whole day better. Susan Wagner is in it, with one of my all-time favorite posts about being a stay-at-home mom and why one would still be one once the kids are in school; Alice Bradley is in it with a hilarious list of toddler demands; it's chock-full of brilliant writers who agreed to put their online words onto paper so readers like me can carry them around, read them in bed, save them. And the title: does any phrase sum up better, and with more we're-all-in-it camaraderie, the way it feels to be a new mom, the way you spend your nights--all those dark hours of wild insanity--nursing and soothing and rocking and checking, rather than sleeping? And how in the morning you just, well, suck it up and soldier on, take your tiredness with you into the field, pushing it aside in order to get on with the work of mothering?

But here's the thing. When you're a tired mama-writer yourself, when you too survived your postpartum mamahood solely because you discovered the mommy-writer-blogosphere and it saved you, well--reading this book can make you a little teary-eyed. The essays, they're funny and poignant and insightful and, mainly, true to life. And that can be a lot to take in sometimes, especially when you're an overtired, overworked mama in the middle of the best and simultaneously the hardest time of your life. You can get a bit sentimental about all these writers who feel like people you already know intimately, when you read their words that so closely describe your own experience. Not to mention, if you're a fairly isolated striver-writer like me, with the crickets chirping in the background every time you hit Publish, you can't help but gaze feverishly at this pleasing book and think, "I want to be in a book like this too!"

It all might make you just a little bit emotional.

Go read the book. It'll make you laugh. It might make you think weepily of your own very first postpartum period, when you may or may not have been recovering from 60 hours of back labor and a fourth degree tear so horrific you were forbidden to walk for ten weeks, and your newborn may or may not have screamed all night long for weeks on end until you began to get stomachaches every afternoon around four, and maybe you sat up late reading mommy-blogs because they made you feel better about your shocking new life. But don't worry. Because this book will also remind you of all the really good things, the funny things, about being a parent. You'll be glad to have it in your hot little hands too.


Rita Arens said...

Oh, good LORD! What a lovely review! Thank you so much, and I'm so glad you liked it.

Mnmom said...

I'll get it! Now go get "Confessions of a Slacker Mom"/

Shan said...

Argh! Can't believe I still haven't read that book, MNMom! I should have ordered it when I ordered Sleep is for the Weak! Saved on shipping! Ah, well--maybe the library?

Mnmom said...

Then also order The Three-Martini Playdate.