Sunday is Mother’s Day and that can mean only one thing: Time to grab every irreverent book about moms off our shelf pronto. Sure, I could write up a list right now that’s comprised entirely of sweet goo, but my mom likes her literature with a little bite to it. I bet yours does too.
An alternative paean to the women who done birthed us all:
Lauren Weedman is not okay. She’s living what should be the good life in sunny Los Angeles. After a gig as a correspondent with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, she scored parts in blockbuster movies, which led to memorable recurring roles on HBO’s Hung and Looking. She had a loving husband and an adorable baby boy. In these comedic memoirs, she turns a piercingly observant, darkly funny lens on the ways her life is actually Not Okay. She tells the story of her husband’s affair with their babysitter, her first and only threesome, a tattoo gone horribly awry, and how the birth of her son caused mama drama with her own mother and birth mother with laugh-out-loud wit and a powerful undercurrent of vulnerability that pulls off a stunning balance between comedy and tragedy.
Today’s pregnancy books may no longer recommend martinis and cigarettes to help pregnant women relax, but most offer moms-to-be a ton of worthless information–like what kind of fruit your baby is the size of at Week 16. Is there any practical value in knowing that your child resembles produce? And where’s the good stuff–the useful details, like beware of the baby registry and all the crap you will never use, or be prepared to get breast milk all over everything you own?
Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself by Ylonda Gault Caviness
“We are different–white moms and me. Very different. More or less kindred as women, but as mothers we are disparate souls. Snaps and cusses of Twitter-trending ‘Stuff black moms say’ don’t even scratch the surface.”
In this wise and funny memoir, Ylonda Gault Caviness describes her journey to the realization that all the parenting advice she was obsessively devouring as a new parent (and sharing with the world as a parenting expert on NPR, Today, in The Huffington Post, and elsewhere) didn’t mean scratch compared to her mama’s old school wisdom as a strong black woman and mother. With child number one, Caviness set her course: to give her children everything she had. Child number two came along and she patiently persisted. But when her third kid arrived, she was finally so exhausted that she decided to listen to what her mother had been saying to her for years: Give them everything they want, and there’ll be nothing left of you. In Child, Please, Caviness describes the road back to embracing a more sane–not to mention loving–way of raising children. Her mother had it right all along
How to Party With an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings
The new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants—a hilarious and charming story about a quirky single mom in San Francisco who tiptoes through the minefields of the “Mommy Wars” and manages to find friendship and love.When Mele Bart told her boyfriend Bobby she was pregnant with his child, he stunned her with an announcement of his own: he was engaged to someone else. Fast forward two years, Mele’s daughter is a toddler, and Bobby and his fiancée want Ellie to be the flower girl at their wedding. Mele, who also has agreed to attend the nuptials, knows she can’t continue obsessing about Bobby and his cheese making, Napa-residing, fiancée. She needs something to do. So she answers a questionnaire provided by the San Francisco Mommy Club in elaborate and shocking detail and decides to enter their cookbook writing contest. Even though she joined the group out of desperation, Mele has found her people: Annie, Barrett, Georgia, and Henry (a stay-at-home dad). As the wedding date approaches, Mele uses her friends’ stories to inspire recipes and find comfort, both. How to Party with an Infant is a hilarious and poignant novel from Kaui Hart Hemmings, who has an uncanny ability to make disastrous romances and tragic circumstances not only relatable and funny, but unforgettable.
Annette Bening was robbed ROBBED of an Oscar nomination for this film. It’s not a showy performance or anything but a deeply funny, touching, sometimes sad, and thoroughly three-dimensional rendering of a single mom just trying to do right by her son. The cast is fantastic. The movie? Unforgettable. This is the kind of motherhood I like to see put on film.