Another two books marked as finished!
First, The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood, edited by Avital Norman Nathman. This book was excellent. It was different writers, all mothers, deconstructing ideas around internet-driven ideal of the Good Mother. You know the one–Pinterest-perfect meals and crafts and home decor, always put together, always saying and doing the exact right thing, a perfect, selfless paragon of nurturing maternal instinct and action. I’ve been haunted by the specter of this woman since I got pregnant, felt the pressure of all the “supposed to’s” and “never do’s”. It nearly undid me the first couple of months after Fig was born. All this pressure I put on myself to be this woman who doesn’t even exist, and I know she doesn’t exist, but I still want to measure up. This book captured that struggle beautifully. And the women wrote candidly about being moms and their various struggles with motherhood. There was a diverse group of moms and excellent writers. So many times I nodded in recognition or laughed or winced. Here’s the passage that I identified with the most:
I wasn’t prepared for the vulnerability of parenting, for the intense fear that I might somehow fail at the most important, most meaningful adventure of my life. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of advice; I had no way of discerning what mattered and what didn’t, whether or not I really needed to worry about BPA in water bottles or mold in humidifiers or the supposed dangers of supplementing with formula. My intense desire and self-induced pressure to become the Good Mother resulted in a myopic focus on my greatest parenting-related flaw: my inability to cook.
My greatest flaw isn’t related to cooking, but I’ve been paralyzed by perfectionism. It’s something I have to fight every day. So I loved reading this book, reinforcing that I’m not the only one, that I’m doing my best, and that I love my kid and that I’m enough. I highly recommend it.
Since that was a bit of a heavier read, I followed it up with something light and cute – Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It was the inspiration for the movie of the same name. I think it’s one of the rare instances where the movie is better, but the book was cute. Nothing life-changing, but it was entertaining enough.
So that’s where I stand on Things, and now I’m reading Bright Evening Star by Madeleine L’Engle and getting ready for Christmas. I’m looking forward to the break from work. I’m taking a few extra days off so I’m hoping to have time to do another recipe or two from Smitten Kitchen and probably start at least one more Thing. But mostly, I’m looking forward to Fig’s first Christmas!