Friday, January 12, 2007

"The Yummy Mummy"

This past week I had a chance to review a new (to the US) book, being published by Hyperion this month; "The Yummy Mummy" by Polly Williams.

I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. Most reader moms could tell you that "Mommy" fiction is all the rage right now; 1."Oh motherhood is so hard", 2."I'll try harder and apply myself to being better/prettier/thinner", 3."It worked and now my life is perfect!" is the usual rough format. And that is exactly what I expected going into this book. What I didn't expect was the true clear voice that Ms. Williams brings to her main character, Amy, and therefore motherhood itself.

Amy is a new mom of an adorable little daughter, Evie, but at six-months, she is fighting a major case of the baby blues, dissatisfied with herself, her looks, and her life in general. She also fears that Joe, Evie's father, is having an affair. So, when she meets Alice, a mom who seems to have it all together, she is inspired to make herself over, in Alice's and the other 'yummy mummy's' images.

She soon realizes though, that 'yummy mummy' life is not all it seems to be and not the answer that she thought it was. Life seems more complicated and problem filled, not less. And we, as readers, join her on her journey through the ins and outs of finding yourself after becoming a mother.

What struck me most about this book is the trueness and familiarity of Amy's thoughts and feelings. I found myself constantly saying "that sounds like me!" Amy's struggles could be the struggles of any new mom. And though most American moms would be thrilled at the idea of a year's worth maternity leave and a maternity stipend, the cultural differences are not off-putting or overly obvious. Amy is an 'any-mom'.

Some of my favorite bits:

"I change Evie into a fresh nappy, ready for her sleep. Her skin is soft and feels damp. Her eyes are locked into mine, following me around the room. Sometimes this dependancy makes me dizzy with love. Other times, like today, it brings on a strange, cloying claustriphobia. I have to push down the clawing desire to break free, to run, to dance, into the pit of my stomach. And there it stays, a silent creature spitting up disorienting vapors, tastes of freedom."

On lying awake long after man and child have fallen asleep:

"I pretended I was asleep when he came to bed. Four hours later I'm still here, fiercely awake, thoughts rattling in my head: Mum, haven't phoned; Grandma, haven't written; Evie needs a teether. Why is it that I have a brain like a cocaine-fueled city boy yet I supposedly don't even "work"?"

"Does motherhood really require a complete sublimation of self, or just the bits that are public?"

In "The Yummy Mummy" you will find almost all kinds of middle-to-upper class mother represented. Whether it be in the yummy mummies, the local playgroup mums, Amy's own mother or in Amy herself. I guarantee you will find something that strikes a cord of your own 'mother's heart' in this book.

Polly Williams. com

Hyperion Books

Thursday, January 11, 2007

De-Lurking Week

Well, here it is, De-Lurking Week. I know that I am no one to complain about people being silent, but I'd love to hear from you guys! Leave a comment about yourself and a URL or email so that I can get back to you and thank you for de-lurking.

Monday, January 8, 2007


We are getting some snow!

It's very light and not sticking much, but it's snow just the same!

I'm sitting here on my beautiful new log bed (a wonderfully extravagant Christmas gift from my in-laws ), watching the flakes drift past the window, and feeling like I'm at a mountain lodge enjoying a vacation.

I love Winter!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Lack Of Snow

My daughter has been very disappointed in our unseasonably warm winter this year. She jumps out of bed in the morning and runs to the window to see if we have somehow had a miraculous blizzard in the night. She always looks so crestfallen at the sight of mud and rain.

I feel the same way. I've also been wishing for some cold. My husband tells me that I'm crazy to wish for bad weather, but I long for some snow and ice. I just don't feel normal without that change of the seasons.

So when Peanut called to me from across the house that she was having a snowball fight, my curiosity was piqued. I walked around the corner and there was one of the biggest messes she has made to date. Peanut had gotten into my sewing supplies and pulled out a huge bag of polyester fiberfill that I have on hand for stuffing soft toys and pillows. She had emptied the whole bag and spread it all over. The living room really did look as if it had seen a few inches of snow!

Peanut balled up a fistful of fluff and threw it at me. I didn't have the heart to scold her for the mess. We had a fluffball fight and made fluff angels on the rug and left the cleanup worries to later.

I guess the heart finds happiness where it can!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Of Cats and Kittens

My daughter has devised a new way of getting my attention.
One that makes me out of measure crazy!

When I was growing up, we had two cats. One was very playful and would curl up in your lap to purr and play anytime of the day. The other would not come near when you wanted him to, but let yourself get interested in a book or newspaper and he was there. In your face. Between the print and your eyes.

And now my daughter does this.

I am a stay at home mom. I am not an obsessive cleaner or cooker. I don't run around shopping or committee-ing all of the time. The lion's share of my effort and attention is invested in my daughter. Most of my days are spent in entertaining my very imaginative, very bossy, only child, princess. Whether it is directly, in the form of games, dress-up, or playing the paitent/king/shark/baby stand-in for her myriad of imaginings; or indirectly by choosing fun classes, playgroups, trips, or activities for us to do. I am there, being Mom, Sister, Brother, Cousin, and Friend all-in-one.

But I am also a grown-up person in my own right. I like to read. I like to knit. I like to occasionally browse my favorite internet sites. It is nice to think about something for more than three seconds.

Peanut doesn't think so.

The minute that I sit down with a book, or my knitting, or at the desk, she slithers up into my lap, between me and whatever it is that I am doing. It doesn't matter what she herself is doing or where in the house she may be. If she senses that my attention has wavered, she is there to break up the party. And it is starting to bother me.

I don't know why I find it so annoying. Most of the day I enjoy having her along, helping me cook or sweep, or empty the dryer. I try involve her in the workings of our household routine so she perceives all of us as a family and not "Peanut's Entourage". Still it seems she feels that she must be the center of MY attention.

When we are with groups of other children, she plays nicely and is part of the group. When my husband sits down to watch television, she sits quietly on his lap or at his feet and entertains herself. She is a pleasant, happy child who is a joy to have around. I think the problem lies with me.

The older I get, the more I tend to resent interruptions. Maybe it is because my thought processes seem to take so much longer than they once did. Maybe I am not quite the multi-tasker I once was. Maybe I'm just having a hard time getting through this phase of Peanut's development. I think it's a combination of everything.

Maybe we need to find more children to play with.

Maybe I need to take up drinking in the afternoon, lol!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A New Year

Here I am. 2007.

A new year full of possibilities.

I wonder what is in store for me and mine this year?

If my husband could choose, it would be a huge cash windfall, endless warm weather, and a wife who doesn't nag about all of his "Jeep time".

If my daughter could chose, it would be picnics every day, a large hole to dig in, and the human race suddenly developing the ability to do without sleep.

For me. I'm not sure what I would chose. There are so many good things about my life, that everyday I feel thankful just to be where I am. But, like everyone else, there are things that I wish would just disappear, never to bother my thoughts again. Sometimes the struggle seems as if it will overwhelm the "me" that resides inside this mother/wife, and I'll become a laundry washing, nose wiping, floor sweeping, food cooking, toy tidying automaton.

I also realize that the struggle is life. I wouldn't know I was alive if it weren't for the maddening ups and downs that make up my daily existence. I try to look at each of these crises as a whetstone that is honing my patience and kindness. Not that I am always successful at looking to the positive. I'm lucky if I manage a "glass half full" attitude even 30% of the time. But each new victory should be cause for celebration. In this instance the trying is just as beneficial as the achieving.

So what am I trying to say in this post that started out serious but has ended up sounding like an advert for some pharmicutical company? I guess it's that my new year's resolution this year is to continue to be human. No SuperMom or RoboWife. Just a woman who loves her family and friends, who is doing the best she can to leave this world a little better for her exsistence.