I admit, I’m a little over the “Yay, let’s celebrate moms who suck!” thing that seems to have grown in popularity over the last few years. However, the hilarious new book Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us may be one of the very excellent exceptions. Because…well, first of all, it’s extremely funny. And extremely well-written. Also, because if you read between the lines, it’s not quite a celebration of terrible parenting, despite the title. But I’ll get to that.
From the very first section, entitled Your Children Want to Ruin You, (let alone the title of the book) you know you’re in for some good ol’ NSFW hilarity here, all served up in bite-sized chapters that are perfect for brain-dead new moms in particular.
Written by Emmy-nominated comedian Laurie Kilmartin, author Karen Moline, and TV producers/Today’s Moms authors Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, this zippy parenting guide is part survival guide, part drunk best friend on girl’s night out, part…well, actual good advice. I mean, it’s true–peeing on the side of the road does help you avoid unbuckling infants at rest stops! And the three lies for keeping your kid from playing with your iPad? I’ve used all of them.
I’m sure I don’t have to say this, but I will anyway: this book is noooooot for you if you are easily offended. Or even moderately offended. If you think South Park goes a little too far, then just keep on walking past Sh*tty Mom and do not stop until you get to the shelf with What to Expect. If you can’t laugh at a chapter justifying leaving the baby in the car while you run into 7-Eleven…right. What to Expect.
(What to Expect actually did make me laugh, but for far different reasons.)
I think my very favorite chapter may be Oh, You Just Had an Epic Meltdown in which the authors list of possible ways to stop beating yourself up for your failings. The thing is, they’re not only funny, they’re actually quite good. Try listing the far worse things your own mother did to you (permissible solo Girl Scout cookie-selling in the pedo condo complex). Or remind yourself you’re not a “Toddlers and Tiaras Mom.”
Because admit it: we all like to think that, don’t we.
Praise be to the authors for acknowledging the creepy weirdness that is Love You Forever.
And, I’ll probably get slammed for this in certain circles, but huge props for not holding back in the chapter about the non-mom who keeps comparing her dog to your child.
Now back to my original premise: what really makes this book work is the fact that when you wend your way through the hyperbole, you know you’re not a sh*tty mom at all. You’re a good if imperfect mom, which is why you can laugh at (or feel smug about?) tips about ignoring your kid at the park, surviving awkward race conversations, and trying to ditch moms who want to stay for playdates.
Because let’s face it, if you were a terrible mom, I doubt you’d be reading parenting books at all. Even this one. -Liz