We can¬†never have enough irreverent books about parenting to keep us laughing, amirite? If you’re with me, you have to check out the brand new, very dark and very¬†hilarious¬†Hurts Like a Mother: A Cautionary Alphabet, by Jennifer Weiss and Lauren Franklin, out just in time for Mother’s Day.

Well, for a very particular kind of mother at least.

Those of you familiar with the¬†Gashlycrumb Tinies (one of my own longtime favorites) will smile before you’ve even cracked a page. But when you do? Get ready for an alphabet of parenting like nothing Dr. Sears ever imagined:

Amy overdid the Pinot at the parent potluck
Brenda was concave from a postpartum niptuck
Claire was iced out – her snacks weren’t organic
Coordinating car pools made Dee pop a Xanax.


I can’t help but laugh out loud at¬†references to the price of American Girl Dolls, the dread¬†of unexpected¬†snow days, and the toll that co-sleeping takes on¬†parents’ sex lives. True Gashlycrumb fans will even appreciate some subtle nods¬†to the original — instead of¬†Neville, who died of ennui, here, Neve dies of ennui from browsing too many parenting books.

And then there’s poor Wynne,¬†asphyxiated by inflating too many pool toys.

The self-referential humor is brought to life by Ken Lamus whose clever illustrations nod to Gorey just enough to pass as parody and not mimicry.

Related: The parenting guide full of what we all need: Laughs. Lots of them.

Hurts Like a Mother: Hilariously dark alphabet book for moms in the spirit of Edward Gorey

My only minor quibble¬†is that the book is filled with a whole lotta white women, with a few exceptions. Actually,¬†it’s filled with¬†a whole lotta white, blonde women. So perhaps¬†the authors are trading a bit on the helicopter parent¬†stereotype, as with¬†the mother¬†who develops carpal tunnel syndrome from filling out too many preschool applications.

Not that that’s limited to blondes. (Ahem, *allofBrooklyncough*)

That said, this really¬†is a fabulous little baby shower or Mother’s Day gift for any mom¬†who needs a laugh. But it’s not just for new moms — I think parents of tweens and teens will find some camaraderie with¬†Ruby, who died of shame after discovering some of her son’s less than savory texts.

Find Hurts Like a Mother: A Cautionary Alphabet, by Jennifer Weiss and Lauren Franklin at our affiliate Amazon or your local indie bookseller. Also, check out Florence Henderson reading an excerpt on YouTube.