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A bracing, hilarious manifesto for motherhood as it ought to be: spontaneous, loving, and just a little bit selfish
Pre-chewing toddler food. Flash cards for two-year-olds. Endless hours of school gatherings to sit through in smiling silence. How did motherhood—which even under the best circumstances comes with a million small costs and compromises—become a venue for female martyrdom, verging on a sort of socially approved mass masochism? How did the great natural force of maternal love get channeled into a simpering, slavish adherence to an inflexible social norm, a repressive sentimentality festooned with hideous pastel baby accessories? How did the bar to good motherhood get set so high that it's impossible for modern mothers not to feel like they're failing?
It doesn't have to be this way—and Daisy Waugh is here to tell us how to opt out of the masochism cycle. Part feminist manifesto, part hilarious rant, The Kids Will Be Fine asks modern mothers to stop confusing love with subjugation. This is a book for moms everywhere who are fed up with the constant stream of unsolicited, impractical, guilt-inducing advice directed their way; for moms who have always secretly suspected that children would turn out okay even without handmade organic snacks or protective toddler headgear. With biting wit and lancing observations, Waugh gives women permission to slough off the judgments, order in some pizza, and remember that motherhood is also about the mother.
British journalist and novelist Waugh refuses to sugarcoat motherhood; in this compendium of concise, no-nonsense essays, loosely divided into the chronological stages of motherhood beginning with childbirth and ending with school-aged kids, she comments on subjects including co-sleeping (defy the experts if you dare); organic foods ("a waste of money"); the "Soppy Dad Brigade" ("soft-voiced and squeaky-soled"); and the uneasy truce between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Waugh, a mother of three, expresses ire at what she sees as society's inflexible and unreasonable expectations of mothers. She urges women not to confuse love with subjugation, and take their lives back "unparenting" by making choices that are both less complicated and less costly. According to Waugh, many mothers have become neurotic and excessively involved in their children's lives planning exorbitant birthday parties, overscheduling extracurricular activities, and getting sucked into an endless vortex of demands and attempts to please. Though devoted to her own children, Waugh rails against sentimentality and guilt, freely admitting to swearing, drinking, and living an uproariously imperfect life. Mothers of all ages and stages will be entertained by Waugh's provocative book.