“Kimberly Harrington deftly and hilariously uncovers all of the lies and b******t women are told about motherhood. This book made me laugh, sure, but it also made me feel seen.” — Jennifer Romolini, chief content officer at Shondaland.com and author of Weird in a World That’s Not
An emotionally honest, arresting, and funny collection of essays about motherhood and adulthood.
“Being a mother is a gift.”
Where’s my receipt?
Welcome to essayist Kimberly Harrington’s poetic and funny world of motherhood, womanhood, and humanhood, not necessarily in that order. It’s a place of loud parenting, fierce loving, too much social media, and occasional inner monologues where timeless debates are resolved such as Pro/Con: Caving to PTO Bake Sale Pressure (“PRO: Skim the crappiest brownies for myself. CON: They’re really crappy.”) With accessibility and wit, she captures the emotions around parenthood in artful and earnest ways, highlighting this time in the middle—midlife, the middle years of childhood, how women are stuck in the middle of so much. It’s a place of elation, exhaustion, and time whipping past at warp speed. Finally, it’s a quiet space to consider the girl you were, the mother you are, and the woman you are always becoming.
This funny, angry, and moving essay collection from Harrington, a copywriter and regular contributor to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, considers life for women dealing with motherhood, work, marriage, self-image, expectations, ambition, fatigue, and everything else. "Our culture has set the bar so high that it's hidden in a place where we'll never find it," she writes. Per the subtitle, the writing is often profane, but just as often poignant, as in Harrington's opening salvo, addressed to her children and titled, "I Don't Want to Be Dying to Tell You These Things," which states "you will be disappointed to learn that parents, and adults in general, do not have all the answers." Full of "righteous anger" about how quickly new mothers are expected to leap back into full-time work, nostalgia for the "nowhere-but-here" days spent with toddlers, and grief for lost loved ones, Harrington is at her best in the most personal pieces, including discussions of working from home ("The Super Bowl of Interruptions") and of trying to parent without overpraising children ("Your Participation Trophies Are Bullshit"). The collection also has short throwaways ("Your Cute Wedding Hashtags 20 Years Later") and clever humor pieces, such as an essay presenting motherhood as a job description. All of the topics covered are familiar, but Harrington's approach to them is singular, and readers particularly those who have been in the motherhood trenches will smile, laugh, and maybe even shed a tear.