A couple of months ago, our editor at Yummy Mummy Club asked us group of bloggers, "Would anyone like to review the book Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe, and WTF by Shannon Day and Tara Wilson?"
I think I was the first to eagerly respond, and said "I"d love to; send me the book! I love Shannon's writing, and I love that WTF is in the title of this book. Clearly, this is the perfect book for me!"
Two days later, the book arrived in the mail, and instantly, I thought "WTF did I agree to??? I haven't read a book cover to cover in THREE AND A HALF YEARS!" which happens to be the exact age of my oldest child.
Coincidence? I think not...
So despite my initial eagerness to read this book, it sat neglected on the shelf in my office for nearly two months. How embarassing!
Finally, guilt got the best of me. I hate letting people down when I commit to a project. I have a rule with myself: I'll only commit to things I know I have time to do / that I'm truly interested in doing. I say no a lot. But I said yes to this, and I truly did want to read the damn book! I just had to carve out time to do it.
So I picked a day when I knew I was going to be taking the train into the city. I hid my phone in my purse: no distractions (plus, the battery was dying - so that helped) and I snuggled down into my seat and read the first collection of short stories in the book. I smiled to myself, got goosebumps, and shed a few tears...
Lousie Gleeson's story "Stealing Time" was the first offender of ruining my make-up..."In this moment, I'm so glad those feet can't reach the floor. As I stand and watch them swing, I can hardly remember the version of myself that was convinced what was coming would be better than what was already there. In those early days, time was something I wished away. Now I wish I could get it back."
When my train pulled into Union station, I had to peel myself away from the pages and remind myself not to "walk and read" on train platforms, because that's not safe. So I reluctantly put the book back in my purse. (Always a mother, right?)
Then I met a friend for lunch, but as soon as we parted ways, I found a coffee shop and excitedly cozied into a corner and re-united myself with the pages of this lovely book.
Again: more smiles, goosebumps, and tears. I sense a theme here...
I loved how each story had a unique perspective and strong voice. I loved that I hadn't necessarily shared the same experiences of each mother, yet I could still relate to them. Neither of my children have ever been attached to a "lovie / stuffie" but now I feel like I completely understand the complexity of this relationship. Thank you, Jen Dean. Neither of my children have ever wiped their feces on the wall, but now I feel like I too have lived through the experience, so thank you Tamara Schroeder. I have a new-found respect for the strength of the gag-reflex on mothers of poop-smearers.
And isn't this what a huge part of motherhood is all about? Connecting with one another, and sharing our stories so we feel less alone in this crazy world? That's why I write this blog, and that's why I loved this book.
A couple of hours later, I was on the home stretch of the book and was officially into the WTF category of short stories.
I cried reading these too, except they were salty tears from laughter. Shannon Day pees herself (again: I love this woman) and Lisa Webb plays video games with her vagina (but does she level-up? That's my attempt at gamer talk).
So as you can see, this book really does cover the gamate of parenting experiences. You will laugh, smile, nod in agreement, and most likely ruin your make-up at some point.
If you enjoy good-quality, honest writing, and snipits of stories that allow you to see into the lives of other mothers, I highly recommend this book.
Oh yeah - and it also includes many amazing martini reciepes. Y'know. Just cuz.
If I had to make a list of the things I love the most in life, it would look something like this:
1. MY KIDS & FAMILY
2. BACK & ARM TICKLES
4. CHOCOLATE & WINE
Numbers 3 and 4 are interchangeable depending on the time of day, but since it's only 9:30am, right now I love cereal more. Come 5pm, I'll love wine more. But one thing that will never change? MY LOVE OF BACK & ARM TICKLES. And face tickles. Just tickle me. Anywhere. I love it. (That sounded sexual. It's not sexual. It's just a pure and genuine love of being tickled.)
Is there anything greater in LIFE? I think not.
Seriously, since I can remember - I have loved back and arm tickles. I'm thinking back to sleepovers in 4th grade. My girlfriends and I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning talking and playing "concentration" and "criss-cross-apple-sauce" on each other's backs. If we were relaxing watching a movie together - there would always be an arm draped over someone's lap while the other person tickled and drew. After a set amount of time, you'd switch. The last 30 seconds of your "turn" were always so painful: you wanted to enjoy every last second of the tickle, but you knew it was coming to an end so...soon...
Fast forward 20 years - guess what my girlfriends and I still do when we hang out? That's right. The obsession continues, and it's pretty universal amongst the women I know in my life. Without doing proper research (because that would take too long and isn't really my "thing") I'd say that 90% of women enjoy a good arm / back tickle.
My husband on the other hand? No way.
I instinctively find myself lightly tickling my fingers up his arm when we're relaxing, only for him to swat it away like a spider. "Ooops, sorry!" I say. I forgot it actually tickles him.
But not me. I'm like a relaxed dog when you tickle my arm. My leg starts to twitch in appreciation, and a little pool of saliva gathers in the corner of my mouth. My eyes glaze over, and slowly my eyelids begin to drop. In minutes, I can be asleep. Even thinking about it right now has me on the verge of...zzzzzz.....
And on those particularly exhausting parenting days when I'm tired, and just want a break and some pampering...
"Hey Cole! Why don't you practice writing your name?....ON MY BACK!"
"Hey Maeve, let's pretend Mommy broke her arm. And here...you need to put a cast on it."
Yes, I've done both of these things, and yes, it's glorious!
If I ever get rich enough just to hire someone to tickle me while I work, you better believe I'll do it!
I have a feeling I'll get a lot of confused and strange people applying for the role though.
"Looking for an experienced tickler..." Hmmmm.