Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Review: When Did I Get Like This? by Amy Wilson

Everyone knows just how easy it is to parent children and to hold fast to the convictions we cherish about parenting, especially before we are ever actually faced with a living, breathing human being who has no qualms about making it abundantly clear that he or she was put on the planet only to rattle and test these self-same convictions. I know I looked askance at parents who parked their children in front of the television too long, who leashed their kids in public places, who fell prey to fast food and junky convenience food (mac and cheese in the blue box anyone?), and so on and so forth. Then I had my own wee people and learned that it was easy to be sanctimonious until faced with my own offspring. Then I was just plain worn down and willing to compromise. I jokingly admit to being a slacker mom, which really just means I'm doing my best even if my once impossibly high standards are now no more than curb height. But it is good to know I am not alone in this.

Subtitled The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer, and Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be, I read Amy Wilson's mothering essays and wondered if she had been spying on my life. So many of the situations she faces with her crew of three mirror what I faced with my crew of three. (As the mother of older children, I should probably not tell her that what she is facing now is merely the tip of the iceberg. I think it's almost kinder to let people discover the exponential increase that is the rule of parenting growing kids all on their own; that way they can't run away screaming even before faced with these new, more fun situations.) But Wilson has captured beautifully the humor and frustration involved not only with daily life when you live with the under four foot set, but also the ways in which society has dictated standards that Average Mom can't possibly maintain if she wants to stay sane.

Her honest and balanced accounts of the choices she's made throughout her life as a parent thus far are not presented as the be all end all of choices. In fact, more than anything, she advocates finding the things that fit for your particular family and letting the rest of society's expectations fall by the wayside. Her own family life and anecdotes about her children lead into more generalized musings on bigger, universal themes and the ways in which we live up to or fail to live up to the sometimes ridiculous standards we have created even as we find our own right way. While some of her parenting choices are different than mine, I could relate to her desire to do what is best for her kids and to learn that sometimes relaxing and going with the flow, even if if that means an iCarly catatonia, is the very best thing to do. I thoroughly enjoyed these essays and wish her the best of luck as she goes forward into the older years. As my grandmother says, "Little people, little problems. Big people, big problems." But I have no doubt that Wilson will tackle the bigger problems with the same grace and humor with which she has tackled these and I'll happily be on hand to read about them.

For more information about Amy Wilson and the book visit her webpage, her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter. Wilson also has a one woman show called Mother Load and you can find out more information about it on the blog, Facebook, and the website.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.


  1. I think that so many of us question our decisions as parents. It must be fun to read a book like this and laugh at ourselves from time to time. I'm thinking I should get my book club ladies to give this one a shot!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  2. Thanks Kristen for this lovely review! As far as the situations in the book being only the tip of the iceberg... two years after writing it, I'm just beginning to get that idea. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! Amy


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