How to (Really) Be a Mother

Emily Hourican, Author
Emily Hourican. Gill & Macmillan/Dufour, $31.95 trade paper (238p) ISBN 978-0-7171-5848-5
Reviewed on: 04/07/2014
Release date: 09/01/2013
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Hourican provides some much-needed relief from the mythology of ideal motherhood in this conversational anti-guide to parenting. The author, second child of six and mother of three, has plenty of experience on which to draw as she offers absolution for moms everywhere—no matter what she feeds her child, how many months she breast-feeds, or what she wears to pick up her child from school. She delivers a satisfying diatribe against “Yummy Mommies” (such as Demi Moore), who have been “upping the ante for all of us in a most irritating way.” As for play dates, they are “the office parties of kid land,” a “treacherous” world of “social competitiveness” that inevitably ends in tears. In spite of her cheeky Irish lilt, Hourican makes no claim to having all the answers. She will not help solve your child’s sleep problems or provide techniques for handling tantrums—nor does she think these are problems anyway. Her advice has less to do with raising well-adjusted children than inspiring well-balanced mothers. She counsels readers to throw away the parenting books, trust their instincts, and accept that parenting is messy. “It Will All Be Fine,” she whispers comfortingly at the end of the book. Hourican is a sassy, smart companion—self-deprecating, yet encouraging. (May)
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