Updated: Jan 30, 2020
TITLE: Maternity Leave
AUTHOR: Julie Halpern
PUBLISHER: September 1, 2015
PUBLISHED DATE: Thomas Dunne Books
I listened to the audiobook version of this book. It sounded like a series of journal entries from a stay-at-home mom caring for her newborn son. Annie is a 36 year old middle school teacher with a doting husband, a caring mother, and a healthy peppering of snark used to describe her exhaustion in caring for her new baby.
I tried not to judge - as I usually do when I read these mom books. Part of the reasons I read these type of books is to find some common ground with another mom experience. What actually happens is that I get reminded of how different my experience is - even if I may be able to identify with a few things.
Mothering is hard. It really is, and don't let anyone tell you anything different. For Annie, she questions whether she hates her son. She calls him an asshole. I mean...this really hurt my heart, and I don't care how witty she writes about it. And though I want to sit on my high horse and judge, I am well aware that there may be moms who feel like this. I am sending them all the pumpkin spice, good vibes, pilates and yogurt they need to make it through.
I didn't love or hate this book. This could very well be book about postpartum depression disguised as new mom chick lit where you you're supposed to laugh and commiserate and move on with your life. I was left cringing and waiting for Annie to hurt herself or the baby.
I could relate with Annie's difficulties in finding adequate childcare for her baby. Returning to work after having a baby is extremely difficult. And whether you have one child - like this mom or four like me...people are going to have an opinion about your choice. Especially you yourself. It is an exhausting war of the mind. Child care is expensive. Add to that, you are placing your child in the hands of someone you don't know or really trust - unless you can get a relative, and for some people that is not an option. Add to that, you still need to work to pay your bills and provide for your child. I felt the book did a really good job of addressing her challenges and this was probably the part of the book I related to the most.
All in all, this is an okay book. If you're into books about new moms, you may want to check this one out, but be warned that this mom does think of her son as an asshole. You might be this type of mom - and enjoy - this one is for you.
Recommendation: For moms whose baby or children are getting on their last damn nerve, and they are looking for a book to vent all of the things they can't tell to anyone else.
Audience: Grown folks...I mean honestly - I'm not sure a young person or a person without kids is really interested in moms bitching about their kids.