I brought this book with me on a weekend getaway with my homegirls, the Strident Women, and I’m pretty sure everyone was annoyed with both me and Catherine Newman, because I COULD NOT STOP laughing out loud while reading, and reading paragraphs out loud to share with the others. You know, that whole, “OK, I promise, this is the last one … I just have to read this bit!” phenomenon. Yes. It’s that good.
I’d never read Newman’s babycenter.com blog, Bringing Up Ben and Birdy, though I had read a couple of her articles in O magazine and knew she was an insightful and sensitive writer. I wasn’t prepared for how funny she was. This is the most honest and funny parenting memoir since Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions — and, since Lamott only had one child, it’s the only parenting memoir I’ve read that offers a window into the tricky process of adding a second child to the already-full-time job of raising a toddler.
Newman is painfully honest about the bad and scary parts — like that terrible fear all throughout the pregnancy, that you’ll never love the second child as much as the first (tip to anyone reading who’s pregnant with their second child: don’t worry; you will). Or about terrible fear in general — she’s ridiculously neurotic and worry-driven, always assuming the worst outcome from any possible situation. While I’m a little more laid-back myself, there’s a lot here I, or any mom, can relate to.
It’s refreshing to read a book that so perfectly captures the inept craziness and constant neuroses of trying to raise a kid — or, worse yet, kids plural! If you have kids and you secretly suspect you’re the only one who’s constantly in danger of falling apart while all the other moms have it all together, do yourself a favour and read Waiting for Birdy. But read it alone, so you won’t keep annoying your friends and family by laughing and reading out loud.