Confessions of a Slacker Mom

Most of “Confessions of a Slacker Mom” constitutes a refreshingly lighthearted mommy memoir. I disagree with Muffy Mead-Ferro in many ways (for example, I like toys and childproofing), but that’s largely because I buy into her “slacker mom” mentality yet apply the theory differently (i.e., I figure toys and childproofing produce more time to sit on the couch, not less). For most of the book, Mead-Ferro honors her declaration that “slacker” parenting requires only “a sense of what’s practical, and a willingness to listen to your inner voice, instead of bowing to the inevitable pressures.” Unfortunately, the last two chapters take on a fairly serious and judgmental tone, adding to the pressure rather than alleviating it. Nevertheless, the bulk of the uber-short book entertains with interesting (and occasionally witty) reflections on parenting like the following:

  • “I was dutifully taking all my prenatal vitamins. I’d quit smoking crack altogether. Actually, I never smoked crack, but I was made to feel that dry martinis and double lattes amounted to the same thing, so I quit drinking both of them.”
  • “I was in that to-hell-with-the-budget frame of mind that it’s so easy to get into when you’re deranged. Or eight months pregnant.”
  • “If we got new toys, it was nearly always because there was some specific toy-giving occasion – our birthday or Christmas. My strict-constructionist mother didn’t count a hula-hoop craze as a holiday, so I’d have to earn the money myself.”
  • “Have you ever noticed, though, that when a toy does more, the kid playing with it usually does less?”
  • “I’m slightly more organized than my mom was in this regard. For one thing, I don’t have a herd of cattle to minister to, so I’m not as busy. I also think I’m more of a softy than she was, in light of the fact that she didn’t cry when a calf died and I can get watery-eyed over a dog food commercial.”
  • “‘My father’s on the skoo-ul board,’ I reminded my friends[, . . . a]nd I went along for quite awhile thinking about how certain teachers better not continue to cross me because it just might cost them their jobs.”
  • “She’s not pushing him to succeed, she’s pulling him. Because she’s setting the example and she’s someone he genuinely admires.”
  • “But as my neighbors can tell you, I get mad at my kids. And I holler at them. I also say things I regret on occasion. I try to make sure I apologize, but I didn’t stop being emotional or fallible when I gave birth.”
  • “[I]t’s been said that it takes ‘a village’ to raise a child. And I say, hire one if you have to.”
  • “Our relationship isn’t perfect, but we try hard. . . . At least my kids know that two people can disagree vehemently, and still be in love. And that sometimes people (such as their mother) can even behave quite badly, and yet be forgiven.”

“Confessions of a Slacker Mom” isn’t the funniest, deepest, or most uplifting of mommy memoirs, but it was well worth the dollar I paid for my used copy and the two hours of reading time.

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