I don’t swear.
The sheer amount and variety of swearing that occurs in the cavern of my own mind during the course of a day may secure me a place in hell, however. But at least I wouldn’t be without Nicole Knepper, the author of Moms Who Drink and Swear. This is the latest I book I managed to read while feeding my kids some of the hundreds of hot dogs that I’ve stockpiled in my freezer over the years because I was too busy reading this book to cook dinner.
I can say that we may be hell neighbors because, in Moms Who Drink and Swear, Nicole Knepper wonders about this possible consequence herself and simply contemplates whether or not she can handle the heat.
If we both find ourselves in the fires of hell, I will request a room next to hers. Because Nicole Knepper has given me something in the pages of this book that I didn’t even know I needed: Perspective.
Perspective on parenting, as muddling and “WTF?” as it tends to be. Perspective on who we are as females and wives and mothers and buttwipers and puke cleaners and members of our society.
Perspective on myself.
A valuable gift, indeed, because if you’re like me – and the sheer popularity of the website that led to this gem of a book illustrates that you may be – then you feel that so much of what you seem to do and say and feel on a daily basis is in polar opposition. This duality – often expressed for me in “I love my kids/I hate my kids” mental anguish – makes me wonder on a regular basis if I’m not the tiniest bit insane.
Through stories and conversations and expressed mental anguish of her own, Nikki shows through Moms Who Drink and Swear that I may be on the safe side of insanity AND that I’m not alone.
Reading Moms Who Drink and Swear is a bit like taking a really good dump. People discount the supreme relief and satisfaction from taking a really good dump. My counselor (aren’t you glad I have one?) has told me on more than one occasion that it’s a good day when you can wipe your own ass.
I mean, what a relief, right?
So in the spirit of freedom and relief from reading and enjoying this book, here are just a couple of my own – up to this point, secret – confessions.
I Hate Candyland
Really, I hate all games. It was early in our marriage that I overturned the Monopoly board in one fell swoop as my husband was winning significantly. I am what people would call “A Poor Sport.”
That incident was almost 20 years ago, and we haven’t played Monopoly (or many games, for that matter) since. I didn’t really start playing games again until my oldest child (whom I refer to as Oldest) was a preschooler and loved Candyland and wanted to play all the time. Plus, I had to learn how NOT to win, which is against my basic DNA. But seriously, who could yell “IN YOUR FACE” to a 4-year-old while crossing the finish line to the Candy Castle?
Mind numb and face streaked with tears, I talked with a friend of mine about it who wisely stated, “NOBODY likes to play Candyland. We would all rather poke our eyes out with forks.”
Well, I felt instantly better simply because I wasn’t alone in my disdain and utter dislike for this colorful and simple game. I’m happy to say that in Moms Who Drink and Swear, Nicky gives some excellent advice to handle your own family game nights.
I Would Feed My Children Popcorn for Dinner
Every day. If I could get away with it, I would feed my children popcorn and apples every night for dinner. Sometimes this is their actual dinner, but not more than once a week.
Why apples? They’re healthy.
Why popcorn and apples? Because the kids are tall enough to push the buttons on the microwave and they can tear through the apples down to the core with their chompy teeth by themselves. And I’m tired.
What’s for dinner? Problem solved.
Because, like Nikki in Moms Who Drink and Swear, I didn’t spend time dreaming about getting married and being at home with the kids as they grew up. I was a “woman of the 90s,” and I actually said that to the woman who became my mother-in-law when I was 18 years old. I said it with a straight face.
I wanted a career and maybe marriage and who knows about kids, so why did I need to know how to cook?
Turns out, people gotta eat. As Nikki says, “Dinner, children and the herp – these things are forever.” So I make dinner.
But my kids are learning to cook, too. Just sayin’.
Not a Gimmick
In Moms Who Drink and Swear, the author could have written a book that catered to a gimmick – I mean, if you’re a mom, chances are excellent that you drink and swear – and the stories could have been simply entertaining in themselves.
But what I really enjoyed about this book is the level of vulnerability the author revealed about herself and her journey through parenting. Included in these pages are pivotal questions that many of us ask:
- Am I a good mother/father/parent?
- Will my kids need therapy?
- When will kids stop puking and pooping all over the place? And the follow up question, will I ever not have to clean up puke and poop?
- Am I totally effing this up?
- Will I ever get to stop buying/planning/cooking food for people?
- What was I thinking?
- How early is too early in the day to drink wine?
The author at one point also states, “I am remarkably unremarkable.” Now this is totally out of context in that she was referring to her physical appearance. But I think this observation goes deeper, and when it comes to being a mother that many of us could – and do – apply this phrase to ourselves.
This book, this author, these readers – remarkably unremarkable?