I’ll say it right up front. This is not an unbiased review. I happen to love reading Girl’s Gone Child, by Rebecca Woolf, and I had high expectations for her first book. Rockabye: From Wild to Child is the backstory to Girl’s Gone Child, the story of how she grew up, quickly, and adjusted from a fun-loving party girl to a fun-loving mom.
This is a love story, but it’s not quite the love story that we’re used to hearing. It’s not romanticized or filled with gauzy clouds and sleeping babies. Instead, it’s a raw, honest story of what it means to fall in love with your husband, to go through childbirth with a sense of humor and a bit of fear, and to transform yourself into a mother-creature that is still true to the woman that lives inside.
Rebecca pulls no punches, telling her readers, as always, what it was really like to be young and single in L.A., accountable to no one, but yet everybody’s safety net, and then, the incredible 180′ turn that she had to make when she discovered that she was pregnant.
And she keeps having to consciously make that turn. Early motherhood is challenging, as many of us can attest. Rebecca puts it down on paper, though, admitting to questions that run through many a mama’s head, late at night. (As she puts it on page 108, “What life am I living and where do I belong? … Will I someday understand or at least get used to this? Will I ever sleep?”) She eventually answers her own questions and learns to love being a mom, playing in the sandbox, but she still occasionally has fantasies about changing it all around again, having a nanny, going to work, living in a big fancy house. This mom explores her possibilities, only finally coming to the conclusion that we are each doing the best we can in the world, raising our children and living our lives according to our own choices and circumstances, and that’s okay. As she says on page 164, and I wish this could be shouted from the mountatintops, “She is doing what she has to — balancing her worlds, her loves, her selves.”
What Rebecca has to say is something that, really, we all need to hear. There is more than one way to be a mother. There is my way, there is your way, there is her way. (Provocative question, page 148: “Who are we to tame our children before they even understand what it means to be wild?“) We each do this mothering gig in our own way, and choose our own sense of balance in a way that makes sense to us. In this book, Rebecca Woolf demonstrates clearly that you can be a mother and a woman with your own ideas and loves and ambition too.
That is a powerful message for today’s mom.
Thanks, Parent Bloggers, for giving me the chance to review this book just as it hits the bookstores.