Friday, January 26, 2018

Confessions of a Domestic Failure - Bunmi Laditan

Summary:  There are good moms and bad moms -- and then there are hot-mess moms.  Introducing Ashley Keller, a career girl turned stay-at-home mom who's trying to navigate the world of Pinterest-perfect, Facebook-fantastic, and Instagram-impressive mommies but failing miserably.

When Ashley gets the opportunity to participate in the Motherhood Better boot camp run by the mommy-blog-empire maven she idolizes, she jumps at the chance to become the perfect mom she's always wanted to be.  But will she fly high or flop?

With her razor-sharp wit and knack for finding the funny in everything, Bunmi Laditan creates a character as flawed and lovable as Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood while hilariously lambasting the societal pressures placed upon every new mother.  At its heart, Ashley's story reminds moms that there's no way to be perfect, but many ways to be great.  (Summary from back of book - Image from Amazon.com)

And for good measure:  Here is a little of what's pinned to the top of her Facebook page.

If you can wash and dry laundry but know that putting it away is for losers, this book is for you.

If being around small children 24/7 has left you with the social skills of a serial killer, this book is for you.
If your car contains all four food groups, diapers in four sizes, enough rations to survive the apocalypse, Target bags you're waiting to smuggle into your home once your husband is distracted (I know you needed those tank tops/candles/ankle booties, trust me), $80 in small change, a blended family of possums, and 6lbs of Goldfish crumbs, this book is for you....
If you wear leggings so you don't have to face what size you are in regular pants now, this book is for you....
If your living room looks like a crack den sponsored by Toys R Us and Leap Frog, this book is for you.
If you Febreeze your entry way, pour bleach down the kitchen sink, and rearrange the dirty dishes 10 minutes before the love of your life gets home to make it smell like you accomplished things that day, this book is for you....
If you pin designer kid clothes but your children live in $4 Walmart shirts, this book is for you.
If you can't get your act together to save your life and motherhood has ruined your mind, body, sex life, and hair, your uniform is pajamas, and you live for bedtime but you'd run through white hot fire for your kids, this book is for you.

My Review:  I stumbled upon Bunmi Laditan's particular brand of hilarity and snark when it came across my news feed on Facebook back in 2016.  She'd written a tongue-in-cheek post about her kid's chicken nuggets and darn if I didn't fall just a little bit in love with her soul right then.  Without saying so out right, she implied that maybe the "standards" society has set for moms are a bit ridiculous.  Perhaps, you don't have to be perfect Holly Homemaker to be a good mom!  You can read it here, if you'd like.  It was just what I needed to hear and I've been following her ever since.  You can imagine my delight when I found out she'd written a book.

Confessions of a Domestic Failure is not the non-fiction novel I had hoped for, but is rather a fiction novel written in Bunmi Laditan's characteristic style - a combination of self-deprecating wit and her deliciously unfiltered perspective.  Although it's main character is a young mom named Ashley, who can't seem to get the hang of motherhood, I couldn't help but assume that it was at least in some ways autobiographical, with the author putting a little of herself and her own experiences into the character.  Whatever the source, this book was clearly written for me and every other well-meaning, exhausted, hot-mess of a mom who ever found herself questioning her sanity or her ability to parent even so much as a houseplant.  We've all had those days.  I love my children more than life itself, but the daily rigmarole of motherhood has been known to leave me figuratively curled up in a dusty corner of my brain, counting down the seconds till everyone in the house is finally asleep.  I hadn't made it two pages in before I was snorting in sisterly solidarity, reading excerpts aloud, and admiring her decidedly unique turn of phrase.  I was identifying all over the place.

Ashley's character does come off as a bit naive about the ways of the world and occasionally her hi-jinks sauntered in to the unbelievable, but the biggest problem I had was that her fictional problems started to stress me out.  I kid you not, if there is a PTSD for parenting little ones, this book should come with a trigger warning.  Though I've been out for a while, Ashley's experiences hurtled me back to the days of diaper explosions, projectile vomiting, acute loneliness, and the sleepless nights of days long past.  I still loved the author's comedic writing style, but I was actually kind of glad when Ashley's experience shifted into more foreign territory so that I identified a little less.

My overall takeaways:
1)  You don't HAVE to hand stitch all your kids cloth diapers out of home grown organic hemp, ethically sourced unicorn hair, and the discarded down of an free-range swan.  Your kids will survive  without them.  I promiseThis same rule applies to a lot of other things, so apply it liberally.
2) Social media presents an idealized reality.  No one has got it as together as it seems.  No one.  So stop comparing your actual reality to someone else's carefully crafted fantasy.

In case you're in a fragile emotional state and wondering, Ashley's story ends well, if not entirely as expected.  I'll leave it at that.  I probably won't read this book again, but I would recommend it as a good one time read to those who are looking to lighten up a bit, have a good laugh, and stop comparing themselves to other moms. 

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Might contain triggers for stressed out moms.   Also might make you snort milk out your nose.  It's a risk you'll have to take.  I can't remember any instances of language but I've got mom-brain.  So proceed with caution.

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