Why a grandmother of 6 felt drawn to reading Bunmi Laditan’s CONFESSIONS OF A DOMESTIC FAILURE, a chick lit novel clearly written for the under 40 mommy set, is beyond me, but let it suffice to say it was a brilliant decision! Ashley Keller is a new stay-at-home mom who is, as the cover describes, a “hot mess.” She dearly loves her 8 month old daughter and her husband, but the 24/7 routine of sleep-deprived nights, lack of social interaction, endless laundry and housework, along with the guilt of being a non-nursing mom and a stubborn body that won’t bounce back to its previous hot body, have conspired to make Ashley believe she is the worst mother ever. When her husband spends more and more time at his struggling new start business, Ashley sinks even further into despair. Clearly this book should read like a tragedy, but instead it was a complete hoot. Author Laditan presents with sharp wit and humor, the absolute absurdity of how mothers continue to judge themselves and others. For Ashley, that means judging herself against her own sister, who seems to make motherhood and domesticity a smooth ride, evidenced by her sister’s frequent social media posts. Add in the oodles of pinterest postings by anonymous super-moms that Ashley peruses from the couch while baby Aubrey plays, and Ashley’s fatigued, caffeine-fueled state seems even more hopeless. But the biggest guilt producer is the television and internet sensation Emily Walker. Emily, the queen of a domesticity kingdom that rivals Martha Stewart, Oprah, and the most pulled-together actress rolled into one, feeds her adoring public daily bits of mothering wisdom via her television show, books, and social media presence. When she announces a boot-camp for mothers wanting to up their game, Ashley applies and is chosen. What follows makes for a delightfully humorous, while still touching, read. I chuckled over the absolute absurdity of Emily’s hints – Here’s January 30th’s hint:
Always incorporate your children into your exercise routine. It’s important to model healthy living. My five love to join me on my 5 a.m. walks. The baby fits snugly in my wrap and I pull my middle two in a wagon. More weight means a better workout.
Or this comment about her personal trainer/masseuse
When I met Sven I was most of you: unhappy and overweight. I couldn’t shake the last six ounces of baby weight. Within three weeks, he whipped my body into the best shape of my life. My high school cheerleading uniform is too big for me now.
Meanwhile, sleep-deprived Ashley is trying her darnest to meet each of Emily Walker’s weekly challenges, only to have each one blossom into some type of “Ashley” disaster that will leave readers chuckling and probably remembering some of their own mothering moments. For me, that was reminiscing about our neighborhood coffee clutch. With a husband who worked a third shift and three kids who needed to be kept reasonably quiet in mornings while he slept, the opportunity to leave home and spend time with other moms and their kids was a sanity saver. But like Ashley, the dark shadows of guilt always lurked as I thought about the undone laundry, unweeded garden, and numerous projects that should be tackled. Thankfully, I did not have Pinterest and Facebook to double that guilt, but there was WOMEN'S DAY and FAMILY CIRCLE!! LOL.
Truthfully, this novel was a refreshing read, and I highly recommend it to mothers of all ages.
Humor remains a powerful tonic and healer, and Bunmi Laditan will give you plenty of chances to laugh at the absurdity of our desire to outshine others, our need to judge others, and our own self-criticism. CONFESSIONS OF A DOMESTIC FAILURE is Bunmi Laditan's first novel; her other works include a Twitter account dubbed THE HONEST TODDLER. I hope she continues to provide a positive voice for motherhood.