I asked, practically begged , Mother Talk to review this book. I am hoping to soon start "studying" under a friend of mine who is a doula and to take some classes to start me in that direction as well as to be come a lactation consultant. This doesn't come as news to anyone who has read here for very long at all. I've talked of it often. In addition, I am really interested in becoming certified to teach family life education classes - parenting, child development, etc.
I thought that Anna Johnson's The Yummy Mummy Manifesto would make an excellent addition to my library for new moms. It's quirky, it's fun. This is no What to Expect... book by any means. Unless, of course, it's maybe What to Expect when Carrie Bradshaw is Expecting. Written by the Fug Girls.
I'll be honest. I cannot see myself as a "Yummy Mummy." But I can use what Anna Johnson has to say as a starting place to finding my way out of the frump that I sometimes find myself in. Oh, come on, you've been there, too. We wear our uniforms - jeans and a t-shirt, and our hair "styles," my current fave is the "two days unwashed with a bandana tying it up" style. You know, just like Katie Holmes and J Lo. Heh. Is this how I WANT to look? No, but most days, it's as good as it gets. Johnson encourages moms to forgo the "uniform" and indulge yourself with sexy accessories, soft textures, etc. She also points out that if you MUST wear a t-shirt that crew necks are flattering to very few women. I haven't put this to the test yet, but I have found myself wearing more v-necks and button down shirts, so there is that.
Her chapters directed toward pregnant women are unlike any I've ever seen. Her chapter "Confessions if the Horny Pear" is well, just what you think it is. I can't say that this is a phenomenon I ever experienced. Once I was past the puking stage, I felt big as a house and not sexual at all. But I have had friends who were very, um, amorous, during pregnancy and thought that it was weird. Evidently, it's not. And the author encourages moms to indulge that desire! And I'm all for it. (But if you aren't feeling this way, do not, whatever you do, let your husband read this chapter. You'll never hear the end of it.)
She has a section on the pregnant bride - "The Bride Wore Stretch Lace." And a fantastic chapter on baby names. (Her son's name is Marcello. How awesome is THAT?!) As well as the obligatory chapters on what to eat, what to take to the hospital, actual childbirth and breastfeeding. Though, all of these chapters have a certain edge and candor to them that set the book apart from all others.
As I mentioned, she talks a great deal about mommy fashion. And I find some of her advice a little far fetched for those of us not living in Manhattan, LA or other trendy, major metropolitan areas. Yes, of course, wearing a cute, short skirt with a low cut blouse and push-up bra can do wonders for your self esteem. But in most of the little military towns where I have lived most of my married life, I would feel like I was headed to a costume party. (Okay, I will admit that in the past year, I have become a huge fan of the push-up bra. Mostly because when you have as little up front as I do, a little padding & pushing up does wonders for your self confidence). What I HAVE chosen to do is use this as a starting place to evaluate myself before I leave the house. Am I just "getting by?" Or am I looking the best that I can, appropriate to the situation? Because the stained t-shirt and sweats are doing nothing for me. Short of evoking pity.
But all in all? This book is brilliant. She discusses candidly and logically(!) key mommy sore-points such as house keeping, fighting with your spouse, dealing with the day-to-day drudgery that is parenting, finances...you name it. Just reading the table of contents will make you giggle:Morning Sick in Manolos: Finding your feet & holding your ground; Breastfeeding: Going with the flow; Crafts: For Women Who Hate Them; How Old is a Young Mother? The knees are going but the rebellion carries on. Okay, I won't give them all to you. Go get this book for yourself. Even if (like me) your youngest is five. Because what you read might change your life. Or at least make you smile.