The book market is full of parenting books and it seems a new genre has emerged. I would label the genre "bitching books." I am really not a fan of the word bitch. It seems supremely degrading to women but I just can't help myself but give this genre the name. Two books I read recently that fit into this category are Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler and My So Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn.
On the surface the books could not seem more different. The first is secular and full of potty mouth. The latter is Christian and proclaims to be inspired by the beautiful Proverb describing a Biblical wife. Smokler is a stay-at-home mom and Horn is a working mother. Neither are worth your time or money.
My belief is each of these women submitted book proposals to publishers with a grand idea of getting real about being a wife and mother with a promise to be witty and a tab bit provocative. Maybe these authors had a gem of an idea but they both failed royally. The books were cheap and the humor was bad. Both women spent pages complaining about their husbands, whining about motherhood and bitching about the unfair expectations for mothers.
Give me a break. Why is being honest about motherhood all of the negative stuff? From where I am sitting I rarely hear gratitude from women about the privileged lives we live. And I am one of the worst offenders. If either of the books offered anything positive it was that it made me realize how I am part of the problem and makes me never want to complain about my life again.
It seems a provocative and innovative book about being a wife and mother would be one that focuses on the blessings. I get that parenting is hard. I get that being a wife requires compromise. I also get that being a wife and mother are the absolute most important things in my life. They are truly the most beautiful aspects of who I am. Looking back at my full life it seems everything I have ever done has lead me to this time and place and helped shaped me to do this job.
Is it hard work? Yes it most certainly is but it is good work. Books like these that focus on the negative are not redeeming to women. They cheapen our role. They compromise our grace. They weaken our image. I am proud to be a wife and mother and even on its worse day I wouldn't trade it for anything. I think we would all be wise to remember that our lots in life could be much worse. It makes me feel a little sick to see privileged women whining about their privilege.