Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood by Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer
Publishing Details: Harmony, March 2019
Back-of-the-Book Summary: Mixing memoir, humor, and advice, Cat and Nat tell never-before-told stories about the stress, guilt, joy, and laundry (oh the laundry!) of being a mom in their first book. With seven kids between them and millions of fans on social media, they get real about the parts of parenting that somehow don’t make the Instagram feed. Sharing their outrageous humor, fearless myth-busting, and genuine comfort on every page, they walk you from pregnancy to the toddler years and beyond. And they dole out ridiculously honest advice, like what you think you need at the hospital when you have your first baby (lip gloss) versus what you actually need (hemorrhoid pillow), and how worried you should really be about germs (less than you are). Fearless crusaders against the perfection myth and all the gluten-free, sugar-free baking it entails, Cat and Nat assure you that you’re already doing a great job, making this an essential companion for moms everywhere.
My husband got me this book for Christmas, when I had officially been a mom for just over a month, and as soon as I saw the cover, I knew it was my kind of book. After my battle with breastfeeding, I was looking forward to hearing about other mom’s struggles.
What I Liked:
My favorite thing about this book is the fact that it’s written by two moms. Usually, having multiple authors creates an incoherent voice that I find mildly annoying, but when it comes to motherhood, I think it’s really helpful to present multiple viewpoints. Every mother is different, and every child is different, and it’s great to hear advice from different mothers with different parenting strategies. Cat and Nat may be best friends, but their respective chapters have completely different outlooks.
I also loved their nuanced perspective on the problematic illusion of the “perfect” mother. As I mentioned in a recent post about the difficulties of being a mom in your 20s, I find the “nobody’s perfect” argument about motherhood to be frustrating. Cat and Nat keep it real about the impossibility of motherhood perfection, but they do so with a lot of sensitivity. They acknowledge that the urge to be a perfect mom comes from the pressures of social media, but also from fears about hurting your children in some way. In some ways, the perfect mom ideal is harmful nonsense, but in others, it’s a drive to be your best, and they talk about how that’s confusing and damn near impossible to navigate, but it’s a reality for every mom out there. It’s just really refreshing to hear people talk about all of this with such comprehensive honesty.
Finally, I really enjoyed the pacing of the book. The chapters are short and cover a wide array of motherhood topics, and they start light-hearted and slowly become more personal, naturally drawing the reader into Cat and Nat’s world and making you care about them organically.
What I Disliked:
Although there is a lot to love about this book, I also had several problems with it. Primarily, it falls into a classic self-help book trap: failing to acknowledge that your advice comes from a very specific point of view and may not apply universally. This issue is mitigated slightly just by nature of having two authors, but the book lacks a self-awareness that can make it frustrating to read if you aren’t in the same financial/cultural/generational space as Cat and Nat (which I am not). As a relatively privileged white lady, I still had several moments where I set the book down and went “Damn, do they have any idea how privileged and out-of-touch they sound??”
I also had a big problem with their chapter about postpartum sex. Essentially, their advice for navigating sex after having a baby is to lie to your husband to get out of sex because he just can’t understand where you’re coming from. I get that men cannot fully comprehend the process of giving birth, but I never think it’s a good idea to lie to your partner, especially when it comes to sex. If your partner is going to push you for sex even after you say no, and you feel forced to lie to them to get out of it, then I can’t help but feel like that relationship needs some help. Probably more honesty and communication, not less, y’know?
The chapter was supposed to come across funny and “practical,” but to me, it just read as sad. Lying might make things easier in the short-term, but in my experience, openness about sex only makes a relationship better in the long-term, even if it’s difficult.
You Might Like This Book If…
- …you recently became a mom
- …you’ve been a mom for a while but you’re feeling frustrated or alone
- …you need a good laugh about motherhood
- …you’re feeling conflicted about your urge to be the “perfect” mom
** I do not get paid for my reviews. If you would like me to review
your book, just drop me a line on my Contact page! **