Some people describe the first year after becoming a mom as the craziest time of a woman’s life. I would be one of those people. My own memories seem almost unbelievable after nine years, a vague flurry of tears, laughs, and sleep-deprivation headaches. There’s just something about suddenly having this tiny, helpless human being enter your life that turns the entire world as you once knew it on its head. Perhaps it’s all hormonal, but it’s most definitely real.
In Samantha Wilde’s debut novel This Little Mommy Stayed Home, the first year of motherhood for Joy McGuire features all the usual suspects- a much-maligned flabby post-delivery belly, a rabid pursuit of more than one solid hour of sleep at a time, and the terrifying presence of chunks of hair in her shower drain each morning. But while those things may have been somewhat predictable, the strained marriage, increased challenges with a meddling mother-in-law, and overall transformation of her core identity came as a complete surprise.
The image of new motherhood as a period of frazzled nerves and circles under the eyes isn’t exactly new to contemporary fiction, but there’s something about Joy McGuire that makes her stand out from the crowd. Even when she’s exhausted and confused, she lives in these pages with an ever-present cloud of laughter around her. Her sense of humor is by far her most flattering quality, because while she certainly takes to motherhood, she also begins to behave in ways that confound even her throughout the novel. With a story told in the first person narrative style, it’s often easy to forget that only one perspective is being presented, but even considering this, there are certain people in Joy’s life who are obviously not supporting her in appropriate or reasonably expected ways, providing at least some explanation for the path she finds herself on. By the end of the novel, the reader is left wondering what will happen in Joy’s life once the laughter subsides and the reality she finds before her is finally addressed.
For this still-frazzled mom, This Little Mommy Stayed Home had me laughing out loud before I finished the first paragraph. (Seriously, one little passage about the doctor’s frank and surprising declaration upon completing the post-delivery stitching had me gasping for air. Very, very funny stuff here.) Beyond the clever title and absolutely adorable cover lies an all-too-realistic story about the ways in which life can take some unforeseen twists and turns once two become three.
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5 Minutes for Books staff reviewer Dawn stays home, still finds herself wondering what happened to her 24 year old self, and tries to keep the humor factor high in her life, especially on her blog, my thoughts exactly.