Thursday, December 24, 2009
When people ask me what "Childproofed" is about, I'll admit that I stumble. It's not that it's a difficult question to answer, it's just that most of the time the people who ask me are the ones I realize probably
won't "get it." For example, just this weekend I was visiting with family when my younger cousin turned to me and said, "So tell me about your book. What's it about?"
"Uhh. Umm. Well."
See what I mean?
It's not that I don't think him capable of understanding. It's just that most people who truly understand motherhood and its joys and sorrows already know what the book is about by simply reading the title: Childproofed.
To a mother, that word says it all.
I had the idea for writing a novel about motherhood after an unfortunate incident involving myself and a doorjamb. While rushing to attend to my screaming infant in the middle of the night I bashed my head against the door, giving myself one heck of a shiner. Adding to my embarrassment was the fact that I had just a few months prior started a new job, so I was still "the new girl" around the workplace. In an effort to keep the rumors from flying, I penned an email explaining my shiner and sent it to everyone on the faculty. The response was overwhelming. People began stopping me in the halls, coming by my classroom, and emailing me back saying my email was hilarious and that I should consider writing. Writing had always been a hobby of mine, but had been forgotten since I'd had children. I took their advice and started a blog where I recorded the daily activities of my three young boys; however, I quickly found that I lacked the time necessary to keep it up. Still, I was full of stories, funny little quips and snatches of life that all mothers have experienced. I kept them stored away in my head until one day I looked at my husband and said "I'm going to write a book about being a mom."
There was one thing I knew before I ever started my book - that it wasn't going to be one of those happy, glowing books. I wanted it gritty, exhausting - in other words, real. If there was one thing I was bitter about concerning motherhood it was that no one ever warned me about its ugly side. I wanted other mothers to have something to read and identify with that showed the truth about parenting multiple children. Things like sometimes you don't like your children, and that's okay.
Sometimes your kids interrupt you during sex, and that's okay too. Sometimes you resent your children for what they did to your body, and guess what, that's okay too. Because at the end of the day, they are your children, and when it's all said and done the good outweighs the bad by an overwhelming margin.
So, what did I tell my cousin? I'm sure you're wondering. After hemming and hawing for a moment I said, "Well, it's really a kind of coming of age story. Only instead of coming of age, the main character is kind of coming into her own. She's rediscovering who she is now that she's a mother of two kids, and the book is about her journey in finding herself again."
He just looked at me.
He didn't get it.
That's okay. I bet you will.