Monday, May 23, 2011

When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, The Worrier, The Dinosaur-Chicken Nugget Buyer & Other Mothers I Swore I’d Never Be By Amy Wilson

I think When Did I Get Like This? was written for me. As a mother of three children ages five and under, it more than warms my heart to read this book in which Amy Wilson really understands the struggles of everyday life as a mother. There are so many moments as a mother that I feel that I’m alone, but this book let me know that there is someone else out there who is going through some of the same things. As the blurb on the back of the book states, “Over the last seven years of long days with little children, I have had many moments of joy, calm, and peaceful reverie." This book is about the other moments.”

When Did I get Like This? is a memoir written by Amy Wilson made up of vignettes about her life as a mother. Amy had problems getting pregnant and was overjoyed to discover she was finally going to be a mother. Unprepared for motherhood, she struggled with breastfeeding and keeping it all together. She had two more children and her adventures continued.

I really enjoyed how Amy was able to talk frankly about her struggles to keep it all together. She was an actress before she had children and a perfectionist. She had a perfect picture of what raising children would be like and soon discovered it is nothing like you think it would be. I really identified with Amy. I’m also a perfectionist and daydreamed when I was pregnant about staying home with my son and everything I would get accomplished. I quickly discovered that plans and children do not go together.

I also enjoyed that Amy has two sons and one daughter, which mirrors my own family. I felt this book perfectly captured what it is like to raise a family in this day and age. I had many laugh out loud moments as I read the book and also sympathetic nods (to myself). I even read some parts to my husband who was also amused.
I bookmarked MANY quotes that I loved and I think they do a brilliant job of illustrating Amy Wilson’s great wit and writing style.

“Breastfeeding isn’t really successful unless we do it exclusively and for a full year. (Not for one day more than a year, though; then you’re a hippie freak.”

As a current breastfeeding mother, I thought this quote was hilarious. The pressure is on these days to breastfeed for a year and you are considered odd if you go more than a year. What I also think is great is that although you are supposed to breastfeed for a year, you are not supposed to do it where anyone can possibly see you as that is weird. There are also not too many places out and about where you can breastfeed privately or pump breastmilk when you are out without your baby. People overall have very strange views on breastfeeding.

“Because when you are pregnant, everyone feels at liberty to tell you how huge you’re getting, like it’s something you want to hear.”

Luckily I didn’t suffer from this problem when I was pregnant (although I did have my share of belly rubbers, but that is a different story), but my Dad always likes to say about pregnant ladies “she’s huge!” That is how 9-month pregnant ladies look
and people don’t really need go gossip about them.

“This question was rhetorical, of course. I was not sure what exactly ‘nipple confusion’ might be, but I thanked my lucky stars I had attended this support group before I crippled my innocent son with a lifetime of it.”

I laughed out loud at this quote. Once again, if you have been a breastfeeding mother, you will understand the irony of this quote!

“Now, when someone asks me, ‘What do you do?’ . . . . I go with the job that has kept me most consistently busy for the last seven years. ‘I’m a mom,’ I say, and then I see the switch go off behind their eyes: Oh. Uninteresting, not smart, and now that I look at her, I guess she is kind of frumpy.”

This is one of my major annoyances. I’ve noticed a vast difference in how people treat me whether I tell them I’m a part-time stay at home Mom or if I tell them I’m a part-time engineer. You say “engineer” and you get instant respect, you say “Mom” and you do get a frumpy degrading look. Being a Mom is an important job, and one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had!

“The entire topic of motherhood is considered not worth one’s time unless one is a mother, and maybe not even then. Motherhood is still seen as a waste of a smart woman’s mind, as if motherhood were beneath her talents, rather than the job that most requires every ounce of strength and ingenuity that she possesses.”

I don’t know how many people has given me sad looks or made comments to me about how I’ve “thrown” my career away by not working full-time and spending time home with my kids instead. While being a mother is hard work, I love getting to spend time with my kids. This is the time I’ll never get back again as I’m sure that it will all go too quickly and they’ll be grown. Everyone has their own decisions to make when it comes to working and staying at home, but I just wish people wouldn’t be so judgmental. It goes the other way too – stay-at-home moms sometimes think it’s horrible that I have someone babysit my kids while I work.

“Then there is the other me, the one who storms into her sons’ room the next morning, saying, ‘How many times do I have to tell you to put your G-D shoes on we are going to MISS THE BUS!” and sees, just a moment, their fear that one of those shoes might be winged at them.”

I’m glad it’s not just me!

“What really chapped my fanny was that David seemed to think . . . that kids aren’t locked out or missing limbs when I get back, he expects a ticker-tape parade’s worth of gratitude. ’Aren’t you even going to thank me for unloading the dishwasher?’ he asked me one night . . . I snapped back, ‘Yes, I am. Thank you. Now, are you going to thank me every single other night, when I unload the dishwasher.”

I have a very helpful husband, but I must admit to being irked when he does expect gratitude for doing chores that I do every day all day long. Sadly I never get gratitude for them!

“Again and again, motherhood will throw things at me things for which I will feel, and may indeed be, completely unprepared. What will decide whether or not I am a good mother is not whether I am ready for such times, but how I move through the door.”

I love that quote!

Overall, if you are a mother or are thinking about becoming a mother, When did I Get Like This? is a must read. It’s a highly enjoyable book about the true trials, tribulations and joys of being a modern mother.

I am the last stop on the TLC Book Tour for When Did I Get Like This?

Book Source: Harper Collins Publishers. Thank-you!


  1. Laura, you put a lot into this review, and it was great to read. As a mom, I can totally relate to your review and to the quotes. People do judge on the basis of occupation, and moms just don't get enough respect and recognition.

  2. I think this book WAS written just for you. :) I can't wait to read it myself - though my life is a little different (just one son, age 9) I think I'd really enjoy Amy's perspective on motherhood.

    I'm so glad you were part of this tour - this books seems like a perfect fit for you!

  3. Good review! Although I'm not a mother myself, I do have great respect for Moms and all the work they put into their children, house, husbands, etc. It's an enormous job with a heck of a lot of responsibility and people do tend to overlook that these days. It's the Moms who should be looking down their noses at us yellow bellied chicken working women because we couldn't hack thier day rather than employed women looking down on "housewives". This is a good reminder.

  4. I'm only one child in, but your review made me laugh. It is so easy to forget that we are not alone as we struggle through it. This book looks like a fun reminder and a must have for moms.