I know you aren’t supposed to state the obvious but… parenting is HARD, you guys. It just is! It doesn’t matter how together your shit is. There are so many ways in which parenting is hard that to try and count all the ways, instantly overwhelms. I mean, where do I even begin?
Rage Against The Minivan: Learning to Parent without Perfection by Kristin Howerton gives the initial impression of being a dark, sardonic take on parenting. This is probably the point at which I should confess that I am not a regular reader of Kristen’s blog, though I’ve heard of it and I’ve probably read a few of her blog posts. So, if you’re not a reader of her blog either, don’t fret— you won’t be lost or feeling like you’re not in the club.
At first, I recoiled at the cliche of the hot mess mom Howerton seemed to be portraying. The Hot Mess trope annoys me as much as the Pinterest Perfect mom trope. Both reek of inauthenticity. Rage Against The Minivan goes deep, touching on anxiety, depression, racism, divorce, the isolation of motherhood and religion. Acknowledging that she can only tell her own story, she lays it out for all of us to see, and I did recognize her own introverted tendencies in myself, though I would never call myself introverted. This is what a mom squad does after all— we share our stories with each other so that we know we’re not alone.
Parts of this book had me crying as Howerton recounted the emotions that come with experiencing pregnancy loss, being adoptive parents, going through a divorce and discovering that parenting, as messy as it is, also comes with it’s fair share of joys and triumphs. The chapter about adopting her son Kembe from Haiti during the earthquake was heart-wrenching and terrifying, but ended on a high note.
If there’s anything to be taken away from Rage Against The Minivan, it’s that parenting is messy work. Here, at Lose the Cape, we’ve taken a stand against trying to be the Perfect Pinterest Mom, so in that way, Lose the Cape and Rage Against the Minivan are kindred spirits.
As the parents of older children, Howerton shows younger parents that just need to push through, summon up the strength to reject society’s “perfect mother” messaging and meet yourself where you are.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of Rage Against the Minivan or you’re just discovering her, I recommend this book. Mothers who are feeling neither here nor there will appreciate Howerton’s parenting pep talk and her willingness to be brutally honest.
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