That day, Brooks, a self-proclaimed “uncritical consumer of anxiety,” was forced to look at American parenting culture through a whole new lens when she was arrested for leaving her four-year-old son alone in a locked car. What happened to her in the parking lot of a Virginia Target store inspired Brooks’s research into the modern culture of fear.
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
This collection is a metaphor for parenting. You love but you’re not sure why. You laugh, yet are sad at the same time. You feel and think about things you never considered before. Hard Child does not advertise itself to mothers, but it speaks a difficult truth about motherhood that usually goes unsaid. The author admits she was a hard child. It shouldn’t be surprising that her book is, too.
Will the baby live? Will she be made mother of a living child or a dead one? What signs should have been clear? What did she miss? All the ways that a woman wonders during her pregnancy, all the ways that hope can boost and betray come to the forefront as French moves through the agonizing months of trying to keep her baby alive and herself sane.
Mothers are frequently judged and shamed for the smallest perceived infractions, such as not putting a hat on the baby or letting a toddler have screen time. In “The Monastery of Motherhood,” she names the challenge of facing our own rage toward small children’s misbehavior, even as we know we would lay down our lives for them, “And so in the monastery / of motherhood I find the devil / in my own heart.”
From the moment a woman thinks about motherhood, she must make choices for, and about, her child. She chooses to try to conceive or continue an unexpected pregnancy. She decides to leave her job to care for her baby or enroll him in daycare. Each day, there are new and agonizing choices that a mother must make, although she rarely knows what the results will be.
Lori Duffy Foster
Each relationship, each interaction with others, molds us in ways that are both ordinary and sublime. We weave those experiences, old and new, into our concepts of self, and we change. We alter the ways in which we interact with others based on these ever-evolving perceptions of the people we are and the people we are becoming.
We publish reviews that explore literary work—fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry—about any form of motherhood. This includes both newly-released work and older books that we consider to be important to the genre. Read more here.