If you or someone you know is in the midst of raising kids, particularly young ones, and could use a big glass of wine and a belly laugh or two, I have a suggestion: A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum freshly released in digital format.
If you have a Kindle, Nook or another kind of e-reader you can download my collection of 76 humor/parenting columns onto which I've added a new introduction reflecting on how much has changed in the past five years since the book was first published . . . like the fact that I don't write about potty training anymore, have ditched my minivan, haven't bought diapers since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and haven't had to call the nice Poison Control folks in many years to report that one of the kiddos has eaten something unspeakable, like cat vomit.
The book was described by my publisher, Wyatt-MacKenzie, thusly:
"A glimpse into the mind of a laid-back yet stressed-out, insecure, sleep-starved, TV-obsessed, news junkie, Generation X parent navigating the labyrinth of modern parenthood with three young children including a set of twins. From critiquing fashionistas who try to convince the pregnant public to buy maternity thongs and discussing whether at-home moms have sold out their feminist sisters, to tackling topics such as how to have a sex life while three kids are pounding on their parents' locked bedroom door, how to look cool while driving a minivan (a clue: you can't) and what happens when a toddler eats trash, O'Brien's collection of 76 columns illustrates how parents are living their lives in the real American suburbs, not in the white picket fenced world portrayed in fuzzy, honey-hued greeting card ads."
The web site Cool Mom Picks wrote about the book:
"O'Brien's writing is funny and real, whether she's questioning the practicality of certain maternity clothes (leopard print thongs?!); venting about the zillions of pieces of kids' toys that are constantly landing underfoot (like 'tiny plastic grenades'); or describing a game of Candy Land with her family (when NO ONE wants to land on Lord Licorice).
I found her book to be as effective as one of those marathon bitch-and-laugh sessions with another mom: it kept me laughing, even through the madness."
In a review on the web site Literary Mama, Heather Hudson wrote:
"With a healthy dose of pathos, she manages to capture the befuddlement that comes with trying to parent in the face of the opposing demands of children and lurid temptations like fast food and the veritable buffet of kids' television programming. Like many of us, she makes laborious, whole food dinners only to have them resounding rejected in favor of mac and cheese, and she takes a stab at cleaning the house despite the fact that it's routinely dismantled while she dashes to the bathroom. She and her husband even try that staple recommendation of women's magazines -- daytime sex -- while the kids are otherwise occupied. Awkward. And funny.
. . . A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum is an easily digestible, worthy distraction from the chaos of our lives. It has just the right amount of validation that we're all feeling our way blindly through this motherhood gig. There's something about sharing another's experience as she botches it up too that makes us feel like we're all more or less qualified. Even when we find our child coated in blue marker."
The publication ForeWord said:
"This book's short essays will appeal to harried mothers looking for relief from the sometimes claustrophobic world of parenting young children. In A Suburban Mom, readers will find both humor and reprieve from the outside world's view on their daily lives."
Image credit: Barnes and Noble.