I recently read the book Momaholic: Crazy Confessions of a Helicopter Parent by Dena Higley.
Not being a helicopter parent myself (sometimes I think I could benefit from a few more hovering ways), I wondered what it looked like to see one crash and burn. So, OK, I’m a little sick like that. A gore lookie-loo. A rubber-necker.
Dena writes lovingly and honestly about being the mom of 4. Yeah, sometimes she’s a little crazed, but honestly, what mom, helicopter or no, isn’t crazed sometimes. This is a hard job. Some might even say it’s the hardest job they’ve had (ahem). So crazed definitely goes with the territory.
It’s a quick read, too. If you’re looking for a great subway ride distraction…you can read this lickety-split. Unfortunately, most moms don’t have extra time tucked into their handbags like everything else that seems to get stuck there, but still. Good to know it’s out there if you do find wadded up, gently used time.
Also, I love hearing about other moms in the trenches because it makes me feel less alone. I know I’m not alone, but to hear other mothers struggle and share how, or whether, they make it out is interesting to me.
Which brings me to my beef with the book. I wanted more depth, more realizations, more nuggets of the real person behind the words. The book is fully honest, though. I imagine if I sat down to coffee with Dena I could jump right into a conversation like, “So how’s Conner? How’s the baby?”
I guess my disconnect has to do with the honesty not resulting in emotional messiness that comes with revealing honestly. It’s as if obviousness has over-taken the book.
As an aside here, and maybe this is rationalization, but I know that Dena has worked in daytime soaps for such a long time that it’s possible she is on a first name basis with obvious. I mean, how many soap operas that you know are strong on unexpected, emotionally deep and complicated story lines (and not complicated for complicated’s sake)?
Soaps don’t trust their audience to do the heavy lifting when it comes to true insight because, well, in my layman’s eyes they a) have umpteen hours to fill with Drama and b) have a ratings crisis on their hands. So subtlety isn’t their strong suit and it could be my outta whack expectations that are surfacing here. But soaps are sure fun to get lost in.
Yes, Dena’s stressed and she falls apart. She can’t do it all and realizes that. The falling apart is messy, but as she lays it out, it’s not unexpected. And what she learns from it isn’t unexpected.
Change happens within her, but something tells me that either the change isn’t necessarily life changing, like you think it might or ought to be, or that the change she goes through is glossed over and simply packaged nicely.
And, for me when I picked up a book entitled “Confessions” I wanted a deep digging. I wanted a finding of one’s flaws and working to assimilate those flaws into a fabric of saneness or working to expel those flaws in an attempt to find saneness.
Maybe it’s just me who’s insane, though. Maybe it’s just my bias on the ever illusive thing called sanity that drove me to pick the book up in the first place. Maybe simply revealing that you can’t orchestrate everything is effecting meaningful change in one’s life. I don’t know.
Listen, I applaud her gumption to put this out there. Yea! She’s not perfect, she doesn’t pretend to be perfect and is proud of herself, her life and her family. That’s something right there! That’s cajones. High five, sistah!
photo credit: Crazy Confessions of a Helicopter Parent