The Bitch In The House

No, this is not my autobiography (Really? says my husband as he reads this) but a collection of essays written by 26 outstanding writers about everything related to love, work, marriage, sex and motherhood.

Recently, Marcelle blogged about Just Let Me Lie Down and some of our readers shared their favourite mothering-type books.  It’s hard for me to pick favourites when it comes to books, but this collection is one that I often go back to.

When reading the essays in The Bitch In The House edited by Cathi Hanauer, I can’t help but feel like a voyeur peaking into a neighbour’s window.  The authors write candidly about their lives and spare no detail in effort to evade embarrassment or harsh judgment.

Among my favourite essays is, Crossing the Line in the Sand:  How Mad Can Mother Get written by Elissa Schappell.  Schappell bares herself and allows readers to take the exhausting emotional journey of mothering with her. The unedited journey.

The brilliance behind this anthology is that truth abounds.  The writers check their shame with the penning of their first word and share with the reader every struggle, grotesque thought and sheer frustration they experienced when facing some of life’s greatest challenges.

Schappell does what few mainstream parenting media outlets do – she blows the lid off how intense and frightening mother anger can be.  Like a lioness, Schappell can roar ferociously at her two children, scaring even herself but moments later she can fold into them, their limbs entwined in a complicated embrace.

For myself, I never knew that I was capable of such intense feelings – of love and anger, fear and anxiety, pride and exhaustion – until I became a mother.  I found a companion in this book.  Writers who were not afraid to get real and tell the truth.  Writers who weren’t giving me saccharine reflections that nicely summed up at the end of 1700 words.  Writers I could relate to instead of glossy, empty anecdotes manufactured by an editor.

I have a shelf dedicated to mothering and parenting books in my bookcase and as I grow more confident in my skills as a parent real manuals for life, like The Bitch In The House, are slowly squeezing those “how-to” books out.

*The best part is that the essays are short, perfect for bathtub reading or limited attention spans.


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