When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer, and Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be
By: Amy Wilson
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: April 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: May 12, 2010
Thank you, Amy Wilson, for writing a book to remind mothers that it’s okay to be less than perfect.
Wilson bares all in the story of her early days as a mom. Beginning with her first pregnancy, the author recounts the joys, struggles and stresses that come with caring for an infant, toddler, and finally, young child. Wilson realizes early on that being the perfect mother, as portrayed in the media, is a near impossibility. After trying over and over to do things “right” (for instance, the way television depicts mothers), Wilson slowly becomes the mother most of us are today. The one who cares deeply for her children, who does everything she can for her kids, but who doesn’t freak out if a child plays in a sandbox and forgets to “purell” afterwards.
Wilson’s witty and somewhat self-deprecating manner kept me laughing throughout When Did I Get Like This? While my own kids are now getting ready to head off to college, I found myself grinning and remembering those days when like Wilson, I was overwhelmed, underappreciated, and felt inadequate. The author is spot on with her descriptions of daily life with three young children and how they changed her life. I particularly appreciated her observation that when her husband took the kids for five minutes, he was praised by family and strangers alike as the perfect father but she received no accolades for doing her “job” of raising the kids. Looking frumpy, yes, being the perfect mother, no. Gosh, that sounded so familiar.
Wilson tackles all sorts of subjects within the child-rearing spectrum from childbirth to the ridiculously competitive nursery school application process in New York City. The author takes on issues such as her two sons’ sibling rivalry and how they learned to play each other and their parents with hysterical accuracy. She’s not afraid to show her own shortcomings as well as her children’s imperfections (for example, when they learned to lie). Indeed, by exposing all, in a humorous way, the author has written a book that can be enjoyed by every mother who has “been there, done that.”
Quill says: With wit, sarcasm, and a bit of self-deprecation, Wilson takes the reader on a whirlwind ride through the life-changing role of motherhood.