Myrna Blyth addresses various motherhood issues in her hilarious review of “Momfidence! An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happy Parenting,” by Paula Spencer. Blyth writes:
“It is Paula’s theory – and I feel since she is a girl after my own heart, I can call her Paula – that mothers today feel too much guilt about too many things. Paula, who has four kids, admits cheerfully that she lost one of her daughters at Disney World. Several times. She always got her back.
“She also believes that nowadays mothering has become much too hard. ‘Today’s diligent mom can’t just do the weekly marketing and drop food down hungry gullets. She must buy fresh and scan labels for lethal trans fats and the many disguises of ‘white poison,’ the staple formerly known a sugar, in order to prevent diabetes and heart attacks in her children forty years down the road. She must maintain vigilance against random toxins and schools with lousy test scores. And she can’t swat an errant bottom for fear of bruising a tender psyche (or of being arrested.)’
“And she’s right. Moms today are full of worries about the fact that their toddlers can’t read, their eight-year-old won’t get into Harvard, or that their ten-year-olds aren’t on enough sports teams. ‘All this makes a parent’s job so much harder,’ says Paula who admits to a whole series of mothering no-no’s – feeding her kids cookies, letting them watch TV, and playing with Barbie dolls and toy guns . She has even stopped sending her kids to summer-enrichment programs. ‘They didn’t want to be enriched,’ she says. ‘They said there was just no time to play.’
“‘I think moms should just wing it more and rely on instinct and common sense. Parents get so much advice from experts. But how may of these experts really live with kids who snarf Scooby-Doo Fruit Roll-Rups? What parents hear about in the media are really bad moms with big problems who need help. Or obsessive moms who are super organized and are trying to raise perfect kids. Neither are good examples. We just don’t hear enough about ordinary, mainstream moms who are doing fine.’
“Paula lives in Chapel Hill where her two nearest supermarkets, Whole Food and Earth Fare, don’t stock Oreos, and where cars have bumper stickers that read ‘Proud Parent of a Baby who Can Sign 200 words.’ She writes a column for Woman’s Day where editors are pretty vigilant about editing out her belief that there is little danger if kids eat raw cookie dough. No wonder she wrote this book ‘I want to help moms relax, be more confident and have more fun with their kids,’ she writes. And the book really is both helpful and funny. What is the reaction she wants from the readers?”