Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin van Ogtrop

Kristin van Ogtrop knows she's lucky--fulfilling career, great husband, three healthy kids, and, depending on the hamster count, an impressive roster of pets. She also knows she is tired. Always.

Using stories and insights from her own life, she provides a lexicon for the half-insane working mom. Anyone who has left a meeting to race to the Halloween parade immediately understands van Ogtrop's definition of "Kill the messenger" as "The action you must take in order to forget about the office for a time--that is, to remove your Blackberry/Treo/iPhone/whatever from your person and store it as far away as your neurotic self will allow." Filled with essays, lists, and resonant observations, JUST LET ME LIE DOWN establishes van Ogtrop as the Erma Bombeck of the new millennium.

My thoughts:
In the time since I became a mother seven years ago I have both worked and stayed home. I worked for the first year and a half of motherhood. After adding a second child to our family and trying a job sharing plan that didn't end up working out as planned which coincided with a decision to relocate across the country and sell our house (which meant I wouldn't be able to stay at that job anyway) I started staying home and I have been home now for a number of years. I know that the clock is starting to wind down to my going back to work outside of the home, but I also know in my heart that right now I am not ready to do that. This book works well for both working outside of the home moms and stay at home moms. I hate the fact that stay at home moms are viewed as not working, as if every day is a day off, but that is a whole different topic.

Kristin van Ogtrop is the editor at Real Simple Magazine and has been working since before her first child was born. Her writing is funny and easy to read. I got through the book in just a few days mostly while I was nursing my son or winding down before bed. Each chapter is arranged with a letter and alphabetical listings of terms for moms. Some examples are "accounting error" when you accidentally have one more child than you can handle, "boredom fantasy" when you remember back to when you were much younger and actually had enough free time to be bored, "ignore the tray" where you must act like a waiter and not look at all that is on your plate otherwise it will all tip- just keep you head up and keep going and you will be fine, and "that-sounds-like-fun-I'll-try it!" where you end up thinking you can do more than you can and end up in a situation that may be uncomfortable or just a pain like having your house renovated while you are still living in it.

Van Ogtrop is really funny, it is nice to read about other mothers who don't feel like they have it all together all the time. I really enjoyed the alphabetical nature of the book, it made it feel organized. Earlier this year I read a book called Mother Daze and this reminded me of that one. It was also written by a working mother who had three children and they both did a good job with relating to the reader and using humor. For all mothers and maybe even all women, there is such a balancing act going on in our lives with how much time to give to our jobs, our families and ourselves and it is so hard to achieve what feels just right for all of those areas and really, sometimes if we just managed to get a bit more sleep it would go smoother but it feels like there isn't enough time to get that rest since so much needs to be done and we just keep going around on this treadmill.

I requested this book for review from Hatchette Books and also hosted a giveaway last month. I hope my three winners (Donna, Kelsey and Kelly) enjoy the book as much as I did. To purchase this book you can go to

About the book:
Publish Date:4/1/2010
Size:5-1/2" x 8-1/4"

About the Author
Kristin van Ogtrop is the editor of Real Simple magazine and has held positions at Glamour, Vogue, Travel & Leisure, and Premiere. She lives outside New York City with her family.

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