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Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy…

Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting

by Emily Flake

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A fun, quick read about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care, with a coda about toddlers. The author lives in/near Park Slope, Brooklyn, a.k.a. Ground Zero of the yuppie/hipster parenting wars. She's an excellent observer of this environment and about early parenthood in general: Mama Tried is laugh-out-loud funny, sprinkled with gross, graphic, entirely true bits. Pages of narrative are interspersed with illustrations and pages of cartoons (e.g. Why is my baby crying?). A great gift book (I think? Depending on the receiver's sense of humor?) for expectant parents, new parents, veteran parents.

See also: Welcome to the Club by Raquel D'Apice, Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary


I didn't feel a deep sense of her belonging to me so much as profound sense of stewardship of her. She belonged to herself, but had been given to us for safekeeping. Perhaps it was a little magical after all. (33)

I'm not entirely sure she even knows her real name. She might think "Augustine" is a thing I say when she's in trouble. (71)

[illustration of an empty toilet paper roll and a set of keys, captioned "Really the only toys you need for the first year"] (77)

A tendency toward glibness can be a gift; it keeps you from panicking too quickly and can help leaven a heavy situation. (85)

[On the breastmilk vs formula debate] People always feel entitled to say some shit to you about how you should be doing something differently. You are well within your rights to tell these people to go fuck themselves. (111)

Baby care, especially in the early days, is lonesome, isolating work. You have, in effect, moved to a new country, one where you don't know anyone yet and you haven't moved any of your stuff in and your friends won't come visit you because you live on the moon and if they do, all of a sudden you don't speak the same language anymore. (127)

[On the fun of toddlers] I liked having a baby when she was one, but babies are, unless you're a serious Baby Person, a bit boring. (174) ( )
  JennyArch | Aug 25, 2017 |
I think this author could be my soul mate. The parts on breastfeeding were so spot on I nearly laughed myself sick. As a new mom with a 3 month old, I could relate to almost everything here. Except for the stuff on smoking and binge drinking. ( )
  LISandKL | Nov 30, 2016 |
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For most people, having a child doesn't go exactly as planned. Not many are willing to admit that not only did they dislike the early days of parenting, they sometimes hated it. MAMA TRIED is a relatable collection of cartoons and essays pertaining to the good, bad, and (very) ugly parenting experiences we all face. Subjects range from "are you ready for children?" to "baby gear class-warfare." With incredible honesty, Flake tackles everything from morning sickness to sleep training, shedding much needed light on the gnarly realities of breastfeeding, child proofing, mommy groups, and every unrealistic expectation in between. MAMA TRIED will be an indispensable companion for sleepless parents and a fond reminder for those already out of the woods.… (more)

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