I was sitting in a bookstore in Hollywood talking to Neal Pollack and had just finished saying something stupid to a friend of his about her shoes when Rebecca Woolf walked in. We were introduced and Neal went on to tell me that Rebecca had just signed a book deal. I only hated her for a moment. She talked briefly about the book before being whisked away to give chase to her motherly duties.
Later, while I was reading whatever it was I was reading, Rebecca and her son Archer made a few laps around me and every time one of us would nod or smile to the other, sometimes both. Archer was oblivious to me. I doubt that Rebecca remembers any of that, but I do, because watching her and her son made me feel guilty that I hadn’t brought mine with me. Of course an hour later I was sitting around a pitcher of margaritas with Jason Avant and Whiffleboy, my colleagues at DadCentric, and I was long over any remorse of paternal guilt.
Her book, Rockabye, is now out, and upon reading it I was immediately hit by two things, a) this isn’t your typical parenting book, and b) everyone has a slut phase.
If you read Rebecca’s blog(s) then you have an idea of what to expect from her story. She is tough as she is tender and above all she is honest. Her writing is welcoming, and she invites you to come in, have a drink, take your shoes off and be comfortable in your own skin, and hers as well.
It is a narrative of insight and understanding that allows the reader to relate and reflect.
For instance: “Who are we to tame our children before they even understand what it means to be wild? Who are we to limit their experience with our own closed minds? And don’t we remember what it felt like to be kids? Because if I’m not mistaken, every single thing my mother told me not to do I did. Twice.”
Exactly. Yet, I have found myself doing just that, trying to stay the inevitable when in truth I am only delaying it, perhaps magnifying it. Her words made me stop and take a breath. I do remember what it was like to be a kid, and still, it is easy to forget. Too easy.
There is inspiration there, and it continues throughout: “Martyrdom does not bring into the world children with a strong sense of self. A mother who sacrifices her livelihood for her children is risking not only her own loss of identity but also the well-being of her children. No child deserves to be resented. It is possible to do it all well.”
And she does.
At least on paper. She will be the first to admit that she is flawed, and rather than hide her blemishes she has chosen to embrace them. They are, after all, what makes us who we are.
Hers is the real world, and it is full of rainbows.