Kicking Off The Rock : An Evening in Photos*

Book Soup window display.

And of course, the door...

Uncle Frank catered the event immaculately, dear friend.

My parents drove up with my Aunt Fran and wine! Lots of wine!

It was an all-ages show! The unstoppable Lila Garrett even stopped by with her daughter, Eliza Roberts (here with Uncle Frank)

One of my oldest friends, Jamie Krell here with Jordan Feldman, looking gorgeous.

Archer watched me read... For a minute, anyway...


...Before joining me at the podium, sidekick style. After a minute, though, Hal had to cart his ass off... I was sweating like a mule up there under those lights and holding a child during a reading isn't the most comfortable of situations.

Sandwiched between Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf. Just... wow.

Also, what do you think of this little piece published yesterday in The Daily Press?

...But Woolf shows readers her warts-and-all journey from rebel child to rebel mom in order to prove something else:

That mothers don't have to let the responsibilities of child-rearing dim their dreams or damage their spirit.

"A mother who sacrifices her livelihood for 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."

She's prone to big pronouncements like that, which smack of the idealism of youth. But she actually bases her stance on child-raising advice she's gotten from her grandmother.

"Let the baby adapt to you," the grandmother insists...

...Forget adapting your life, schedule, decor to the baby?

Isn't that akin to blasphemy nowadays, when every infant chortle is charted, every childhood danger foreseen and counteracted, and there's a product available to meet a kid's every potential need?

I wonder what moms of all ages think about Woolf's mantra. Is it realistic or wishful thinking?

Is it a brass-tacks truth working-class moms have always understood or a millennial-mom paradigm?

Is it naive of me to think that parenthood doesn't have to change us to such a degree that we must drop everything and become solely "moms"? The author of the piece seems to be asking whether or not I am idealistic or a new breed of thinker. I'm neither, in my opinion. I think every mother feels pressured into complete transformation when becoming a parent and that plenty of us disagree with throwing ourselves out with the bath water.

I mean... right?

GGC


*More photos of the night, here.

49 comments:

Eating Dust | 10:39 AM

First, Congrats. The book looks awesome!
Second, I think all mothers get that general societal guilt of "shouldn't" and "good mom's don't...(insert "wrong" thing here).
Personally, though, I try to ignore what society claims is right and follow my own instinct and my children's needs. Their needs are the most important thing, but I cant tend to them if I am not getting my needs as well. So, I agree with you. Motherhood is not a replacement title, but an additional one.

Katie

braiding mommy | 10:46 AM

So interesting - I think you are right. Life changes. It has to. I think to totally resist to the change of motherhood or to totally let it take over your being pose the same danger. Our children need to learn who they are as they grow - how will they know how to do that if all we know of ourselves is that we are their mother. They need to learn how to respect others as individuals.How will they if we don't respect ourselves as such first?

The first year is so hard. I think its impossible almost to not lose yourself. But it comes back - if you want it to. My daughter is 4 1/2 and I feel like I have a great balance of who I am as myself and who I am as her mother. We don't need to feel ashamed of being who we are.

Great post and congrats on the book!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:49 AM

Ameeeen, sistahs.

Anonymous | 11:57 AM

feliciations ! congratulations, gratuliere !!
odile ( vienna)

Anonymous | 1:25 PM

"livelihood"..? (meaning earning a living, right?) "do it all"..?

I'm presuming this is the effect of selective quoting and it's not really an anti-SAHM book? There's nothing wrong with being a SAHM who happens not to do anything else on the side, I hope! :) I am sure it's the effect of selective quoting.

McSwain | 1:47 PM

Congratulations! Please let us know of any book signing/events around the L.A. area--I'd love to attend one.

I don't think you are overly idealistic OR a new breed of thinker. Rather, you are an OLD breed of thinker. (Fancy that--doesn't really fit the image, huh?) This whole drop everything and center your lives around your children philosophy has only surfaced in recent years, and is on so very many levels unhealthy for kids. I'm not talking specifically about working vs. stay-at-home, but this whole child-centered rather than family-centered way that we organize our lives around the wishes and activities of 4-year-old children.

Rachel F | 2:16 PM

"idealistic or a new breed of thinker"?

I think you are both. It's part of why I enjoy your writing and your company, and why I aspire to be more like you.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 2:26 PM

McSwain-- I agree with everything you say. Re LA appearances, last night's event was at Book Soup in West Hollywood.. bummer! I may try and do something at Skylight (Vermont, Los Feliz) later in the summer but we'll see. I am doing an event in the OC (the 15th, Borders Costa Mesa) if you're local to the area at all.

And in no way is my book ant-SAHM. Being a SAHP is awesome and in no way do I think one must do something on the side. All I'm saying is that if you *want* or *dream* of doing something on the side or having a career or taking up a new hobby you should be active in pursuing those goals/dreams... For your children as well as yourself. :)

beth | 2:27 PM

I think that you are a new breed of thinker. A new voice, if you will.
I don't think that the responsibility of motherhood is something than many women (at any age or varying raucous backgrounds) shoulder easily.
I think that most women lose their own focus in life and sometimes the things that make them unique go right out the vajayjay with a new little one.
What you're doing/ have done is difficult and rare. You have a poise and grace that makes you a leader in a new breed of women. Possibly, new brand of supermoms. I have no kids of my own and many of my mommy friends read you daily- (what's up Ithaca mommies!) and I think that your way of living and writing is something that is inspiring to them. It is to those of us without kids too.
I think that you should be proud of this, don't run from it.
Congrats on the books hitting the shelves. I'm anxiously awaiting my copies from Amazon.
Come east and sign them for me!! :)

Chag | 2:34 PM

Congratulations! Looks like a good time. I'm so happy for you!

bmcsoproudofthee | 3:05 PM

my heart just burst into a squillion pieces of pride-laden shrapnel.

Cath | 3:14 PM

Congratulations!

I would kill to see your book having a success sooo great that you could consider translating it into other languages...

And I would be the one getting to translate it into French...

:P

but anyway, congratulations, your writing is inspiring, and though I can't really recognize myself in what you're going through, I always come back for more.

I'm glad that your blog is turning into a book, something that can get you even more of the recognition that you deserve.

susan | 3:42 PM

I agree with you re: the kids thing, but I find the juggle of it all hard. Giving them what they need and deserve in terms of time, attention, etc etc, while giving me what i need and deserve. i have to re-evaluate every day, every minute, every second.

and by the way - you are really gorgeous, you know? those photos of you are hawt!!


-susan, australia

kittenpie | 4:42 PM

I totally agree that you don't have to banish who you are to the backseat. I've given up certain things because my priorities have shifted somewhat - I used to go out on occasion, but don't so much now because I already work two nights and I hate to give up another night, but instead, I'll head out after bedtime on nights when I want to get out with my girls. There's a bit of give and take to accommodate any new situation - new job, whatever - so I expected some. But I also think it's really important for me to have me, not only for my own sanity and sense of self now, but also because otherwise, when your kids grow up, what do you have left?

Shannon | 6:21 PM

When I was pregnant with my first child my BFF's mom gave me very similar advice. Basically that my life shouldn't revolve around the baby but that it's the other way around. It's some of the best advice I've ever gotten.

Of course there are still changes in our life and our routine. I feel I owe it to my kids not to let my life be only about them. I'm a better mom if I'm well-rounded.

Chris. | 1:53 AM

*cough*BettyFriedan*cough*

So SO awesome to see someone do SO well. It looks really good on you.

Amber | 2:05 AM

between wollstonecraft and virginia woolf...oh god i would die.

metro mama | 6:45 AM

Right!

Next to Virginia Woolf--that's pretty frickin' cool!

mfk | 7:47 AM

congratulations! I actually like that essay because I think it addresses what a lot of people might assume -- that you're just young and idealistic -- but then seriously considers the alternative, which is, of course, that you're RIGHT.

sounds like your book reading was awesome :)

Baby in Broad | 7:55 AM

That Rockabye sandwich on Wollstonecraft/Virginia Woolf bread is absolutely thrilling. I shivered I little. Congratulations!

Previous commenters said it better, but I think what would be naive is to expect that nothing would change with the arrival of a baby. That's not what I hear you saying at all. It's not about being resistant to change in your life, it's about not disappearing from your life.

Micah&Brooke | 8:28 AM

Mega congrats Becca! Can't wait to see you down here on Wednesday, I'll be there front and center

foodiemama | 8:34 AM

looks like it went perfectly! wish we could've come up but we'll see you in costa mesa!!!!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 8:47 AM

I loved the essay, too. I thought it was beautifully written and asks all the right questions. It was also obvious the author read the book which is always the cherry...

I can't even begin to explain the feeling of finding my book and then seeing its surrounding authors. Humbling. And just plain... wow.

Thank you all for your words.

Miss Britt | 9:29 AM

Sadly, I think you have become a "new" thinker. Ironically, it's the way our grandparents used to think about kids and parenting.

Shawn | 11:24 AM

Wow, just wow is right ... that is the best placement in a bookstore in my humble opinion. Yay! for you. Gosh. I can't imagine.

Andrea | 11:45 AM

I'm with MFK. I think that essay takes a typical way of thinking and turns it on its ear, using your words as inspiration to think anew about how we approach motherhood. I think it also comes to your defense about your "idealistic" way of thinking so that people who would blow you off saying you're just too young to know will stop and think about it before outright dismissing what at first may sound like innocent ambition to keep from losing yourself in a mountain of diapers.

Brava, woman. I'm so fah-reakin' proud of you.

Becca | 12:04 PM

i totally agree with letting the baby adapt. I really didn't change my life much for him and its working well. My mother was scandalized but we took him to Applebees only 6 hours after he got out of NICU...LOL

Nancy Thaler | 1:06 PM

FYI: Mine came in the mail from amazon this afternoon.

Congratulations on everything.

Cate | 2:32 PM

Congratulations! Is it weird to see yourself on a poster?? By the way you looked great. Rebecca, I am a homeschooling mom of four children, but I am still a strong independent woman. I am not sure what the writer of tha article was trying to get at. We, as mothers, have the freedom to take on as many roles as we want to. I am very busy doing things with and without my children. My husband takes as active a role to. Being an attorney, he works very hard all day; he also cooks most nights and does the dishes. My man also does the grocery shopping and washes the kids hair when they need help.
We live in a world where you are not giving up your identity to become a mother, just expanding it to do so.
Looking forward to hearing about your adventures with the book tour and being pregnant again. BTW I am also a registered nurse with a degree, and I was a certified maternity nurse, and worked labory and delivery as well as newborn nursery.
You are the woman.

JC | 2:35 PM

It's one thing to share a bookshelf with Virginia Woolf, but did you notice that you're sharing a storefront window with Mick Jagger?!

Not too shabby.

THopgood | 3:17 PM

I'm very excited! I went to Barnes and Noble and these books of yours must be flying off the shelf I was lucky enough to pick up the last copy. I'll be starting it tonight! Can't wait!

Undomestic Diva | 4:09 PM

I am soooo jealous. My copy is on it's way according to Amazon.com. Can't wait.

Elaine A. | 6:41 PM

Wow! I stumbled onto your blog tonight and I just have to say "Congratulations" on having your book published!! I would REALLY love to read it. Just from the quick synopsis, it sounds like something I would truly enjoy... How wonderful for you!!

Kyran | 6:55 PM

just ordered my copy! can't wait to read it and will be toting it around until you can sign it.

be proud.

Bean | 7:41 PM

I don't have kids yet but when I do, I'd like to think that I won't completely lose myself and I'll be able to still have my me-ness. Yes, I think I just made up a word. I think the key is finding a good balance between yourself and yourself as a mom.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 7:50 PM

totally, bean. very much in agreement!

thewritermama | 9:29 PM

Very cool. And congrats on your book. Any friend of Seal Press is a friend of mine.

Cheers,

Christina Katz

thedalaimama | 7:48 AM

Awesome!Awesome!Awesome!
I just opened my copy of the book today and I can't wait to finish it. It looks awesome.

Congrats!!!!

j.o. | 7:59 AM

Rebecca, Congrats! You are absolutely glowing in these photos! Number 2 and the book deal must be treating you well - you look beautiful! and I think the person who wrote the review must not have kids or is a man and has never experienced the total shift transformation of children. I totally struggled with re-balancing out my identity to include me and motherhood. Thanks for all you share! Looking forward to reading your book!

Maternal Mirth | 10:23 AM

You are an inspiration and a truly admirable woman. I cannot wish you a heartier congrats and all the best wishes for your bright future.

M&M

THopgood | 12:31 PM

I just had to re-comment. I just started the book this morning and havent been able to put it down...I'm finding it hard to get my laundry done. Fan-TAS-tic book!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 12:35 PM

Thank you, thopgood! I'm so-so glad! And thank you all for your words!

tiajuanabible | 1:09 PM

i got your book today in the mail, after pre-ordering it on amazoin. cant wait to read it!

Undomestic Diva | 1:44 PM

Just got my copy in the mail, read the first chapter and am already hooked. So awesome.

the weirdgirl | 3:59 PM

No, I don't think you're naive at all. I think your attitude is just part of the quiet but mounting opposition to this (pretty damn) new parenting attitude of "giving it all" to your kids. It's like all the new parents are reacting to feeling ignored as kids and are over-compensating by giving up themselves in the role of "parents". There can be a balance and you point that out beautifully.

P.S. I got my copy today.

S.T. | 8:55 PM

I didn't want to give up my livelihood, but I just couldn't stomach putting my kids in day care, couldn't afford a nanny, etc. So I've sacrificed my desire to have a career for the time being, but being home with my kids has been worth it to me.

I look forward to reading your book.

Anonymous | 8:30 AM

A warts and all journey? I was hoping for a grim voyage into the pitiless heart of the America of the 1990s.

Anonymous | 6:55 PM

SOB. SOB. SOB. I am so proud of you, Rebecca!!! And I can't wait to toast your foxy ass in person. You put the kitty back into cat, girl.
xoxox, felicia

Sarah Myers | 9:37 AM

I was married when I was 20 (and divorced at 23). Never during that time did I want kids. I felt like it would mean giving up my freedom and individuality. I grew up taking care of my siblings and sometimes my mother. So when I was finally on my own I felt like having a child was a sacrifice. I wanted to finish college, travel, spend money on myself.

I finally feel more comfortable in my own skin (who doesn't grow into a new person between 23 and 27?). Having children someday no longer seems like a sacrifice, but an experience I really want. Having a family to love and grow with is definitely a path I want to walk down.

I read a quote that said "prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child." Which I feel is right in line with you Grandma's advice. Love it.

Your story (and all the great words from everyone here) is truly inspiring. I can't speak from experience, but I believe the role of parenting is what we make it - a new role in our lives or our only role. You are definitely an example that "it is possible to do it all well."