February 14, 2009

Mars Needs Moms

Believe me I didn't intend to write yet ANOTHER book review on my first day of re-caffeination, I meant to conquer the universe or something like that, but I couldn't help it.

Yesterday I got my monthly Grandma Says newsletter and instead of the usual common sense about childraising there was a book review for Mars Needs Moms, which I've copied below. It sounded pretty fun so I ordered it and it came this morning.

Now that's what I call a good morning, hot coffee and instant service!

The book is pretty good and I think some of you other harassed mommies would enjoy it but what really made me laugh my ass off was the picture of the Martians trying to bait a pregnant, baby-and-purse-and-grocery-bag-toting mommy in curlers with a Starbuck's latte.

Anyway, here's the review:

By Berkeley Breathed Philomel Books, 2007

If your family is anything like most these days, there are times when you wonder what on earth you are all doing, and why you are doing it.

With all the rushing about--off to work, to school or childcare, to meetings, play dates and lessons, and then back to laundry, shopping and all the other house stuff--life can get pretty frantic.

Nerves get frayed, and sometimes kids and parents just look at each other, imagining that there must be better places. Both parents and kids are not immune from snapping at each other, and going to bed feeling badly.

This book is the one to pull out and read at the most harried of times, putting it all back into perspective.

The little boy in this book has his times of wondering what is so special about mothers-the illustrations perfectly capture his weariness of mothers who are "bellowing broccoli bullies," or "slave-driving ogres", or "thundering, humorless tyrants" who miss what is funny about "sister-tinting."

When Milo is put to bed with no supper, he gets off a parting shot of "I sure don't see what is so special about mothers!" His mother pauses and then closes the door very slowly.

I won't spoil this delightfully illustrated story (Berkeley Breathed won a Pulitzer Prize for the cartooning of Bloom County) by telling you what he discovers when the Martian raiders come for his mother.

But the message is clear for parents and kids alike--we are bound together by something far more meaningful than "driving to soccer! And to ballet! And to play dates, parks, and pizzas! Plus cooking and cleaning and dressing and packing lunches and bandaging boo-boos!"

Like the Martians and Milo, sometimes we miss the best part about the ties that bind us. There is not a parent or a child who has not rebelled in frustration at what those ties sometimes mean.
Rather than getting mired in guilt at those feelings, it is better to recognize the wonderful that comes along with the mundane.

No, your little ones won't recognize this for some time, nor will your older children, trudging their way through middle school and tugging away during adolescence.

But the family and personal moments we create that tell children, as Milo's mom did, that we will love them to the ends of the universe, are what will sustain them through all those tough times of growing up, and hopefully, beyond that for life. And the knowledge that this is so will get us through the anti-broccoli storms and the tirades about how mean we are, without having to argue back and state our case. We know that we are doing our best, and doing the most important thing we can do.

Beyond that, there is not much we can do but laugh and realize how much more we might be appreciated on Mars.


© Growing Child 2009 Please feel free to forward this article to a friend.


  1. Enjoyed the review and glad to see you've rejoined the caffeinated masses.

  2. Sounds good. I'll put it on the list after Eat, Pray, Love (should it be eat, pray, sleep?)

    Enjoy the coffee!

  3. Stop giving me awesome book suggestions! I already have 154 that I need to read! On the other hand... I still have floor space left...


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