All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Mumlife by Paula Kuka

on March 24, 2021

Mumlife: Witty And Pretty Musings On The Truth About Motherhood
Paula Kuka
Tiller Press
2020, 160p
Copy courtesy Simon & Schuster AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

A witty, empathic, and beautifully illustrated look at the roller coaster ride that is modern motherhood.

Mum, mom, momma, or ma—whatever you’re called, being a mother can be hard, filled with stress and anxiety. But of course, it also delivers its own unique joy.

Instagram sensation @Common_Wild, the popular account run by Australian artist Paula Kuka, channels that heady stew of anxiety and love in a series of relatable, warm, and funny cartoons that are eagerly shared by women around the world.

Kuka features moments instantly recognizable to any parent, from new mom to experienced toddler-wrangler. Scenes like cooking an elaborate meal only to have it swept to the floor by a picky child, or dragging strollers home from the playground in the rain, bring parenthood to life on the page. She also winks at the societal expectations that ask women to do it all, including “taking care of themselves,” with a smile.

But most importantly, she highlights the huge love that underpins the journey of parenthood, and the sometimes-surprising things you learn about yourself while watching your children grow up.

The perfect gift for first-time parents—or for yourself, when you need to remember that you are not alone, and it’s okay to relax and enjoy the moment.

This is a delightful little book.

I have two kids but as most people who know me know, those kids are well beyond the stage of mothering that this book is really aimed at. They are 12 and 9 and even though some things don’t change exactly, the haze of those early days with a newborn, are well behind me. I was also pretty lucky with my kids as they both enjoyed sleep quite a bit as babies. In fact in some ways, some of their best sleeping was when they were tiny. It was when they became toddlers that they started messing up night and day. My husband still tells the story of getting up at 3am for some reason, seeing a glow coming from the living room and finding our oldest happily on the couch, watching cartoons, thinking it was nearly morning time. “Didn’t you notice it was still dark?” my husband said. He shrugged. It was winter in Melbourne, to be honest, it’s dark a lot. And my youngest went through a pretty lengthy stage beginning when he was about 3, where he didn’t spend a whole night in his own bed. Thankfully he’d climb in and go to sleep but it’s still sleep disrupted by a little person kicking you, laying on you, etc. He grew out of it when he was probably at kinder/preschool and honestly? Whilst I never enjoyed that stage at the time, I kind of miss it now.

There’s a lot of stuff I could relate to in this, either dredging up memories from the time my children were much younger, or things that are still relevant now. I might not be sleepless because my kids are awake but you still lay awake at night worrying about things. You still wonder if the choices you make are the right ones, if you’re feeding them properly and agonising over screen time or how much McDonalds you might’ve consumed recently because of long busy days and not a lot of free time.

The drawings are really well done and there were a lot that I connected with about different facets of parenting and also self-worth and opinion, before and after children. There was stuff about how hard it can be to meet and befriend other mums, who all seem like they know each other already. Just so many things where I was like “Yes, I remember that!” and “Oh, I’d actually forgotten that I felt that way”. There’s also the reassurance that you don’t have to love every facet of parenting every moment of every day. There are things that are frustrating, mind-numbingly boring and things that will infuriate you and make you wonder if your kids might actually be demon spawn. I remember before I had kids, I thought I’d really enjoy imaginative play. I like writing, I think I have a pretty good imagination. Oh wow, do I ever hate imaginative play and I would do anything to avoid having to do it for any length of time. Kid #1 enjoyed it but kid #2 was very solitary and preferred playing on his own. One of the things in this book are thoughts from other mums and there’s one here about someone who had a 10 month old and one day was like “did I even speak to you today?” after they’d spent a large portion of the day in solo exploration and play. That was me with child #2.  It’s incredibly reassuring actually, to read the same perspective from someone else!

This would be a sweet read for any new mum….or a wonderful trip down memory lane for those that have moved past that stage.


Book #43 of 2021

This is book #20 of The Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2021

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