This morning was crazy hectic around our house. In the previous 85 hours, I had been on seven flights (yes, that is FOURTEEN take-offs and landings in less than a four-day period). After five minutes of blissful reunification, my kids began giving me hell for going to my best friend’s wedding in Belize without hauling them along. Today we were running late for school and when I finally crammed the kids, their bags, and all of our stuff in the car, we were in for a rude surprise.
The car was dead. Kaput. Not budging. Aaaaaand I had not yet had my morning coffee. A stream of bad words came out of my mouth. Because, you see, a mom who has not had her morning drink is bound to swear. I thought to myself, how fitting! Because today is the day my lovely friend Nicole’s book comes out: Moms Who Drink and Swear.
Full disclosure . . . I have had the book for awhile, and I was one of the people who officially endorsed it. I already had the experience of ignoring my kids for a number of hours one afternoon as I plowed through Nikki’s chapters about the loving havoc of being a mom. It was all so relatable. For weeks, it has been on the back of my mind – this book release of Nicole’s. Partly because Nikki helped me celebrate my book release last summer (but I must confess that a book on managing social conflict and bullying is not nearly so fun as a book about drinking and swearing, even though I highly recommend it if you or anyone you love is being treated like shit and you want to make it better).
But really, Nicole’s book has been on my mind because I knew that I would be in Belize with my oldest, best girlfriends during the final days before the book came out, and Nicole’s book (and her blog and her entire presence) make me think of girlfriends. From my first exposure to Moms Who Drink and Swear, I liked the camaraderie it offered to moms. The very name of the group screams out, “We’re not perfect, hells yeah, so come on and join us.”
Over the weekend, I witnessed my friend Debby (with whom I’ve been friends for 34 of my 39 years) get married to the love of her life. Jen and Karen – our two other oldest girlfriends from our fab foursome -- were also there. Debby lives in Atlanta; Karen lives in New York; Jen lives in LA, and I live in Chicago. And we had to go to f*king Belize to see each other! Once upon a time, we were young girls, the types that caused our moms to drink and swear. Now we are grown up, and our friendship carries on. There is a comfort in being together, a sense of coming home. We can be our true selves with each other and feel just as comfortable in our imperfections as in our accomplishments.
Our authenticity when we are together makes me think of Nicole Knepper. Her book is astonishingly authentic. She puts it all out there, writes it like it is, offering her stories up to other moms as a way of reassuring them that it is okay to feel what you feel as you move through the craziness of parenting. Best of all, Nicole is one of the most caring people I have met during my parenting and writing career. She is the first to try to help another mom make it in the world, whether in personal or professional pursuits. That is a rarity, I have come to learn, and I cannot overemphasize her generosity of spirit.
I thought of Nicole this morning as I frantically made arrangements to abandon my piece-of-shit car, get my older girls to school, borrow my mother-in-law’s car, and race baby Cleo over to her music class. When we walked into the music class, 2-year-old Cleo chose that moment to announce to the room, “Mommy said Fuck. Then she told me not to say Fuck. Then she said it again. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” I calmly took off my daughter’s coat, smoothed her wild hair, and went to the counter to ask for a cup of coffee. Here’s to you, Moms Who Drink and Swear! May your book be a blessing and a bonanza of success, Nicole!
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Carrie Goldman is the author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear and blogs about adoption, parenting, and contemporary culture.