Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ketchup is a Vegetable : And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves - Robin O'Bryant

Summary:  If you don’t have anything nice to say about motherhood, then… read this book. Robin O’Bryant offers a no holds barred look at the day to day life of being a mother to three, running a household and the everyday monotony of parenting.

It’s not always pretty but it’s real. Whether she's stuffing cabbage in her bra… dealing with defiant yet determined daughters… yelling at the F.B.I... or explaining the birds and the bees to her preschooler… you’re sure to find dozens of humorous and relatable situations. 

From the creator of Robin's Chicks, one of the South’s most popular blogs on motherhood, misunderstandings and musings, comes a collection of essays that will not only make you laugh and cry, but realize that you’re not alone in your journey. 

Sit back and relax, pour yourself some “mommy juice,” throw a fresh diaper on your baby and deadbolt the bedroom door to keep your kids out… because once you start reading you'll be too busy wiping away tears of laughter to wipe anybody's butt.  (Summary from book - Image from

My Review:  Oh.  My.  If you don't have kids when you read this book, you might decide to swear them off completely.  If you do have kids, then you'll likely find yourself chuckling, snickering, and all out guffawing in solidarity as the author shares some of her most difficult, humorous, and downright mortifying child-rearing moments. 

In Ketchup is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves, Robin O’ Bryant, popular southern blogger and mother-of-three little angels, provides hilarious insight on issues that most women encounter once they make the leap into motherhood, and she does it all with her characteristically candid, sarcastic, and self-deprecating humor. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions (we’re talking full-on cackle here) as she talked about everything from pregnancy, childbirth, and post-baby boobs, to dreaded PTA sales, hellish road trips, and public meltdowns.  I swear, every time my husband walked into the room I was cracking up about something and then I forced him to listen while I re-read those sections aloud.  *Sigh* Husbands will never understand the “joys” of breastfeeding or having their skirts hiked up over their heads in public.

Here are just a few quotes that showcase Robin’s writing style:  
 “Kids grow up for a reason: if they stayed any one age for too long, it would kill their parents.”

 “The most important reason you need to invest in a relationship with your husband is so you don’t end up in the state penitentiary doing ten to twenty-five hard years for involuntary manslaughter, once you’ve seen all the asinine things he’s going to do to your kid.”

“One thing I know for sure is that you can never appreciate the sacrifices that your own mother made for you until you are a mother yourself and realize what an ungrateful little jerk you were.”

“If sleep deprivation is a form of torture, the CIA needs to unleash my kids on all Al Qaeda suspects in captivity. They are professional nap time terrorists who are very dedicated to their own little jihad.”

Just as misery loves company, reading about someone else’s parenting woes made me feel a little bit better about my own.  While some chapters resonated more than others and I didn’t agree with all her parenting decisions, I couldn’t help but relate to Robin’s stories.  I have three, going on four, little girls of my own and so much of what she said was right on the mark.  Anyone who says otherwise isn’t being entirely honest about their parenting experiences.  Through the course of the book, it became clear that the author comes from a religious background and is trying to promote Christian values in her home.  Since I’m of a similarly religious bent, her references to God’s role in her life made her stories even more relatable for me.

Robin captures the stresses (and blessings) of motherhood completely.  She never pretends to be a perfect parent; she’s honest about her mistakes and I love her for it.  And so, yes, she’s complaining a lot, but in such a riotously hysterical way that I couldn’t help but enjoy it and nod in agreement.  She also stresses how much she love her family, what a blessing it is to be a mother, and concludes with an unbelievably touching chapter on why motherhood is all worth it.  At least someone out there gets it.

Sidenote:  Out of 199 reviews on Amazon, 186 reviewers gave this book 5 stars.  That says something.

My Rating: 4 Stars
For the sensitive reader:  A few swear words, some faux cussing (holy chit!), frank discussion of body parts (a la breastfeeding), a birds and the bees discussion, and one very disturbing (and hysterical) image of a pork tenderloin that perfectly resembles a part of the male anatomy. 

Sum it up:  HILARIOUS!

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