No, this is not really a how-to book. It was one of those for-women/by-women type books. Sometimes I enjoy these, sometimes not. But I always enjoy travel books, so I thought I would like this. And I did, for the most part: lots of those stories you always tell at get-togethers; "you thought that was bad, how about what happened to my sister's best friend's uncle" type stories.
The thing I didn't like much was how disconnected and different I feel than almost every women writing these stories. I had no need to prove to someone that my life wouldn't change after I had kids. I knew it would and welcomed it. I do miss those single days of being up late, travelling all over without thought of tomorrow, and generally hanging out and feeling cool and superior. But I wouldn't trade what I have now for that. It seemed to me most of these stories, especially the ones of people travelling to far away places, or doing ridiculous things with toddlers were an attempt to hold on to that feeling of coolness and superiority you have when you are single and still think everything you do will turn out all right and you don't have a lot of consequences.
Maybe I'm naive in my little home bound cocoon, but I enjoy my children and travelling with them is just too exhausting unless I'm willing to relax a lot of things. Like how clean they are, what my goals in travelling are and such things. Maybe I felt a disconnect because I have had the epiphanies these stories are describing a long time ago and they weren't surprising, but things I'd expected to find as I go along with my little parade of children. Or maybe I was just tired and cranky and these women seemed a bit self0absorbed with their children's effect on them. That is another belief of mine that makes me dislike a lot of "women's fiction". Looking at everything in the world, and everything your children do purely from the perspective of how it changes you is an extraordinary narcissistic way to live, or write.
How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel and Other Misadventures Travelling With Kids. Sarah Franklin (ed). Seal Press. 2008