“This is the book Anne Lamott might have written had she become engaged and gotten into gardening.” –Pacific Sun
Question: Who is the intended audience?
Answer: New moms and gardeners or . . . anyone who thinks they have “family issues.” I can top them off. Throughout High School, My sisters and I referred to our mother as “The Queen Bee”, not mom. That should give you a hint.
Q: What is the book about?
A: Growing Seasons is a compilation of journal entries written to my one year-old son. It chronicles my own insights, insecurities and confusion on a plethora of enigmatic life lessons, but especially the changes that occur in a marriage when a baby is born. Included are stories about my zany relatives, ridiculous tales about working in the egomaniacal movie industry, trying to learn patience in the garden while becoming a California Master Gardener, and struggling with the complexities of aging parents. This is the irrepressible diary of a transplanted New Yorker on marriage and motherhood . . . and why my plants won’t grow any faster! From Chapter One entitled, “Your People Barely Survive the First Year” to the final chapter entitled, “Tom Jones, Morphine or Bust”, I hope you’ll sit back and enjoy the ride!
Q: Why are you the best person to write this book?
A: Because I moved into new motherhood without a bit of grace!
I began writing Growing Seasons for myself to keep sane in those first few years of new motherhood. I was also still examining, as I had done for years before, my difficult yet fascinating and loving relationship with my mother. She was a stay-at-home mom in the 1950s when mothers supposed to look perfect and be happy 24/7, while making dinner and cocktails for their husbands when they came home from a hard day at the office. I finally understood why my mother was somewhat bitter and cranky! And then Oprah broke down the conspiracy of silence last year when she had a program called “The Truth about Motherhood.” Finally, we were all allowed to admit that it wasn’t all picture-perfect every single minute. Mothers are human, not saints!
As for some cheap advice from the book, I’d say that women must trust their gut feelings — which is hard to do in that first year because you are in shock, overwhelmed by changes and so, so busy. Asking for help is a critical part. Letting your husband be an active part is huge. Men are great with babies, and we must finally stop this false stereotype that dads are clueless. The more involved they are, the more everyone wins.
Q: How is this book different from other books on this topic?
A: I think it’s very honest about the realities of new motherhood and how a marriage shifts when a baby enters it. It takes a lot of challenging balancing work to find time to be with your partner again without being in “parent” mode, but back as friends and lovers again. Imagine that!
Also, for most of the book you’re not sure if you should cry or laugh at the kooky cast of characters and misfits I call my family. I have a strong-willed gaggle of sisters who appear throughout the book, a demanding job in the egocentric movie industry, a mother-in-law obsessed with Thomas Kincaid “tchotchkees” and an aunt who only plays old Tom Jones hits all day long. You’ll feel right at home, I swear.
Q: Is there anything else we should know about this book?
A: Yes. Three things.
- I was studying in the California Master Gardner’s horticultural program the same year I wrote the book, so it’s filled with fun gardening tips for novice gardeners. I think it makes a nice switch of topics within each chapter, so you’re not consumed with constant entries about babies and chaotic “family lovefests” with the Queen Bee.
- The last chapter deals with our aging parents and how we grow up and all of a sudden we’re taking care of them. We switch places. We drive them to their doctor appointments and to do their errands. They finally get to aggravate us as much as we annoyed them as teenagers. It’s payback time, baby!
- ACT (Adults and Children Together)is where I donate a percent of the proceeds from the book sales. My favorite part of my booksigning is when I stop talking about me (imagine that!) and speak about the work that ACT (Adults and Children Together) is doing. ACT was started in 2000 by the APA (American Psychological Association) and the NAEYC (The National Association for the Education of Young Children). Nearly a half-century of psychological research has proven that violence is a learned behavior, often learned when a child is young. But children can also be taught nonviolence. The best teachers they have are their parents. They will copy behavior from the people closest to them. The ACT project stresses teaching nonviolence in the home especially during the early childhood ages between birth and age eight. Please visit: actagainstviolence.org