This book came to me after a trip to the doctor. I’d had a headache for weeks, and went to the doctor sure I would be diagnosed with a brain tumour. I came away with a prescription for antibiotics and a general feeling of malaise.
Unsatisfied, I walked to our local bookstore with one book in mind: Anonymums. I opened up to the first page and knew I had to take it home. It turns out the brain tumour was all in my head.
The book begins:
“There was something wrong with me. The realisation that there was something wrong with me had been creeping up on me for some time … I’d be out somewhere nice with my two kids … and my husband … Then the taunting would start ringing in my head again: Why aren’t you happy? What are you waiting for? What else is there?”
Written by 3 anonymous Australian mums, Anonymums follows their journey over a 3 month Truth-or-Dare style shake up of their lives. Mum A is dared to get fresh with Santa by sitting on his knee, Mum B braves wearing hot read lipstick for a whole week and Mum C steps her personal grooming up several notches by taking a little trip south, to Brazil … Through their journey, they hope to get back in touch with their BC (Before Children) selves.
While the dares are fun and at times cringeworthy, the truths are stark and revealing. Right from the beginning the Anonymums use the veil of motherhood to speak of the fears and anxieties behind the white picket fence: as Betty Friedan described ‘the problem that has no name’.
The reality of motherhood is that there are times when your body, your personal space and even your pillow are not your own. It’s easy to get lost inside the family unit, even when you are a vital part of that family. Many women fear being “just a mum”, and simultaneously struggle to remember who they were Before Children.
Most mums would admit to feeling like this at some point. Your partner, no matter how sympathetic or understanding, will not get it. Only other mums ‘get it’. But not all mums will talk openly about it. Under the veil of anonymity, this book delivers not one but 3 women writing about it, with intelligence and insight, blow by blow.
On the topic of blow, nothing is considered taboo for these ladies, even the awkward topic of sex after kids gets a good going over. Anyone who has ever considered adding ‘Have sex’ on their To-Do-List will appreciate the frank discussion of mama-papa relations.
Anonymums is a witty, sassy read which deals with challenging issues of motherhood head on. A great Book Club book, or one to enjoy during naptime with a huge cup of tea, block of chocolate or glass of wine (or all three, if you’re that way inclined: no judgements here. I’m sure the Anonymums wouldn’t judge either.)
I would prescribe this book for any mum with a headache, a huge To-Do-List or children under the age of 5.