The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood (Live Girls)

In The Mother Trip, her follow-up to the cult classic, The Hip Mama Survival Guide, Ariel Gore offers the kind of down-to-earth, truthful mothering conversations that you'd expect to have with a best girlfriend. In this collection of essays--some lasting one page, some stretching to five--Gore deftly spotlights the messy corners of motherhood: sleeplessness, depression, weird pregnancy dreams, the restless hunger for creativity, and the passionate love of children. This is comforting turf, especially for mothers who have felt patronized and bored by the numerous advice-laden mothering manuals on the market. Gore mixes straight talk with dreamier musings, using sensual details and thoughtful subtext to illuminate the spirituality of motherhood. (Her essay about being 19, pregnant, and living with a transient boyfriend in Italy is a masterfully crafted gem.) A sexy, political, and highly conscious mother who refuses to diminish herself, Gore is one of the best mothering role models to show up on the written page. In the essay "Children Need Interesting Mothers," she writes,

We need time to ourselves, moments of awareness, connections, meaningful work. We need cheap art, good sex, nights at the bowling alley and days at the beach. We need good coffee, hearty meals, lush gardens and time to relax and enjoy our lives without worrying so much that we are good enough mothers or skinny enough girlfriends or wives. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can mother our children soulfully and lead lives worth living.

Amen, sister. --Gail Hudson