It’s a Mom Thing: Kickass Parenting by Sathya Ramaganapathy will make you laugh till you cry! Beneath the hilarity and the brilliant writing, though, there are the intriguing stories about raising children that we will relate to and recognize immediately.
It’s a Mom Thing: Kickass Parenting by Sathya Ramaganapathy begins with a delightful spin on Jane Austen’s most famous opening line in Pride and Prejudice.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged a modern mom in possession of a cheeky kid must be in want of a singularly thick skin, or a doubly great sense of humor. Preferably both.”
And who wouldn’t agree? Today’s children understand the world in spades. They outstrip our capabilities when it comes to technology. Last week, my eight-year-old taught me how to Face Time. She is EIGHT. Enough said.
Children always have a retort ready and they seem to understand complex emotions a lot sooner. Again, my eight-year-old looks at the steamy cover photo of a Mills and Boon book in a bookshop and asks if this was amma and appa before they were married!
So yes, parenting is a curveball these days, but the challenges make it wonderful too. Our children may say insane things but they say such soul-stirring lines that you will never forget.
And Sathya Ramaganapathy’s silver-tongued brilliance spares no one, including herself.
The author even made her birthing team laugh, so yes, she’s a funny one, and you will love her.
Hilarious and nostalgic
The writing is brilliant, satorical, and reminds me a bit of Erma Bombeck, a brilliant and witty American writer who wrote about families in the mid 1960s. The author finds such wonderful subjects to lampoon — the reading styles of her family is one of the first ones. Sathya Ramaganapathy writes about her life with her puckish 9-year-old daughter and her brilliant 10-year old girl, and of course, her “long-suffering husband.” She writes about their reading habits. The girls are crazy about reading and even read cereal boxes and jam labels. The husband,
“is a staunch follower of all things determinedly non fiction (read boring). Large, heavy tomes expounding upon India-before-Indepedence, India-after-Independence, Gandhi-before-India-before-Independence, Gandhi after-India-after-Independence – you get the drift. He claims he likes to read before he goes to sleep. I suspect he needs them to fall asleep.”
More than just the laughs
What really leavens the book, which is full of laugh-out-loud moments, is how the writing can be so passionate, nostalgic and touching. Every moment of levity is anchored by either a moment of truth or reflection. For instance, when the girls call the author ‘austere’ and crown her husband as the ‘fun’ one, the author mulls over these tags. Are mums unfunny and constantly fixated on being organized? Do they suck the joy out of parenting?
Not really but we do have our moments. And this is what makes her such a relateable mum. She is a bit of everything. And I am glad she got to have her say, because listen to this, she sounds more interesting than the dad!
“Hosting three-day-long movie parties for the kids’ girl gang to binge watching the Harry Potter series? Yep. Making MasterChef inspired desserts? Yep. Bake-your-own-pizza-and-cookies birthday party and taking the cookies home as return gifts? Genius, right? Letting the kids play in the rain? But of course. Insisting that they eat their veggies and go to bed on time? Not cool, I know, but the answer to that is yes, as well.”
Interesting layers to the story
The author adds so many layers to her stories on parenting. She talks about her background as an atypical South Indian, the “odd one out” in every way. I loved reading her conversations and repartees with other mums. She satarizes them, and yet they aren’t robbed of their individuality. It takes a truly gifted writer to strike this balance. There isn’t a single dull moment in this book and I just couldn’t put it down. For instance, there is a chapter in which the author’s acquaintance, who is from the US, complains about her seven-year-old son eats dosas every single day when she is at her mother-in-law’s in Bengaluru.
Come on. It’s the dosa. And the author agrees. It is the perfectly balanced meal. She then takes us through a carousel of emotions. The older daughter loves dosa but the younger one protests occasionally and isn’t quite so enthusiastic. She writes about the different kinds of dosas they have, and their quirky relationship with this amazing food item.
Reading the book is like being one of the people seated at the family’s dining table and hearing repartees back and forth!
And can I just say that the chapter on lice reminded me of my own mum? She’d wage a war too, and would scrutinize my friends and classmates to see if they were scratching their heads. It was embarrassing, but hey, she’s my mum.
Something for every mum
My favorite chapter was ‘Exercising Your Voice: Pitch, Intensity and Modulation.’ I was convulsed with laughter on reading it, and I thought, “Goodness, I thought I was the only one going through all these moments of half-hilarity and half-embarassment.”
The author reserves different kinds of voices for different situation. My favorite is “The urgent, low-pitched, you-better-listen-to-me-now-or-else-there-will-be-murder voice.” What made me laugh even louder was when the author exercised it under her breath, when her kids wanted a Kit Kat at the checkout counter. The people behind her in the queue were looking like they were judging her but the author being a Chocolate Nazi didn’t want to give in to her daughters’ whims, so she muttered “If you do not put down that Kit Kat right this minute, you can forget about getting that Pokemon monster collection for your birthday and I will throw out the rest of your card/bricks/doll collection too.”
There are some beautiful, atmospheric passages in the book.
“In their school, toppling into the one-foot deep pond is almost a rite of passage. The valley is home to many species of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals. There are monkeys and dogs aplenty. And other animals that I prefer not to think or know about. Until the school newsletter pops up in my email box with news about panther and elephant sightings, and pictures of cobras coiled up in the bathrooms. I almost have a heart attack.”
I encourage you to buy It’s a Mom Thing and fall in love with how Sathya Ramaganapathy writes. It will brighten your reading hours considerably. You will go back to it for the laughs, the sheer entertainment, the wisdom and the odd comfort that you get from knowing that you are not the only parent who thinks she is going insane. And can I just add that Rupa Publications is pretty awesome for publishing this?