Parenting Book Review: Mum's the Word by Rebecca Oxtoby
In this latest blog, we get to interview the lovely Rebecca Oxtoby. As a new parent, it becomes clear pretty quickly that there's no instructional manual, every child is different and there's no one size fits all solution to raising children.
Despite this, we spend millions of pounds a year worldwide on parenting guides and help books trying to make life easier, and raise well rounded human beings, but often what we're really looking for is someone, to be honest with us about what parenthood is like, there's plenty of mentions of the naughty step or helicopter parenting, but no mention of tantrums over the shape of your child's toast, or getting a face full of wee during a nappy change.
Rebecca Oxtoby has come to remedy that with her latest book 'Mum's the Word', Rebecca is a highly specialist speech and language therapist, but when she became a mum for the first time the reality of parenting became the inspiration to write and publish a book and dispel the myth of the "perfect mum".
Let me first address the elephant in the room, yes this book is called 'Mum's the word' and yes we are called Lads to Dads, but don't let the title fool you, this is by no means written exclusively for mums or females only, the content of 'Mums the word' covers all the dilemmas and funny situations that affect both genders equally and Rebecca's husband features a healthy amount throughout the book.
The book is really funny, witty, and honest and what we really liked about it was the way each chapter is in alphabetical order, almost like a dictionary of parental honesty that allows you to jump in and out of each chapter at will, rather than having to follow a story and forget what happened if you leave it for a while. Which is of course perfect for busy parents who only have a few minutes to themselves each day.
We loved the book and found it a really refreshing take on parenting in general, Rebecca certainly doesn't mince her words or sugar coat anything which lets be honest when it comes to parenting is a real breath of fresh air.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca to find out more about the lady herself.....enjoy!
Hi Rebecca, tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and your story of being a parent?
Hi! I’m Bex: Mum of One, Nutella addict, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Author of Mum’s the Word. I’ve been with my husband, Danny, for 14 years now (woah) and married for 5. Our daughter, Isabelle, came along after a fertility journey, and is now sabotaging my house as a glorious 16 month old. Where did the inspiration for 'Mum' s the word' come from? It turns out that some of your best ideas happen at 3am during a heavy night feeding sesh! I was blown away by the amount of stuff I was never told about parenthood, like that vile belly button clip thing, or the literal shit storms, so I started jotting them down. Before I knew it, it was a book, and after sharing it with some Mum friends, I was motivated to publish it, as a way to rebel against the Supermum pretence and show the world what real parenthood is like. We love the Alphabet concept in which the book takes us on your parenting "journey" but using the alphabet as a guide, what made you write it like that? There were so many little nuggets of information I wanted to share, so a traditional book with longer chapters didn’t seem fitting. I’m also very aware that my target audience hardly get any time to themselves, so the mini chapters were a way to let parents dip in and out of the book. What's been your favourite part of writing the book? I’ve loved getting the feedback from other parents, particularly those who have struggled with the transition to Mum. Before Isabelle I was a really successful career woman who always had my shit together. I really struggled with the loss of control that comes with being a Mum, and I think the book depicts that. To get messages from other parents who have felt the same has been a really lovely bonus that I never really expected when I published, and it’s so rewarding to know that you’re supporting other parents in similar situations. I also love praise, so seeing the 5* reviews is pretty exciting too. What's been your best and worst moments of parenthood so far? I love this stage now: as a Speech Therapist I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to language development, and it’s been bloody fascinating watching her learning to talk. And surely the worst bit of parenthood has to be the teething! Screaming, sleepless and inconsolable. Pretty sure I sedated her with Calpol for at least a month. If you could change one thing about being a mum what would it be? I wish I could enjoy it more. I’m useless at living in the moment and celebrating the mess. I’m getting better, but for a long-time I tried to live up to my pre-Mum expectations of cleanliness (and personal hygiene), and it’s pretty unattainable now! If you could give one piece of advice to new mums and dads what would it be? YOU DO YOU. Don’t enjoy every moment, not every moment is enjoyable. Don’t compare, it’s never gonna end well, just do what’s best for you and the kid. That’s all that matters. Oh and also, when it’s shitty, just remember ‘this too shall pass’. How has COVID/lockdown affected your life as a parent?
Lockdown 1.0 I was still on Mat leave so it was pretty lovely because Danny was home more often than usual. This one is shit though, I’m still working full-time in the hospital, but I can’t do anything fun at home. Can’t complain though, we both have jobs and our health. What have been your lockdown coping strategies?
Take every day as it comes, and eat your weight in Nutella.
Mums and dads reading this will see you as an inspiration taking that leap to write a book what advice can you give them? DO IT! I self-published because nobody gives new authors a chance unless they’re a Z list celeb or have a billion insta followers. If you want to chat about self-publishing, just message me, I’d love to help.
Mum’s the Word is available on Amazon for £6.99